I (Who Have Nothing)

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"Uno Dei Tanti"
Songwriter(s)Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti (lyrics)
Carlo Donida (music)
"I (Who Have Nothing)"
Single by Ben E. King
from the album Young Boy Blues
B-side"The Beginning of Time"
ReleasedJune 1963
Songwriter(s)Carlo Donida, Mogol, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Ben E. King singles chronology
"How Can I Forget"
"I (Who Have Nothing)"
"I Could Have Danced All Night"

"I (Who Have Nothing)" (sometimes billed as "I Who Have Nothing") is an English language cover of the Italian song "Uno dei Tanti" (English: "One of Many"), with music by Carlo Donida and lyrics by Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti.[1] The initial version, "Uno dei Tanti" was by Joe Sentieri in 1961.

The English lyrics for "I (Who Have Nothing)" were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also produced the first English language release, performed by Ben E. King in 1963. The record used the backing track from Joe Sentieri's record (orchestra conducted by Luis Enriquez Bacalov).

Cover versions[edit]

In the US, the Ben E. King version reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and #16 on the Hot R&B Singles chart.[2] Other versions which reached the Billboard charts were performed by Terry Knight and the Pack in 1966 (#46) (#36Can)[3], Liquid Smoke in 1970 (#82) (#66 Can)[4], Warhorse in 1972 and Sylvester in 1979 (#40) (#86Can)[5], with a disco-flavored version. The most popular version in the United States was by Tom Jones, which peaked at #14 in 1970 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Easy Listening chart,[6] and #10 in Canada.[7] This version also peaked at #11 in Cashbox.

Shirley Bassey released the song (produced by George Martin) in September 1963, where it reached #6 on UK charts. She performs the song at almost every live concert she gives, and it is on many of her compilation albums, including I Am What I Am with the London Symphony Orchestra, and her 1989 album La Mujer where she sings it in Spanish ("Hoy No Tengo Nada"). She has also been instrumental in making Donida's music known to English-speaking audiences through arranging for translations from the Italian, having performed with the composer conducting his own music on Italian television.[8][9]

British rock band The Spectres, later known as Status Quo, released their version of the song in September 1966 as a single on Piccadilly Records. This would be their debut single, nearly a year before changing their name and finding their way to mainstream popularity.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band released their version of the song as a single only in 1981. It's also included on their Best of MMEB II album.

Although never released as a single, Luther Vandross and Martha Wash recorded it as a duet, on his 1991 album Power of Love.

In 1997, the hook of the song was sampled in a song of the same name by underground hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks, released on the album The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness.[10]

Brian May and Kerry Ellis recorded a version of this song for their 2017 album Golden Days, alternately featuring both English and Italian vocals, the latter sung by Irene Fornaciari.

Ray Quinn recorded his version for his 2020 album Undeniable.

Peter Hammill recorded his version for his 2021 album In Translation.


  1. ^ "Second Hand Songs - Song:Uno dei tanti - Joe Sentieri". Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved 2016-05-22.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 325.
  3. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - January 28, 1967" (PDF).
  4. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - May 23, 1970" (PDF).
  5. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - May 26, 1979" (PDF).
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 131.
  7. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - September 26, 1970" (PDF).
  8. ^ "The Songs of Shirley Bassey: Song Info". Archived from the original on 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2016-05-22.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ BBC episode of Biography (ca. 2000)
  10. ^ Jedi Mind Tricks – I Who Have Nothing, retrieved 2020-06-14

External links[edit]