One For The Vine Lyrics - Genesis

Review The Song (16)



Fifty thousand men were sent to do the will of one.
His claim was phrased quite simply, though he never voiced it loud,
I am he, the chosen one.

In his name they could slaughter, for his name they could die.
Though many there were believed in him, still more were sure he lied,
But they'll fight the battle on.

Then one whose faith had died
Fled back up the mountainside,
But before the top was made,
A misplaced footfall made him stray
From the path prepared for him.
Off of the mountain,
On to a wilderness of ice.

This unexpected vision made him stand and shake with fear,
But nothing was his fright compared with those who saw him appear.
Terror filled their minds with awe.

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Simple were the folk who lived
Upon this frozen wave.
So not surprising was their thought,
This is he, God's chosen one,
Who's come to save us from
All our oppressors.
We shall be kings on this world.

Follow me!
I'll play the game you want me,
Until I find a way back home.

Follow me!
I give you strength inside you,
Courage to win your battles -

No, no, no, this can't go on,
This will be all that I fled from.
Let me rest for a while.

He walked into a valley,
All alone.
There he talked with water, and then with the vine.

They leave me no choice.
I must lead them to glory or most likely to death.

They traveled cross the plateau of ice, up to its edge.
Then they crossed a mountain range and saw the final plain.
Still he urged the people on.

Then, on a distant slope,
He observed one without hope
Flee back up the mountainside.
He thought he recognised him by his walk,
And by the way he fell,
And by the way he
Stood up, and vanished into air.



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It's not about "you time or wealth" | Reviewer: Art parmann | 10/5/14

Music like the wind ! Is what is, not what is "perceived" experience not understand!people"think" a discussion will resolve...resolution comes from letting go and letting the music carry the Holy Spirit "transcend ego!"

Embrace experience! Not perception!

I just love peoples' song interpretations! LOL | Reviewer: nonW00t | 2/15/11

Song is so simple story-wise. Whether or not it's "commentary" or whatever on some real-or-not biblical figure is up to each listener like any other song. Anyway, a guy becomes fed up with his way of life, fighting for some questionable-ethics type of leader. (Like, why invade Germania? Because it's there. -From Gladiator. lol) So he makes a run for it, but gets tranferred to some parallel world in the process. (Hello, prog rock! haha) The people there take his sudden arrival as a sign or something and decide he should be their leader. He does what he can for them (because he's not a jerk, I assume) hoping to figure out how to return home. As time progresses, one guy gets fed up with fighting for him and makes a run for it and disappears just like he did. "He thought he recognized him" etc. is not because it's himself, it's just because it reminded him of exactly what he did before. So what I get from this awesome song is this kind of frustration and whatnot is simply a never-ending cycle of life.

Really not about what you think. | Reviewer: Gotfried | 7/11/10

Many peoples here talk about a possible, or even clear reference to religion, and precisely to Jesus. In my opinion, one cant' be wronger. It's clear that it's not about a simple religious faith, it's about following a physical leader, right into battle. Jesus never asked to kill for him, though he warned believing in him might result death and persecution for the believers.

"Religion" is a conventionnal category, and it doesn't have much meaning. Genesis is beyond such simple conventions (well, at least before Collins had too much influence) and easy classification. This song is not about Jesus, not about religion, it's about fate and destiny! One was led as he later had to lead, and he followed with as few faith as he led, but things were just that he had to follow, and later had to lead. It's about how pathetic is our existence, and how we can't control it, nor the follower faithfull or not, nor the leader. It's about how one amongst many becomes the chosen one, just because things turn out so.

It's much much deeper than conventional topics of commercial bands, it's about me, it's about you, it's about everyone, his life, his place on Earth, his choices that are never free. Not just because there is a leader, or a religion, or convenient things to allow us to think we're so important: it's fate and destiny. But maybe not just fate or destiny, cause it allready has a meaning you can rest your mind on, maybe also about the lack of destiny. Just the fact that one random little thing can change the world, just because things turn out that way. Maybe it's about how meaningless our lives are, and how we have to deal with it, and keep things going on.

By the way, it's really a magnificent song. A piece of jewelry of 20th century music, as many Genesis songs, so well composed, so deeply original, beyond trends and fashions. A very, very underrated band.

The Crusades | Reviewer: Robert | 2/21/10

I've always supposed that this was the story of the Crusades and how easily one (or many)can feel destined to a mission, while having an uncertain basis for their conviction (misplaced footfall). I find it mostly neutral to religion itself.

