Don't Speak

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This article is about the No Doubt song. For other uses, see Don't Speak (disambiguation).
"Don't Speak"
Single by No Doubt
from the album Tragic Kingdom
Released April 15, 1996
Recorded 1994
Length 4:23
Label Interscope
Producer(s) Matthew Wilder
No Doubt singles chronology
"Don't Speak"
"Excuse Me Mr."
Music sample

"Don't Speak" is a song by American rock band, No Doubt. It was released in 1996 as the third single from the band's third studio album, Tragic Kingdom (1995). Vocalist Gwen Stefani wrote the song with her brother Eric Stefani about her bandmate and ex-boyfriend Tony Kanal shortly after he ended their seven-year relationship.[2]

Despite the song's popularity, "Don't Speak" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (as rules of the times required commercial singles for charting and one was not issued for the song), but it did reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay for 16 weeks. The single also reached number one in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, being No Doubt's most successful international single. "Don't Speak" was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 1998 Grammy Awards.

The song was ranked at number 495 on Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[3] The song is a playable track in the 2009 music video game Band Hero, and is also included as a downloadable song in 2008's Rock Band 2.


The song was written by Eric Stefani and Gwen Stefani and produced by Matthew Wilder. "Don't Speak" went through several rewrites. A live version that exists from April 1994 shows off a bouncy tune that has the same skeleton as the released version, but not the same urgency. A demo version also appeared on a demo CD, which was presented to Interscope Records prior to the release of the Tragic Kingdom album.[citation needed] Part of the song was performed on VH1 Storytellers on August 10, 2000. The song was written via multiple rewrites about the ending of the relationship between bassist Kanal and lead vocal Gwen Stefani.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Upon release, the song immediately began to receive extensive airplay, and it became the most widely played song on American radio in 1996.[5] Not surprisingly, the song reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay, and maintained that position for 16 non-consecutive weeks, a record at the time.[6] Although the record would be broken in 1998 by the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" with 18 weeks at number one, the song remains in second place of songs with the most weeks at number one on the Hot 100 Airplay. For all its airplay though, the song was not allowed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 as no commercial single was released for it in the U.S. (a requirement for charting purposes at the time).

The song was also a hit on No Doubt's main radio format at the time, Modern Rock Tracks, where it climbed to number two for five consecutive weeks,[7] almost hitting number one with one spot behind Stefani's future husband, Gavin Rossdale with his band Bush hitting number one for seven consecutive weeks on the chart with their hit single, "Swallowed" and "Don't Speak" stayed at number two for five consecutive weeks on the issue dated, November 30, 1996. The song also proved to be a crossover hit, reaching number one on the Adult Top 40 for 15 consecutive weeks as well as numbers six and nine on the Adult Contemporary and Rhythmic Top 40 charts, respectively.[7] It was ultimately placed at number one on the Hot 100 Airplay year-end chart of 1997.[8]

Internationally, the song was also very successful. In February 1997, it peaked at number one in both the United Kingdom and Ireland for three weeks. Elsewhere in Europe, "Don't Speak" reached the top position in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, resulting in a peak position of number one on the European Hot 100 Singles for nine weeks. Australia was another major music market where the song received widespread airplay, debuting at number one and maintaining the peak position for eight weeks.

Music video[edit]

Before the music starts, at the beginning of the music video, there is a scene of Kanal picking a rotten orange from a tree (these scenes are usually cut out when VH1 airs this video). The majority of the music video for "Don't Speak" takes place on Stage 2 at Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake as the band plays. Other scenes tell the story of how the media mainly focused on Stefani while the band was always in the background.[9] The second half of the video features snippets of live footage filmed during the band's performance with Dog Eat Dog and Goldfinger at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on August 21, 1996. The video also features a short footage showing Tom Dumont playing together with Foo Fighters' guitarist Pat Smear. The video ends with Kanal replacing the orange in the tree, which is actually footage of Kanal in reverse pulling the orange off.

Tensions in the band had been running high, and they reportedly were on the verge of breaking up the day before they were scheduled to film the video. They decided to go ahead and film it as a form of "therapy".

The video won the award for Best Group Video and was nominated for Video of the Year at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

There is an alternate version of the video showing just the live performance part. Both versions of the video are included on the DVD The Videos 1992–2003.

