Music Video Meaning


All the things you don't know about rock music videos and more

The three video versions of the song One from U2

One of U2: we haven’t talked about this band yet but they are one of the most famous in the world and this video is one of their biggest hits. The song is part of the seventh album entitled “Achtung Baby” from 1991. For the song three videos were recorded within six months. Do you know why? U2 were never completely satisfied. Let’s understand the reasons.

The video One from U2 shot in Berlin

One of the three videos was shot in the city of Berlin. The director is Anton Corbijn, who also worked with Depeche Mode, Sting, Nirvana, Metallica, Bryan Adamas, Coldplay, The Killers, Roxette.

A sepia color filter was used for the video shoot. The protagonists are U2: you can see pictures of them playing in Hansa Studios and other images of them dressed up like drag queens.

The main setting is the city of Berlin with two cars, one white and one black. On the top of the two cars there are two drawings: on the white car there is a stylized nude woman, while on the black car there is a man.

Bono Vox’s father, Brendan Robert Hewson, also took part in the video, standing on top of a catapult made with a beam and a barrel.

The video wants to describe the difficult situation of a homosexual person, who must declare his choice to his father.

The proceeds of the video went to the associations for the fight against AIDS.

But after the video was released, the band decided to eliminate it, to prevent people from associating AIDS with homosexuality.

Only this video is now available on the internet, with several cut scenes, especially those of U2 dressed as drag. The screenshots of the original scenes can be seen on Pinterest or scattered on the web.

“Buffalo” One video from U2

The second version proposes a panorama of running buffaloes, of flowers, of U2 faces and of the word “One” in various languages.

The final image is of great impact: a buffalo that falls from a ravine followed by the others. The image is “Falling Buffalo”, a work by David Wojnarowicz, a well-known American homosexual photographer and painter. Wojnarowicz was an activist for the rights of people suffering from AIDS.

This video served as a backdrop for U2 concerts on the Zoo TV tour. In the video there is a strong symbolism, which people would hardly understand, especially MTV users from all over the world. In fact, the buffalo is a sacred animal only for American traditions. Thus U2 preferred to propose to MTV the version of the video created by Phil Joanou.

Phil Joanou’s video One with Bono Vox at the bar

The third video shows us Bono Vox sitting in a bar, smoking a cigar and drinking. The images are intermittent, many shots are close together and blurred.

Shooting of the band is shown while playing in concert in Philadelphia. The novelty element is a woman, framed many times. This new entry gives a different meaning to the song: the lyrics describe the difficult relationship between a man and a woman, between suffering and quarrels.

Filming was done in two places in New York: Times Square and “Nell’s” bar in the Chelsea area.

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