It's Oh So Quiet

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"It's Oh So Quiet"
Song by Betty Hutton
A-side"Murder, He Says"
Released1951 (1951)
GenreJazz
LabelRCA
Composer(s)Hans Lang
Lyricist(s)Bert Reisfeld

"It's Oh So Quiet" is a song by American singer Betty Hutton, released in 1951 as the B-side to the single "Murder, He Says".[1] It is a cover of the German song "Und jetzt ist es still",[2][3] performed by Horst Winter in 1948, with music written by Austrian composer Hans Lang and German lyrics by Erich Meder.[4] The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld.[2][3] A French title, "Tout est tranquille", was performed in 1949 by Ginette Garcin and the Jacques Hélian Orchestra.

Icelandic musician Björk covered the song as the third single from her second album Post (1995) and remains her biggest hit, reaching number 4 in the UK and spending 15 weeks on the UK Singles Chart. Fueled by the Spike Jonze-directed music video, the single also shot Björk into the spotlight in Australia, where it reached number 6. In the United Kingdom the single has been certified as Gold, having sold upwards of 400,000 copies.

In 2002, Brittany Murphy made a performance of this song, joined by The Pussycat Dolls. In 2005, Lucy Woodward covered the song for the soundtrack for the film Ice Princess. This version was also used in the second trailer for the 2020 film Birds of Prey. A version of "It's Oh So Quiet" was used in a Maybelline advertisement, and a version by Amanda Fondell was used in an advertisement for Candy Crush Saga. Hutton's version was used in a commercial for the Acura TLX in 2020 and for Facebook in 2021.

Björk version[edit]

"It's Oh So Quiet"
Björk - It's Oh So Quiet.png
UK CD1 cover
Single by Björk
from the album Post
B-side
  • "You've Been Flirting Again"
  • "Sweet Sweet Intuition"
  • "My Spine"
ReleasedNovember 13, 1995 (1995-11-13)[5]
StudioAngel (London)[citation needed]
GenreBig band jazz[6]
Length3:41
LabelOne Little Indian
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Björk singles chronology
"Isobel"
(1995)
"It's Oh So Quiet"
(1995)
"Hyperballad"
(1996)
Music video
"It's Oh So Quiet" on YouTube

The song was covered by Icelandic musician Björk in 1995. It was released as the third single from her second album Post (1995) and remains her biggest hit, reaching number 4 in the UK and spending 15 weeks on the UK Singles Chart. Fueled by the Spike Jonze-directed music video, the single also shot Björk into the spotlight in Australia, where it reached number 6. In the United Kingdom the single has been certified as Gold, having sold upwards of 400,000 copies.[7][8]

Critical reception[edit]

James Masterton for Dotmusic said Björk's version of the song "stands out as one of the most bizarre singles she has ever recorded." He described it "as Icelandic pixie meets the sound of Frank Sinatra to almost perfect effect."[9] Alan Jones from Music Week wrote, "Alternating soft and gentle passages with noisy outbursts on which Bjork squawks and is reinforced by an old-fashioned big band section, this is very much a novelty, but one that works and well."[10]

Music video[edit]

The music video for Björk's "It's Oh So Quiet" is the work of American director Spike Jonze, and an homage to Hollywood musicals. Time Out wrote, "none of [it] would have worked without that final crane shot" (depicted above).[11]

Background[edit]

The music video, directed by Spike Jonze, was shot in San Fernando Valley, California. It is a homage to Hollywood's Technicolor musicals that drew inspiration from Busby Berkeley and Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.[12] Like Demy, Jonze "mines the magical from the mundane," as he transforms a drab auto shop into the location where Björk dances and sings with a full dance company, an attempt to reflect the "exuberance" of her vocal performance.[13] The whispered verse sections of the track are filmed in slow motion, "much as Tsai's cinematography takes place over an extended timeframe"; while the shouted musical sections "reflect back on ordinary or 'lived' reality in a manner that denaturalizes the banal—turning it, more than the fantasy of musical spectacle, into something surreal."[14]

Synopsis[edit]

The video begins as Björk emerges from an extremely dirty washroom in an auto shop. She dances along with the auto workers for the first chorus, then emerges from the shop. During the second chorus, she dances tap with a few people outside of the auto shop. Björk continues to walk along the street, dancing with several elderly women and their umbrellas before settling to rest her arms on top of a mailbox for the final verse. The mailbox comes alive and dances along with Björk during this chorus. Björk then runs down the street and into the road, where the rest of the town has decided to join her for one large dance number. The video ends with Björk floating up above the townsfolk and hushing the viewer.

