One (Harry Nilsson song)

Last updated
Single by Harry Nilsson
from the album Aerial Ballet
B-side "Sister Marie"
Released 1968
Genre Chamber pop [1]
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) Harry Nilsson
Producer(s) Rick Jarrard
Harry Nilsson singles chronology
"Good Old Desk"
"Everybody's Talkin'"

"One" is a song written by Harry Nilsson and made famous by Three Dog Night whose recording reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [2] in 1969 and number four in Canada. The song is known for its opening line "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do". Nilsson wrote the song after calling someone and getting a busy signal. He stayed on the line listening to the "beep, beep, beep, beep..." tone, writing the song. The busy signal became the opening notes of the song.


In 1968, Al Kooper released the song on his debut album I Stand Alone . In 1969, the song was recorded by Australian pop singer Johnny Farnham, reaching number four on the Go-Set National Top 40 Chart. [3]

One - Three Dog Night.jpg
Single by Three Dog Night
from the album Three Dog Night
B-side "Chest Fever"
ReleasedApril 1969
Genre Pop rock, hard rock
Length3:06 (album)
2:55 (single)
Label Dunhill
Songwriter(s) Harry Nilsson
Producer(s) Gabriel Mekler
Three Dog Night singles chronology
"Try a Little Tenderness"
"Easy to Be Hard"

Three Dog Night version

Three Dog Night played "One" in the key of F minor, and it was released as the second single from Three Dog Night's eponymous first album. It became their first of seven gold records over the next five years.

The song reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at number two on the Cash Box Top 100. [4] It also reached number four in Canada.

Chart performance


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA) [9] Gold500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Double-dagger-14-plain.pngsales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Other versions

In media

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  1. "Playlist: Best Harry Nilsson songs for what would be his 75th birthday". 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  2. "One (song by Three Dog Night) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  3. Nimmervoll, Ed (13 September 1969). "National Top 40". Go-Set . Waverley Press. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 "Cash Box Top 100 7/19/69".[ permanent dead link ]
  5. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN   0-89820-089-X
  7. "Top 100 Hits of 1969/Top 100 Songs of 1969".
  8. "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1969". Archived from the original on 2019-01-25. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  9. "American single certifications – Three Dog Night – One". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved February 14, 2019.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  10. Go-Set National Top 40, 11 October 1969
  11. "Mimicry And Memories -".
  12. "Final track listing for Mimicry and Memories". Retrieved 29 March 2015.