Who sang “(What if God Was) One of Us”?
Monday 25 June 2007 @ 2:28 pm

Here’s the story…

I get a Google News Alert regarding an “Evan Almighty” review that references “Dogma” in the Clarion Ledger, a newspaper in Mississippi. I give it a quick glance and discover this factually inaccurate piece of information in the opening paragraph…

“What if God was one of us?” whines Alanis Morissette in a nasal lament. “Just a slob like one of us.”

Now, while it’s a common (albeit puzzling) mistake for people to associate that song with Alanis, anybody who’s been paying attention to music over the last decade knows that it’s Joan Osborne who sings “One of Us”, not Alanis Morissette. So since I’m helping, friendly guy, and since I have a passing familiarity with both Alanis and “Dogma”, I drop the author of the review – a one Anita Modak-Truran – the following email…


In the story found here…


…you incorrectly identify Alanis Morissette as the singer of “One of Us.” That was Joan Osborne, not Alanis.


Nothing more, nothing less than that. I get the follwing email in return…

There are two versions of the song. One is by Alanis.
Anita Modak-Truran

Now, while I’ve written for Rolling Stone, I’m not a Rolling Stone writer, y’know? But I know a thing or two about music. Still, I give the review author the benefit of the doubt and Google “alanis one of us” to see if, by chance, Ms. Morissette ever covered the song at a concert or something. I come up with no new information, so I write back to Anita…

That is not true. Alanis never recorded that song. Prince covered it, but Alanis Morissette never did.



At this point, I’ve included the Wikipedia page on the song as a reference point. Conversation over. Then I get this email…

Kevin, I disagree with you. It’s in 1998 album of Morrissette.
Anita Modak-Truran

Now I’m starting to fill with that feeling you get sometimes while playing poker: when you bet big because you’re sure you have the nuts, and then someone goes over the top at you, suddenly making you question whether or not you do, indeed, have nuts at all. So I look through all my Alanis rips, then hit iTunes just to confirm what I’m pretty sure I know – at which time, I write…

A quick scan of every Alanis album at iTunes disproves this.

These are the tracks from her 1998 album, “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie”…

Front Row
Thank U
Are You Still Mad
Sympathetic Character
That I Would Be Good
The Couch
Can’t Not
I Was Hoping
Would Not Come
So Pure
Joining You
Heart of the House
Your Congratulations

We live in the age of the internet: a quick Google search of the terms “alanis one of us” proves Alanis has never recorded “One of Us.” You’re thinking of Joan Osborne.


…which is met with this response…

I’ll send you a link to the song where she sings it when I have a chance.
Anita Modak-Truran

At this point, I’m now 100% sure of my accuracy, so I bust with…

Here is her entire discography…


Click on any of the albums and you’ll see the list of tracks contained on each album. She’s never recorded “One of Us” for any of her albums.

I know you’re a lawyer, but do you find it that hard to concede to fact?


After three emails, she must sense my unwillingness to let it all go, so she writes…

Hi Kevin,

Here are a few links:




There’s also a music video on You Tube, but I haven’t seen it.

If this is not Alanis on these, please advise so I can have a correction made.

Anita Modak-Truran

So I go with…

That [first] one’s Joan Osborne.

These [other] two are ringtone spam sites.

It’s clearly Joan Osborne, not Alanis.

And with that, victory (for what it’s worth) is mine…

Thanks Kevin. I thought it was Alanis’s screechy voice. I’m going to ask the C-L to make a correction. I appreciate your diligence on this, and I take no offense at being incorrect.
Anita Modak-Truran

And that was my morning.

Christ, I’ve gotta get a real job…

What’s it all mean? Nothing, really: just a nice way of calling attention to a brand new…

SModcast 17: Doctor Poo

In which our heroes accept the fact that they listen to “the oldies”, reminisce about a non-dry “Strike Back” set, figure out how they got west, toy with the notion of buying their childhood home, prematurely bury Ed McMahon, pull a multi-person Matt Hooper, and wrap up with a lot of scat-chat.

Stop reading this and download that shit right now, then come back and let me know what you think.

Brought to you by the good folks at…

(Also available through an iTunes Subscription.)


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