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One of Us (Joan Osborne song)

"One of Us"
Single by Joan Osborne
from the album Relish
Released February 21, 1995
December 28, 1995 (re-release)
Length 5:21
Writer(s) Eric Bazilian

Rick Chertoff

Music sample

"One of Us" is a song written by Eric Bazilian (of The Hooters) and originally released by Joan Osborne. Released in March 1995 on the album Relish and produced by Rick Chertoff, it became a Top 40 hit in November of that year. The song is the theme song for the American television series Joan of Arcadia. The song was nominated for three Grammys and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, but Osborne was unable to repeat the success and is considered a one-hit wonder.


  • History 1
  • Lyrics 2
  • Music video 3
  • Critical reception 4
  • Track listings 5
  • Personnel 6
  • Accolades, chart performances and sales 7
    • Peak positions 7.1
    • Year-end charts 7.2
    • Certifications 7.3
  • Appearances in other media 8
  • Cover versions and parodies 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


In an interview, Bazilian said, "I wrote ['One of Us'] one night — the quickest song I ever wrote — to impress a girl. Which worked, because we're married and have two kids. But we were in the middle of writing Joan's album, which was a group effort with Rick Chertoff and Joan and Rob and I, and I did a demo of 'One of Us,' this wacky little demo which I ended up putting as a hidden track on the CD of my first solo record, and I played [it] for them. And it really hadn't even occurred to me that it was something that Joan might do, but Rick, in his wisdom, asked Joan if she thought she could sing it. And I think it was better that he asked it that way rather than 'Do you want to sing it?' Because the answer to that might not have been yes. But she definitely said she could sing it, and we did a little live demo of a guitar and her singing it. And when I got into my car and popped the cassette in, I started practicing the Grammy speech that I should've gotten to give."[1]


The song deals with various aspects of belief in God by asking questions inviting the listener to consider how they might relate to God, such as "Would you call [God's name] to his face?" or "Would you want to see [God's face] if seeing meant that you would have to believe in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets?" The title of the song comes from religious statement, "What if God was one of us?"

The album version starts off with the first four lines of a recording titled "The Aeroplane Ride", made on October 27, 1937 by American folklorist Alan Lomax and his wife Elizabeth for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, of Mrs. Nell Hampton of Salyersville, Kentucky singing a variation of the 1928 John S. McConnell hymn "Heavenly Aeroplane".[2][3]

Music video

Directed by Mark Seliger and Fred Woodward, the video was mainly shot on Coney Island, with various attractions like rollercoasters, ferris wheels and the New York Aquarium shown, interchanged with the vintage-looking shots in sepia and Joan singing in front of the camera.

Critical reception

Roch Parisien called the song "a simple, direct statement of faith, honest and unadorned, one framed in a near-perfect chorus and delectable Neil Young-ish guitar riff."[4] In 2007, the song was ranked at #54 on "VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's"[5] and #10 on the network's 40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 90's.

Track listings

  1. "One of Us" (single edit) - 5:05
CD single - France
  1. "One of Us" (edit) — 4:16
  2. "One of Us" (album version) — 5:21
CD single - USA
  1. "One of Us" (Album Version) — 5:21
  2. "Dracula Moon" — 6:21
CD maxi single - Europe
  1. "One of Us" (edit) — 4:16
  2. "Dracula Moon" — 6:21
  3. "One of Us" (album version) — 5:21
  4. "Crazy Baby" (live from Fox Theatre) — 8:06


Accolades, chart performances and sales

The song received Grammy nominations in 1996 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

In January 1996, "One of Us" hit the top 10, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.

Appearances in other media

Cover versions and parodies

See also


  1. ^ Will Harris (February 25, 2008). "Popdose Interview: Eric Bazilian of the Hooters". 
  2. ^ "The aeroplane ride / Nell Hampton [sound recording]" Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress [3]
  3. ^ A sample of the recording "The Airplane Ride" by Nell Hampton from the album "The Gospel Ship" (New World Records)[4]
  4. ^ Roch Parisien. "Joan Osborne - Relish - Review". 
  5. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s". 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  6. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  8. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 63, No. 10, April 22, 1996".  
  11. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 62, No. 21, January 08 1996".  
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 62, No. 25, February 05 1996".  
  13. ^ Billboard April 27, 1996.  
  14. ^ "Joan Osborne: One of Us" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  15. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in French). Les classement single.
  16. ^ " – Osborne,Joan Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  17. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song".  
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Joan Osborne search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  19. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us". VG-lista.
  22. ^ " – Joan Osborne – One of Us". Singles Top 60.
  23. ^ "Archive Chart: 1996-02-10" UK Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Joan Osborne – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Joan Osborne.
  25. ^ "Joan Osborne – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Joan Osborne.
  26. ^ "Joan Osborne – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Joan Osborne.
  27. ^ "Joan Osborne – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Joan Osborne.
  28. ^ "Joan Osborne – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Joan Osborne.
  29. ^ 1996 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved September 5, 2008)
  30. ^ 1996 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart (Retrieved September 5, 2008)
  31. ^ 1996 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved September 5, 2008)
  32. ^ "Single top 100 over 1996" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  33. ^ 1996 French Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2010)
  34. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  35. ^ Norwegian certifications. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  36. ^ U.S. certifications. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  37. ^ The Not Al Page
  38. ^
  39. ^ Malkin, Mark (September 29, 2010). Has a Spiritual Awakening"Glee"Hallelujah? .  
  40. ^ "STOPPOK - Ergebnisse". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  41. ^ Video on YouTube
  42. ^ Video on YouTube
  43. ^ "from the album Apoplectic". 

External links

  • "One of Us" music video on YouTube
  • Rock on the Net link
  • Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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