Broken Strings

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For strings used in musical instruments, see Strings (music). For the 1940 film, see Broken Strings (film).
"Broken Strings"
Broken Strings Furtado.jpg
Single by James Morrison featuring Nelly Furtado
from the album Songs for You, Truths for Me
B-side "Say It All Over Again"
Released 8 December 2008
Recorded 2008
Genre Pop
Length 4:14
Label Polydor
Producer(s) Mark Taylor
James Morrison singles chronology
"Nothing Ever Hurt Like You"
"Broken Strings"
"Please Don't Stop the Rain"
Nelly Furtado singles chronology
"Win or Lose"
"Broken Strings"
"Manos al Aire"
Music video
"Broken Strings" on YouTube

"Broken Strings" is the third single by British musician James Morrison from his second studio album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, and was released in December 2008. The song is a duet with Canadian recording artist Nelly Furtado. The single became Morrison's most successful single to date, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart in January 2009, as well as in the top ten on many other European charts while topping the charts in Germany and Switzerland. It was featured in episode 16 of the second season of the American television drama The Vampire Diaries.

When the album was released in Japan in March 2009, "Broken Strings" was re-recorded as a duet with R&B singer Ai replacing Furtado, as a bonus track.[1] A remix of the song, "Broken Strings (Kocky and Trash Remix)," was featured on Ai's album Viva Ai (2009).[2]


The song received positive reviews from the critics. According to Michael Menachem from Billboard,

Broken Strings offers two of the most vulnerable performances yet from each artist, venting an obvious metaphor for the struggles at the close of a relationship beyond repair. Their voices are richly expressive, harmonizing in an aural marriage as the midtempo ballad quietly builds to an intense climax as they belt: "Oh the truth hurts and lies worse/How can I give anymore when I love you a little less than before?" Producer extraordinaire Mark Taylor energizes "Broken Strings" with just enough accompaniment to showcase the paralyzing performances. Morrison is a staple hitmaker overseas, but in the US, phenomenal singles like "You Give Me Something" and "Wonderful World" were snubbed. Furtado's visibility has already vaulted the song to most-added status at adult top 40. At last, Morrison gets his due.[3]

Girls Aloud performed a cover of the song at their Out of Control Tour in 2009, and JLS performed a cover of the song in their ITV Christmas special in 2010, later appearing as the B-Side to their single "Eyes Wide Shut".

Chart performance[edit]

"Broken Strings" was released as the second single from Songs for You, Truths for Me. The track was released in November 2008. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number seventy-three and slowly rose for four weeks before, following a performance of the song with Girls Aloud on The Girls Aloud Party, broke into the top ten at number six, giving Morrison his fourth top ten hit. The following week the song rose to a new high, rising to number four on the 2008 Christmas chart. This makes Broken Strings Morrison's most successful single by peak position to date in the UK as, on 11 January 2009 it climbed to number two.[4] In the week ending 30 January, it reached #1 in Germany marking his first #1 in the country and Nelly Furtado's second. On the issue date 21 February 2009 the song reached at number 1 on the European Hot 100 becoming his first number one single on that chart and Furtado's third. In Canada it debuted at #95 on the Canadian Hot 100 and rose to number #41.

In Japan, the version sung with Ai was released to airplay in March 2009, reaching number 19 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.[5]

It ended up selling 850,000 copies in the UK.

Music video[edit]

A music video in support of "Broken Strings" made its world premiere on 17 November 2008. Directed by Micah Meisner, the video features James Morrison performing the track, with Nelly Furtado also making an appearance. Parts of the video are inspired by the film Paris, Texas, while scenes where reversed explosions occur are inspired by the film Insignificance. Furtado and Morrison filmed their parts on different days. In the video, Morrison is in a hotel room and Furtado is behind a glass window of an adjointed room. Morrison starts to sing the song and when Furtado starts to sing her part behind the glass window, things begin to break, such as Morrison's guitar, the hotel room's television and more. When the video is ending, everything that is broken goes back to normal and Furtado disappears.

Formats and track listings[edit]

CD single[6]
  1. "Broken Strings" (featuring Nelly Furtado)
  2. "Say It All Over Again"
Maxi-CD single[citation needed]
  1. "Broken Strings" (featuring Nelly Furtado)
  2. "Say It All Over Again"
  3. "Broken Strings" (Live At Air Studios)
  4. "You Make It Real" (Live At Air Studios)
  5. "Broken Strings" (Video)
Promo CD single[7]
  1. "Broken Strings" (Remix) (featuring Nelly Furtado)
  2. "Broken Strings" (featuring Nelly Furtado)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Hot n Cold" by Katy Perry
German Singles Chart number-one-single
30 January 2009 – 5 March 2009
Succeeded by
"Irgendwas bleibt" by Silbermond
Swiss Singles Chart number-one-single
15 February 2009 – 7 March 2009
European Hot 100 number-one-single
21 February 2009 – 6 March 2009
Succeeded by
"Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
Preceded by
"Right Round" by Flo Rida featuring Ke$ha
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart number-one-single
2 May 2009 – 8 May 2009
Succeeded by
"C'est dit" by Calogero


  1. ^ "[CD] ソングス・フォー・ユー / ジェイムス・モリソン" [Songs for You / James Morrison]. Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "[CD] VIVA A.I. [通常盤] / AI". Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived 9 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "UK singles chart". Chartstats. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Japan Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Japan. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Broken Strings CD single". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  7. ^ Broken Strings Promo CD single[dead link]
  8. ^ Steffen Hung. "James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado - Broken Strings". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  9. ^ "Billboard - Music Charts, Music News, Artist Photo Gallery & Free Video". Billboard. 
  10. ^ Steffen Hung (30 January 2009). "Deutsche Charts - Singles Top 10 30.01.2009". Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  11. ^ "Media Forest: Airplay chart". [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Nielsen Music Control". Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. 
  13. ^ Mark Deming. "James Morrison - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  14. ^ "Austria Top 40 -". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  15. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. 31 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "FIMI - Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana - Ricerche e dati di mercato". 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2009". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  18. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal
  19. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Broken Strings')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  21. ^ Myers, Justin (16 June 2016). "Number 1 today in 2006: Nelly Furtado – Maneater". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 

External links[edit]