I Don't Want to Know
|"I Don't Want to Know"|
Japan single cover
|Single by Fleetwood Mac|
|from the album Rumours|
|A-side||"Oh Daddy" (Japan only)|
|Producer(s)||Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut, Ken Caillat|
"I Don't Want to Know" is a song written by Stevie Nicks that was first released by Fleetwood Mac on their 1977 album Rumours. It was also released as a single in Japan with "Oh Daddy." Artists covering "I Don't Want to Know" include the Goo Goo Dolls. The song was featured in an episode of Glee.
Nicks wrote "I Don't Want to Know" much earlier than the Rumours sessions but rather when she and Lindsey Buckingham were performing as a rock duo Buckingham Nicks prior to joining Fleetwood Mac. The other members of Fleetwood Mac decided to use the song as a replacement for a song Nicks had written for Rumours, "Silver Springs," when they decided that "Silver Springs" would not fit on the album. The other four band members made a recording of the song without Nicks late in the Rumours recording sessions. Buckingham was able to sing Nicks' lead vocal on this version as well as the harmony vocals because he knew the song from their Buckingham Nicks days. Drummer Mick Fleetwood then broke the news to Nicks that they decided that they needed to replace "Silver Springs" with "I Don't Want to Know" and wanted her to re-record her vocal part over the one Buckingham recorded for the song. Nicks was originally very angry and did not want to cooperate with recording "I Don't Want to Know" for the album, but ultimately relented because otherwise only two songs she wrote would be on the album.
Nicks later stated that if "Silver Springs" had to be replaced, she was glad that "I Don't Want to Know" was used, since she likes the song. She particularly noted the Everly Brothers-like harmonies in her vocals with Buckingham.
In 2013, the song was used in a Saturday Night Live sketch, "Diner Divorce". The divorcing couple's intense arguments would end whenever the song played. Entertainment Weekly called the sketch "tiresome".
Lyrics and music
"I Don't Want to Know" has a country music flavor. It is an uptempo song, which recording engineer Ken Caillat describes as "3:16 of high impact energy." Fleetwood Mac biographer Cath Carrolll describes the opening of the song as being "unprepossessing" and "almost lumpen." However, she claims this has a purpose, as it makes it even more powerful and energetic when the main part of the song kicks in.
The lyrics provide a conciliatory view of the end of a romantic relationship. Although the song was written long before the breakup of Nicks' relationship with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, "I Don't Want to Know" fits the pattern of the songs of Rumours where Nicks' songs, such as "Dreams" provided a conciliatory perspective and Buckingham's songs, such as "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News," were more bitter.
- I got nothing but love for you
- So tell me what you really wanna do
- First you love me then you move down the line.
In "I Don't Want to Know" Nicks picks up the "move down the line" motif with the lines:
- I don't want to know the reasons why
- Love keeps right on walking down the line.
Rolling Stone Magazine critic John Swenson described "I Don't Want to Know" as "pure post-Buffalo Springfield country-rock formula." Carroll attributes its strength to the vocal harmonies between Nicks and Buckingham and to Buckingham's "strong country-pop guitar solo." Stylus Magazine critic Patrick McKay regards "I Don't Want to Know" as one of the "strongest tracks" on Rumours. In his book Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story, Chuck Klosterman praised Buckingham's acoustic guitar playing in that the way you can hear the squeaking sound of his fingers sliding down the guitar strings made the opening of the song sound "organic and raw." Music historian Joel Whitburn lists "I Don't Want to Know" as an essential song for downloading to an iPod. Author Joe S. Harrington regards Liz Phair's "Six Foot One" as a "musical [and] spiritual descendent" of "I Don't Want to Know."
The Goo Goo Dolls covered "I Don't Want to Know" on Legacy - A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours in 1998. According to Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the Goo Goo Dolls rock the song up. The song was used in an episode of Glee entitled "Rumours." The song was performed by Cory Monteith (as Finn Hudson) and Dianna Agron (as Quinn Fabray).
- Mick Fleetwood – drums, tambourine
- John McVie – bass guitar
- Christine McVie – keyboards
- Lindsey Buckingham – 12 string guitar, electric guitar, vocals
- Stevie Nicks – vocals, hand claps
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