During the recent interview with journalist David Fricke, Metallica frontman James Hetfield has shared the unheard story of how he wrote their classic song “One”.
As we all know, Metallica’s “One” was inspired by the book and movie called “Johhny Got His Gun”. James Hetfield remembered the time he wrote the song and revealed the unheard story about how he got the book. He said:
“I recall two older half-brothers and they were in college and I was a young kid and this was I guess what mid-70s. And he told me about the book he was reading or a movie that he had seen… Maybe the book as well.
I guess the book was from the 30s and then my Dalton Trumbo made the movie in the 70s I guess. Johnny Got His Gun, my brother telling me about this. Wow there’s this crazy thing about this guy whose arms and legs were blown off, he’s deaf and blind and it scared the shit out of me. Like ‘but how does he talk how does he eat how’s he communicate as he get around he doesn’t’. They don’t know he’s alive even, I mean he is alive but he doesn’t know how to tell them.
It’s like the biggest trap. You’re stuck in this trap and you can’t get out. So it brought up a lot of emotion for me and a lot of fear.
So when I was writing the song (One), obviously reading the book… He couldn’t speak for himself… So I put a voice to him, obviously there’s a voice for him in the movie and in the book. But yeah just talking about I’m trapped and I don’t know what to do and you know that sense of no one could help him, nothing could help him was pretty much one of the ultimate fears for me.
As a kid for me feeling disconnected not being able to ask for help, not knowing where to go for help that plugged right in to some of my fears.”
On Dec. 6th 1988, Metallica film their very first music video for the song “One”. The video directed by Bill Pope & Michael Salomon and shot on location in Long Beach, CA. Watch the music video below.
You can watch the entire interview from here.