Don't Speak

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"Don't Speak"
Don't Speak.jpg
Artwork for non-US commercial releases
Single by No Doubt
from the album Tragic Kingdom
B-side "Hey You! (acoustic version)"
"Greener Pastures"
Released April 15, 1996
Format
Recorded 1995
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:23
Label Interscope
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Matthew Wilder
No Doubt singles chronology
"Spiderwebs"
(1995)
"Don't Speak"
(1996)
"Excuse Me Mr."
(1996)
"Spiderwebs"
(1995)
"Don't Speak"
(1996)
"Excuse Me Mr."
(1996)
Music video
"Don't Speak" on YouTube
Audio sample

"Don't Speak" is a song by the American ska band No Doubt from their third studio album Tragic Kingdom (1995). It was released on April 15, 1996 in the United States as the third single from Tragic Kingdom. Lead singer Gwen Stefani and her brother Eric Stefani, former No Doubt member, wrote the song originally as a love song. The song went through several rewrites and new versions. Gwen modified it into a breakup song about her bandmate and ex-boyfriend Tony Kanal shortly after he ended their seven-year relationship.[1][2]

Despite the song's popularity, "Don't Speak" did not chart on the US 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 sixteen weeks. Outside the United States, the song topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, becoming 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.

"Don’t Speak" 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 video game Band Hero, and is also included as a downloadable song in 2008's Rock Band 2. The song has been sampled by multiple hip-hop artists, including in Rakim's song "Dedicated", and Ice Cube's "War & Peace".

Background and writing[edit]

The song was written by Gwen Stefani and Eric Stefani, and produced by Matthew Wilder. Originally a love song, Gwen rewrote the lyrics almost completely after her break up with the band's bassist Tony Kanal. According to Gwen, "It used to be more upbeat, more of a Seventies rock-type thing. [When] Tony and I broke up... it turned into a sad song." [4] 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. The band performed part of the original song on VH1 Storytellers on August 10, 2000.

The band's guitarist Tom Dumont said about the song's composition:

There’s a lot of stories about that song, because that one unfolded over a longer period of time. Originally, Gwen’s brother wrote most of that song, and then after we got at it as a band, Gwen changed the lyrics around to fit her life. Musically, we brought it to another level, but near the end we reworded it. There’s an earlier version of the song where the verses are totally different, which is a really beautiful version and it’s awesome but it’s way more jazzy and really different. That song had a long incubation process.[1]

It is composed in the key of C minor and F minor. A demo version also appeared on a demo CD, which was presented to Interscope Records prior to the release of the Tragic Kingdom album.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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,[8] 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.[8] It was ultimately placed at number one on the Hot 100 Airplay year-end chart of 1997.[9]

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.[10] 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. It has over 540 million views on YouTube as of June 2018, and 178 million of the views come from 2017 alone[11].

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.

Track listing and formats[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

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

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

Cover versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nostro, Lauren (25 September 2012). "No Doubt Tells All: The Stories Behind Their Classic Records". complex.com. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
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  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. ^ Webb, Robery (5 August 2010). "Story of the song: 'Don't Speak', No Doubt, 1996". independent.co.uk. The Independent. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived June 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
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  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Speak". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  24. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (26.12.1996-08.01.1997)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 2018-02-05. 
  25. ^ "Italiancharts.com – No Doubt – Don't Speak". Top Digital Download. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – No Doubt" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  27. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – No Doubt – Don't Speak" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  28. ^ "Charts.org.nz – No Doubt – Don't Speak". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  29. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – No Doubt – Don't Speak". VG-lista. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  30. ^ a b "Romanian Top 100: Top of the Year 1997" (in Romanian). Romanian Top 100. Archived from the original on September 22, 2005. 
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – No Doubt – Don't Speak". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – No Doubt – Don't Speak". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  34. ^ "No Doubt: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  35. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  36. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  37. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  38. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  39. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  40. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 1997". ARIA. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  42. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. 15 December 1997. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  43. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  44. ^ "End of Year Charts 1997". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 4, 2017. 
  45. ^ 1997_in_British_music#Top_50_singles
  46. ^ "Greatest of All Time Pop Songs". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  47. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  48. ^ "IFPI Austria – Gold & Platin Datenbank". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in German). February 13, 1997. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Ultratop 50 Albums Wallonie 1997". Ultratop. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  50. ^ "French single certifications – No Doubt – Don't Speak" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  51. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Certifications (Singles) du SNEP (Les Singles de Or)". Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  52. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (No Doubt; 'Don't Speak')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  53. ^ "NVPI – Goud/Platina". NVPI (in Dutch). Retrieved August 30, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  54. ^ "IFPI Norway – Salgstrofeer". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  55. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  56. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (No Doubt; 'Don't Speak')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  57. ^ "British single certifications – No Doubt – Don't Speak". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2011-09-28.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Don't Speak in the search field and then press Enter.
  58. ^ Copsey, Rob (March 22, 2016). "Gwen Stefani's Top 20 biggest selling singles revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  59. ^ Video on YouTube

References[edit]

External links[edit]