The song was the first to be co-written by McCartney and Hamish Stuart. It was recorded on 18 May 1988 at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio.
‘The First Stone’ targets televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, and Jim Bakker. It is possible that the lines “Friday night you’ll find him taking pictures/Of a model in a cheap hotel” were a reference to Swaggart, who had recently been caught with a sex worker in New Orleans.
‘This One’ was released as a single on 17 July 1989, the second to be taken from Flowers In The Dirt.
The single reached number 8 in Austria, and 18 in the UK. In the US it fared less well, peaking at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As with the album’s other singles, ‘This One’ came in an array of formats, all but one of which led with the album version of the song. The 7″ vinyl and cassette had ‘The First Stone’ on the b-side.
There were three 12″ vinyl singles. The first had the additional tracks ‘The First Stone’, ‘I Wanna Cry’, and a cover of ‘I’m In Love Again’. The latter two tracks were recorded during the Choba B CCCP sessions.
The second 12″ contained ‘The First Stone’ and ‘Good Sign’. Both songs had been recorded in the summer of 1988.
The third 12″ contained four tracks: ‘This One’ (Club Lovejoys Mix), ‘The First Stone’, ‘I Wanna Cry’, and ‘I’m In Love Again’. The CD single had the same tracks except ‘This One’ was the album mix.
The ‘This One’ single, with ‘The First Stone’ on the b-side, was included in the 2022 box set The 7″ Singles Box.