Song of the Day #3,527: ‘One’ – Harry Nilsson

For almost as long as I’ve been postings Songs of the Day (10 years come July!) I’ve wanted to do a series of songs named after numbers. One month’s worth, from ‘One’ to ‘Thirty One.’ For some reason I never got around to it until now.

Each day of March, I’ll feature a song that shares a title with the date. Wherever possible, I’ll use songs whose titles are just the number with no words. But that’s harder to pull off for some numbers, and sometimes I just like a song enough to give it a pass.

Kicking things off is Harry Nilsson’s ‘One,’ much better known by the Three Dog Night cover that reached Billboard’s Top Five. Nilsson got the inspiration for this song after calling a friend and hearing a busy signal, a sound that inspired the recurring keyboard notes that kick off the song and play low in the mix throughout.

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one

No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know
Yes, it’s the saddest experience you’ll ever know
Because one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know

It’s just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

Because one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

One is the loneliest number, much, much worse than two
One is the number divided by two
One
One is the loneliest number

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,527: ‘One’ – Harry Nilsson

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Well, this will be an interesting exercise!

    I’m far more familiar with the Three Dog Night cover of this song, which I think improved it by giving a bit more grist and angst.

  2. willedare says:

    I didn’t know that Harry Nilsson wrote this song. Or maybe I forgot (since I DID see a great documentary about him a few years ago…) Thank you for reminding me of this sweet song. I agree with Dana that Three Dog Night gave this song “a bit more” existential “grist and angst.”

  3. Peg says:

    Ten Years! Wow that’s amazing. This is going to be an interesting month. Like the first ONE😊

  4. Rob says:

    Looking forward to your posts for this. “One” is an excellent start. Harry Nillson is an American treasure in my books. Sad that such a talent was wasted on drugs and alcohol. His cover of “Over The Rainbow” is one of my all-time favorite cover songs.

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