Cover versions[edit]

Track listings[edit]

UK and European CD single
UK cassette single
  1. "Don't Speak" – 4:23
  2. "Greener Pastures" (from The Beacon Street Collection album) – 5:05
UK, European, Australian, and Japanese CD maxi single
  1. "Don't Speak" – 4:23
  2. "Don't Speak" (Alternate Version) – 4:23 (*)
  3. "Hey You" (Acoustic Version) – 3:25 (*)
  4. "Greener Pastures" (from The Beacon Street Collection album) – 5:05

(*) Recorded at York Street Studios, Auckland, New Zealand, September 1996.

UK limited 7" single
A. "Don't Speak" – 4:23
B. "Greener Pastures" – 5:05


Chart precession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Breathe" by The Prodigy
Swedish Singles Chart number-one single
December 13, 1996
Succeeded by
"Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton
Preceded by
"I Can't Help Myself (I Love You, I Want You)" by The Kelly Family
"Discothèque" by U2
Norwegian Singles Chart number-one single
December 24, 1996 – February 4, 1997 (first run)
February 18, 1997 (second run)
Succeeded by
"Discothèque" by U2
"Don't Let Go (Love)" by En Vogue
Preceded by
"Gabbertje" by Hakkûhbar
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
December 28, 1996 – February 8, 1997
Succeeded by
"When I Die" by No Mercy
Preceded by
"Thug Devotion" by Mo Thugs Family
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
New Zealand Singles Chart number-one single
January 19, 1997 – January 26, 1997 (first run)
February 9, 1997 (second run)
Succeeded by
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
Preceded by
"Freak" by Silverchair
Australian Singles Chart number-one single
February 9, 1997 – March 30, 1997
Succeeded by
"Truly Madly Deeply" by Savage Garden
Preceded by
"Just Another Day" by John Mellencamp
Canadian Singles Chart number-one single
February 10, 1997 – February 17, 1997
Succeeded by
"A Long December" by Counting Crows
Preceded by
"Freed from Desire" by Gala
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) number-one single
February 15, 1997 – March 22, 1997
Succeeded by
"Let a Boy Cry" by Gala
Preceded by
"Discothèque" by U2
UK Singles Chart number-one single
February 16, 1997 – March 1, 1997
Succeeded by
"Mama"/"Who Do You Think You Are" by Spice Girls
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
February 22, 1997 – March 8, 1997
Preceded by
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina" by Madonna
European Hot 100 Singles number-one singles
February 22, 1997 – April 19, 1997
Succeeded by
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
Preceded by
"Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partirò)" by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
March 2, 1997 – March 23, 1997
Succeeded by
"Warum?" by Tic Tac Toe

Release history[edit]

Country Date
United States April 15, 1996
United Kingdom February 10, 1997
Netherlands November 30, 1996


  1. ^ "Don't Speak – No Doubt". Pandora Radio. Pandora Media, Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Gwen Stefani And Tony Kanal Talk About 'Brutal' Breakup & The Pain Of Performing 'Don't Speak'". 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  3. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 451-500". Blender. Alpha Media Group Inc. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved December 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived June 25, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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  10. ^ Video on YouTube
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  12. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 64, No. 23, February 10, 1997". RPM. Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 64, No. 22, January 27, 1997". RPM. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  14. ^ Billboard, January 30, 1997: Hits of the World Section
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 52 – 1996". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Top 40. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  16. ^ " – Chartverfolgung – No Doubt – Don't Speak". Media Control (in German). Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Italian Charts". 
  19. ^ "Chart Stats – No Doubt – Don't Speak". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c d [2] Archived June 16, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  22. ^ "IFPI Austria – Gold & Platin Datenbank". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in German). February 13, 1997. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  23. ^ "French single certifications – No Doubt – Don't Speak" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  24. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Certifications (Singles) du SNEP (Les Singles de Or)". Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  25. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (No Doubt; 'Don't Speak')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  26. ^ "NVPI – Goud/Platina". NVPI (in Dutch). Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  27. ^ "IFPI Norway – Salgstrofeer". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in Norwegian). Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  29. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (No Doubt; 'Don't Speak')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  30. ^ "British single certifications – No Doubt – Don't Speak". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2011-09-28.  Enter Don't Speak in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  31. ^ Myers, Justin (November 14, 2015). "Eminem and No Doubt score UK's latest million-selling singles". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 


External links[edit]