"One For The Vine" as written by and Tony Banks....
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 them stand and shake with fear
But nothing was His fright compared
With those who saw him appear
Terror filled their minds with awe

Simple were the folk who lived
Upon this frozen wave
So not surprising was their thought
This is He, Gods 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 recognized Him by His walk

And by the way He fell
And by the way He stood up
And vanished into air


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by musictomyear

"One For the Vine" as written by Anthony George Banks

Lyrics © IMAGEM MUSIC INC

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One For The Vine song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentamazing song. why hasnt anyone spoken about it!? its highly profound and clever in its story telling. the jist of it is that one man is commanding many men to fight for a cause that nobody is really sure of. his self belief tho' is enough that the people will fight his cause. all but one who flees from it as his hope is lost. he falls into a parallel world only into a different role. suddenly people want to place thei misguided faith in him to battle for their freedom taking his arrival from nowhere as 'a sign'. well altho' dubious he feels that he should fight their cause and therefore leads them into battle only to see himself losing hope and fleeing from the battle behind him! the story is an eternal loop. its brilliant andgives u a lot to think about. theres a void of difference between havin the belief of people restin on ur shoulders and having to believe someone against your better judgement but it also shows just how easily these roles can be reversed and the outcomes of such a turnaround. brilliant.
    parberooon April 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat is very interesting about this song is the story is tranferable to any time period, as it operates as a metaphor. It is a story that applies in the present, where replacing governments can have behaviour more questionable than that of the replaced. The King is Dead, Long Live the King. It certainly has a circle of life aspect, and has the underpinning that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The one who initially questions the leader ends up by a twist of fate to be a potential leader, himself. When alone "...he talked with water, and then with the vine" can have many meanings. It has religious connotations for me as much of Genesis' earlier work does. He steels himself so that he can make the decision to lead, initially by the drinking of water, then by the drinking of wine, which has always been referred to as the product of the vine. It is left to the reader / listener to decide whether he himself turns that water into wine or convinces himself that he does or just finds both. In any event he reaches a point where he has gained the courage or delusion to lead. It is arguable that he does not see himself completely as a god, as he realises that he may be leading his people "more likely to death" than "to glory". However, he certainly reaches a point where he is prepared to be the adored leader, without qualifications.

    When he views another who "Stood up, and vanished into air" at the end of the song this again is a metaphor for the selling of one's soul for personal gain. It is the soul that vanishes, in the person he witnesses, just as it vanished in him.
    OneForTheVineon March 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot to mention that musically, the song is very beautiful. The interplay between Steve Hackett on guitar & Tony Banks on keys is phenomenal, especially during the opening passage & the harmonies following the lyric
    "I must lead them to glory or most likely to death". Really great.
    Khaoson August 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat a fantastic song. why isn't there more comments? genesis is very underated; they have such a unique, abstract syle.
    mystery12on March 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know I'm wrong or whatever but when I hear this song it seems like Banks is talking about Christ gaining ppl into christianity, good and bad. The middle part before the 2nd half is beautifully arranged by banks.
    HaroldtheBarrelon March 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentharoldbarrel i actually could agree with your hypothesis. you listen well.
    mystery12on April 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom what I can gather, a disillusioned soldier strays from his group and falls off the mountain he's ascending. He meets a group of people who take them to be his savior. He feels he must lead them to where they want to go. Finally, he has importance, he's not just one of the troops. He marches along until he sees the mountain he fell off of. He sees himself fall and (uh oh, mindf*ck) vanish.
    This song is great for the seemingly believable story, until the very last line, when the plot goes through a huge twist, which makes us question what really happened.
    rdnzlon June 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is probably my favorite Genesis song, by a long shot...it's an absolutely beautiful song with wonderful melodies and a prime example of how Genesis was so great during the 70s. Most of the points I could make have already been made, but overall its lyrics present a classic "power corrupts" kind of story about a defector who gets lost on his voyage away from his twisted king, and finds a secluded tribe of primitive people in a cold, snowy wasteland. He fulfills their prophecy or whatever and he ends up leading them on a conquest. He later realizes he's no better than the king that he was running from in the first place.

    The meaning can be taken as kind of simple or rudimentary i suppose, but the lyrics and delivery offer the story in such a beautifully haunting way...this song is a wonderful journey through the chaos of this man's values as he meets a culture by whom he is regarded as a savior—or a god, even. The lyrics do a nice job of providing a good amount of ambiguity to the ending.

    One part I've never really understood fully (or at least been able to fit any logical meaning in with the rest) is the "There he talked with water/and then with the vine" line. I suppose it's a bit of introspective self-reflection on this man's part, considering "do I take advantage of these people's dreams or just dash their hopes and leave?"
    AdamantVisionon October 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFavorite Banks/Genesis song. The story is simple enough, but the "catch-22" element is what makes it brilliant. He's fed up as a follower, gets thrust into being a leader, starts to get fed up again until convinced by water and the vine (more on that below) then continues on, and what happened to him happens to one of his fed up followers (I don't think "he thought he recognized him by his walk and by the way he fell..." means himself, it's one of the followers that reminds him of what happened to himself).

    So what about the title, and the water and the vine??? Well, in typical Banks fashion, it either means something incredibly special to the writer that we will never know for sure unless there's an interview quote somewhere, or it is just typcial 70s "prog rock imagery" that seemed cool to write. lol But I think Banks is brilliant, so it must have meaning. What I can come up with is water represents life, and the vine represents growth (or even escape). So when he "talks" with water and the vine, they convince him to carry on, I assume the idea is that he will allow his followers to live and grow (or escape their oppressors) by not giving up (again).
    ScreeGeeon June 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always took this song to have a kind of cyclical theme. The follower slips into a parallel universe or another life and becomes a leader. Then "he thought he recognised him by his walk and by the way he fell" - he recognises himself - and it's about to cycle all over again
    iainmcgon August 18, 2008   Link

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