I have loved this piece; since hearing it for the first time.

To answer some questions... | Reviewer: Ricky G | 2/1/10

I spoke with Tony Banks in Atlanta, after the Duke show at the Fox, and asked him what this song was really about. He TOLD me that it was inspired by a friend of his who was constantly in and out of jail, usually because of too much to drink and would toast with the words 'for the vine'. I asked him about the 'religious' possibilities, and he said that much of that was just convienent visuals and that he knew some of the fans would put a religious spin on it, and he said 'that's Ok...they see what they want to ...and thats how religion started anyway' and laughed {and signed my Lamb album "One for YOU!"} - so, sorry, not as deep or nutsy as some think!

Perhaps Elijah? | Reviewer: L. Felix | 11/24/09

Spiritual symbolism often refers to the "mountain" as the place of ultimate peace and realization; the kind that surpasses all human understanding... My friend and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the identity of the "hero" in this masterpeice. There are subtle hints that possibly point to Christ, and on the other hand, the life of Elijah (albeit a scant account biblically)could be poetically demonstrated as the former "one who fell" and then vanished into air. Maybe there is some connection in the story between the two. Only Tony Banks knows for sure!

For Clarity | Reviewer: Brian Christopher | 10/29/09

Firstly, the leader at the beginning clearly does call himself the chosen one, just not "loud," meaning, I think, not boasting or making a big deal of it.


Secondly, the simple arc of the story is that a man who has lost his faith in the leader flees the battle, up a mountain, and the suddenly disappears. He appears in another "alternate" world "of ice," is heralded as the chosen one, becomes their leader, then (in spite of his fears of allowing things to become too much like the world he left) during a battle, he witnesses another man do the same thing he did at the beginning of the song. The main thing suggesting that the man he sees fleeing is not actually himself in loop is that the world he steps into at the beginning is a world of ice, very different from his former world. Perhaps the man he sees disappear steps into the world from which he (the leader) came and becomes their new leader. This is the question left hanging, unanswered.

Thirdly, there may be some small of Biblical allegory, though the song is clearly not in any way "about" Jesus's life as it is portrayed in the Bible. The main element people are pointing to in an effort to make the leap to Jesus is the "water" and "wine" line, but I think it is simply (as someone else suggested) that he cleanses himself and then gets drunk on wine in an effort to obtain some distance and clarity, and some kind of guidance as to what to do. And the answer comes: he realizes he must lead the people into battle with their oppressors, even if he becomes the same kind of leader he fled from at the beginning of the song.

And lastly, though this is no news flash to most of you, this is definitely one of the band's most powerful songs, a brilliantly composed mini-epic, easily standing up with the Gabriel-era masterpieces in every respect, though I do find it interesting to imagine how Gabriel might have approached the lead vocal differently from Collins.

My thoughts | Reviewer: Morgan | 6/13/09

This song may purport to be about Jesus, but it's not really about the Jesus of the Bible. The real Jesus was victorious. The main character in this song seems too uncertain and defeated to be the chosen one portrayed in the Bible.

Followers of the New Messiah | Reviewer: Greg Z | 2/25/09

A mini-rock opera masterpiece of both music and lyrics. The words resonate now, with the way people follow the new messiah, whether he's right or wrong, and the way certain people keep seeking messiahs instead of following their own judgment.

HELICOIDAL LEVELS | Reviewer: Miguel Maldonado | 8/26/08

The whole song is obviously all about Jesus, his way of spreading his teachings, his point of view about his own fate, a reminding of his own moment of weakness, awareness of what people expected from him (be honest, that influences almost everyone's decisions). But the loops are what I'm intrigued about, I have imagined that Jesus was a follower of other even greater than he was, 'till something made him quit and flee back up the muntain side, he probably realised that his leader's teachings were all just common sense matter; thus reaching the same wisdom, and making him able to appear to and lead others at a lower existence level (as probably his former leader did), suggesting this all could be a succesion of existence leves, both upwards and downwards to infinty.

The last matey was nearly right. | Reviewer: JimB | 5/27/08

I think that the man before said that the story is all a loop, that is pretty obvious.
However our theory is that after some refreshing water he moves onto the Vine, which is a metaphor for Wine and gets totally and utterly pissed.
All then becomes clear and he just can't be arsed to lead anyone in a hangover and just disapears and so the loop continues.