Release[edit]

The music video for "It's Oh So Quiet" premiered on MTV during the week ending on August 20, 1995.[15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

"It's Oh So Quiet" video received six nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards for 1996 including Best Female Video, Best Art Direction, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video, International Viewer's Choice Award — MTV Europe, and Best Choreography in a Video, winning in the latter category.[16] The video was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video - Short Form, losing to "Scream" by Michael Jackson and his sister Janet.[17][18] In October 2007, MuchMoreMusic placed "It's Oh So Quiet" as number 8 of the Top 40 Most Memorable Music Videos on Listed.

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[7] Gold 400,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Advance Record Releases". The Billboard: 30. July 7, 1951. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Quentin (May 4, 2007). "Song: It's Oh So Quiet". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "IT'S OH SO QUIET". ACE Search. ASCAP. Retrieved June 23, 2012. Select Work ID and search for 390157329. Performers include B Hutton and alternative titles includes "JETZT IST ES STILL"
  4. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. November 11, 1995. p. 31. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  6. ^ Browne, David (September 26, 1997). "Homogenic (1997)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 1, 2013. "neither does it have anything as irritating as "It's Oh So Quiet", that album's cutesy foray into big-band brassiness"
  7. ^ a b "British single certifications – Bjork – It's Oh So Quiet". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "The Trumpets Sound: All is Well!". Bjork.com. August 1, 2002. Archived from the original on August 2, 2002. Retrieved April 6, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Masterton, James (November 19, 1995). "Week Ending November 25th 1995". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Jones, Alan (November 18, 1995). "Talking Music" (PDF). Music Week. p. 12. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  11. ^ Ehrlich, David (March 3, 2015). "The 10 best Bjork music videos". Time Out. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  12. ^ Gonzalez, Ed (October 26, 2003). "The Work of Spike Jonze". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on June 9, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  13. ^ Ehrlich, David (March 3, 2015). "The 10 best Bjork music videos". Time Out. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  14. ^ Richardson, John (November 14, 2011). An Eye for Music: Popular Music and the Audiovisual Surreal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536736-2. Archived from the original on May 29, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  15. ^ Video Monitor. Billboard. September 2, 1995. p. 57.
  16. ^ "VMA 1996 - MTV Video Music Awards". MTV.
  17. ^ "List of Grammy nominees". CNN. January 4, 1996. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  18. ^ "Rock On The Net: Grammy Awards: Best Music Videos". Rockonthenet.com.
  19. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (UK CD1 liner notes). Björk. One Little Indian. 1995. 182TP7CD.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (UK CD2 liner notes). Björk. One Little Indian. 1995. 182TP7CDL.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  21. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (Australian CD single liner notes). Björk. Polydor Records, Mother Records. 1995. 577 5112.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  22. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (Japanese CD single liner notes). Björk. Polydor Records, Mother Records. 1995. POCP-7106.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  23. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (UK cassette single sleeve). Björk. One Little Indian. 1995. 182TP7C.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  24. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (Australian cassette single sleeve). Björk. Polydor Records. 1995. 577 508-4.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (European CD single liner notes). Björk. Mother Records. 1995. 577 5082.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (US CD single liner notes). Björk. Elektra Records. 1995. 64353-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  27. ^ It's Oh So Quiet (US cassette single sleeve). Björk. Elektra Records. 1995. 4-64353.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  28. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  29. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  30. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  31. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13, no. 2. January 13, 1995. p. 11. Retrieved September 15, 2020. See last week column.
  32. ^ "Björk: It's Oh So Quiet" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat.
  33. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (23.7.1995 – 30.7.1995)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). July 22, 1995. p. 20. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  34. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – It's Oh So Quiet". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  35. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 50, 1995" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  36. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  37. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet". Top 40 Singles.
  38. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  39. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet". Singles Top 100.
  40. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  41. ^ "Bjork Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  42. ^ "Björk – It's Oh So Quiet" (in French). Les classement single.
  43. ^ "Árslistinn 1995". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 2, 1996. p. 16. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1995". Music Week. January 13, 1996. p. 9.
  45. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". Australian Record Industry Association. Archived from the original on November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015 – via Imgur.
  46. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 2, 1997. p. 16. Retrieved May 30, 2020.

External links[edit]