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"One Headlight"
One Headlight.jpg
Single by The Wallflowers
from the album Bringing Down the Horse
B-side "6th Avenue Heartache" (Acoustic)
"Angel on My Bike"
Released November 1996
Format CD, 7" vinyl
Recorded 1996
Length 5:13 (Album Version)
4:38 (Single Version)
Label Interscope
Songwriter(s) Jakob Dylan
Producer(s) T-Bone Burnett
The Wallflowers singles chronology
"6th Avenue Heartache"
"One Headlight"
"The Difference"
"6th Avenue Heartache"
"One Headlight"
"The Difference"

"One Headlight" is a song by American band The Wallflowers. The song was written by lead singer Jakob Dylan, and produced by T-Bone Burnett. It was released in November 1996 as the second single from the band's 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse. In 2000, the song was listed at #58 on Rolling Stone and MTVs list of "100 Greatest Pop Songs of All Time".[2] The song is notable for being the first song to reach No. 1 on all three of Billboard's rock airplay charts - Alternative Songs, Mainstream Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs.[3]


According to some, the lyrics tell a fragmentary story about a former friend and her death, and the singer's emotions in the aftermath. The use of strong words and images and the incomplete story have resulted in many different interpretations of the song, which include suicide, drug abuse, death of a lover, death of one's mother, having breast cancer and/or depression.

However, Jakob Dylan has said that the song is about "the death of ideas."[4] Dylan explained that he and the band had very little support when they were putting together the record, hence the shout-out, "C'mon, try a little". The last two lines of the chorus "we can drive it home/ with one headlight" are a reference to how the band were able to get through with their ideas despite being hindered (i.e. with one headlight) by the lack of support.


The song won Grammy Awards in 1998, two years after its release in the categories Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. It was named "Best Video" for 1996 in a VH1 poll. The song was performed live on the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards with Bruce Springsteen, where the music video was nominated four times, including for "Viewer's Choice". The song would reach number 58 in MTV and Rolling Stone's 2000 list "The 100 Greatest Pop Songs Since the Beatles"[5] and was The Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll's 36th best song of the year.


Year Association Category Result
1998 Grammy Awards Best Rock Song Won
Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won

Music video

A music video directed by Ken Fox was shot for the song and premiered in late 1996.

Track listing

  1. "One Headlight" (Edit) – 4:38
  2. "6th Avenue Heartache" (Acoustic) – 4:57
  3. "Angel on My Bike" (Live) – 4:46

Chart performance

Although the song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 due to the chart rules at the time, the song was a significant radio hit in the US. It spent five weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart (it was held off the number 1 spot by Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me" and Hanson's "MMMBop") and a total of 70 weeks on this chart. It also was the first song to top these three Billboard airplay charts: Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, Hot Modern Rock Tracks, and Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks.[6]


Preceded by
"Blow Up the Outside World" by Soundgarden
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
February 1 – March 1, 1997
Succeeded by
"Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)" by Aerosmith
Preceded by
"You Were Meant for Me" by Jewel
Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks number-one single
May 24 – June 21, 1997
Succeeded by
"Sunny Came Home" by Shawn Colvin

Cover versions


External links

This page was last edited on 30 April 2018, at 03:19.
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