One Loop for the Vine | Reviewer: RegularJoe | 1/29/08

Aside from the religious allegory in the song (whether Jesus, Mohamed, or any other deity you want to throw in), I see a loop in the story.
The unnamed one who's 'faith had died, Fled back up the mountainside' slips, falls, and vanishes (to external observers).
Next he's made the leader of the locals where he ends up because of his magical appearance (what else can this wizard do? he'll help us beat the bad guys, whomever they are.) although he never voices a claim to be a chosen one. Then some contemplative time, followed by leading his new followers on to battle.
Finally he sees a familiar shape flee up a mountain (as he did), trip and fall (as he did), and vanish (as he did).
I think he sees himself, in a loop. I mean, the final stanza all but spells it out:
Then, on a distant slope, (the slope he fled up)
He observed one without hope (himself, as described early in the song)
Flee back up the mountainside. (as he did)
He thought he recognised him by his walk, (think you could pick yourself out of a crowd? I know I could)
And by the way he fell, (sound familiar?)
And by the way he
Stood up, and vanished into air. (back to the beginning).
The whole story loops on itself. Fairly obvious. No particular religion required.
There's my 3 cents.

In Reference to One for the Vine | Reviewer: A. Neely | 12/17/07



This is clearly a song about the difficulty of inspired leadership -- especially if the leader thinks he is divinely inspired. While the story seems completely fictitious, it draws from a number of biblical themes -- deliberately, in my opinion.

A rebel is disenchanted with a religious/military leader who calls himself "the chosen one." The rebel breaks away from the 50,000 strong who follow him. But the rebel unwittingly falls into the same trap, and finds himself leading a group on a similar religious journey. In an effort to break free from the cycle of deceit, the rebel meditates alone and finds himself talking with "water" and "the vine."

He then rises up, apparently with new inspiration and direction, and leads the group to a plain he sees ahead. He surely hopes to find a successful resolution for himself and for the group there, probably through the establishment of a new, peaceful community.

But he is startled by the sight of another adventurer alone on a mountainside like he was. This individual also stumbles, as he did; but then he stands up, and -- the narrator tells us -- "vanished into air."

I have no doubt this final figure symbolizes Jesus, the ultimate Rebel Messiah. According to the Bible, on several occasions Jesus was in a physical location, then vanished from sight in an instant (eg. Luke 24, Acts 1).

In addition, the water and vine metaphors bring to mind statements attributed to Jesus in the gospels. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Jesus also said: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37) The verses that follow this passage clearly indicate that he was speaking of spiritual satisfaction, but they also point to Jesus as the source of "living water."

Who knows whether songwriter Tony Banks had these specific scriptures in mind when he wrote the song? But I am convinced the title is a reference to Jesus “The Vine,” and I believe Banks was familiar with the biblical concepts I've mentioned, and at least toyed with them in his song

If there is a theme to One for the Vine, which tracks the mountain journeys of three unique individuals, the thought that Jesus is the only (God-) man capable of leading people on a successful spiritual quest is one that works.

one for the vine truth | Reviewer: robert simpson | 11/30/07

this song is clearly about the walk of jesus,"he shall save us..." thank you genesis for a song about our king

Thoughts on One For The Vine lyrics | Reviewer: C Gibson | 10/4/07

I don't know if the lyrics refer to any specific person or situation in history. This has been one of my favorite songs lyrically and musically since I was a mid-teen, and I have pondered its meaning constantly.

I believe that it is about the essential rebellious nature of youth, the sincere desire to strike out on a different path than what is expected (familial, societal), and discover and develop one's own voice - often impulsively. Many elements of adult society seem drab, hyprocritical, and outright dangerous to a teen. The more spirited among us often declare that we will "do things differently." Yet, the path to maturity has its inevitable direction, we encounter circumstances beyond our evident control, and sure enough one day we look up and find that we are as those same adults we swore we'd never become. Think of the boy who pursues an artistic vocation only to end up taking over his father's business or the woman who discovers that as an adult she frequently feels like a carbon copy of her mother. The moment we make these discoveries about ourselves is generally the moment it appears that our youthful selves have truly, alas, "vanished into air." Our priorities and sense of identity have matured, and the motivations of adults that we could never fully have understood as kids are now all too evident and all too relevant.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the lyrics. I always find listening to this song to be an incredibly moving experience.


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------ Performed by Genesis

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------ 10/25/2014

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