War of Nerves

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"War of Nerves"
A portrait of All Saints dressed in jackets, standing next to each other in a dark corridor.
Single by All Saints
from the album All Saints
Released 23 November 1998 (1998-11-23)
Length 4:51
Label London
  • Cameron McVey
  • Magnus Fiennes
All Saints singles chronology
"Bootie Call"
"War of Nerves"
"Pure Shores"

"Bootie Call"
"War of Nerves"
"Pure Shores"
Music video
"War of Nerves" on YouTube

"War of Nerves" is a song by British girl group All Saints, released by London Records on 23 November 1998 as the fifth and final single from their debut album, All Saints. Group members Shaznay Lewis, Natalie Appleton and Nicole Appleton wrote the song with producers Cameron McVey and Magnus Fiennes. It is a ballad concerning mortaility, inspired by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. "War of Nerves" debuted at number seven on the UK Singles Chart, making it the group's fifth consecutive single to reach the top 10.


"War of Nerves" was the last song recorded for the group's 1997 debut album, All Saints.[1] The group wrote the song as a response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In an interview for The Irish Times, group member Shaznay Lewis reflected, "I never really thought about things like my own death until it happened to Diana. And the song definitely did help me face those feelings."[2] Group member Natalie Appleton named it her favourite song on the album in the Appleton autobiography saying, "the emotions are powerful and it gives me chills."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Sarah Davis of Dotmusic gave "War of Nerves" four out of five stars, writing, "A distinctly heart-felt ballad, it's more soulful than most of their previous releases, including 'Never Ever' and while at first appears to go nowhere, is an engaging listen."[1] In his review of All Saints for Rolling Stone, Chuck Eddy said the song "has an aptly unnerving prettiness".[4] Conversely, NME's Jim Firth derided it as "unfettered toss" and "a sawn-off version of the Lionel Richie song book", concluding, "No tune, no soul, no fun."[5] Len Righi of The Morning Call wrote that All Saints seem "determined to embody monotony" on the track.[6] In retrospective reviews, Jon O'Brien from AllMusic said "the gorgeous, sweeping strings of soulful ballad 'War of Nerves' have aged better than most of their contemporaries' output",[7] while The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan found it unmemorable.[8]

Track listing[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "War of Nerves".

CD 1
1. "War of Nerves" ('98 Remix) 4:52
2. "Inside" 4:57
3. "War of Nerves" (Ganja Kru Dub) 9:13
4. "War of Nerves" (video) 5:11
CD 2
1. "War of Nerves" ('98 Remix) 4:52
2. "Always Something There to Remind Me" (live from the Burt Bacharach TV show) 3:20
3. "Never Ever" 6:28
Cassette/Two track
1. "War of Nerves" ('98 Remix) 4:52
2. "Inside" 4:57

Music video[edit]

The music video of "War of Nerves" is set in London's famous Met Bar[9] in the Metropolitan Hotel. It also features a London bus with an advertisement for All Saints which was visible in London for quite a while. Member Melanie Blatt's pregnancy was also written in the concept for the video as she would be shown singing in the shower, exposing her belly in a silhouette.[10] It also features a fight in a garage, between sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton, they later comfort each other.

Live performances[edit]

The song has been performed in a number of All Saints' concerts since their 2014 comeback. In the album version, lead vocals are shared by Shaznay Lewis and Melanie Blatt, however Natalie Appleton has taken over Lewis's lead vocals for all recent live performances. In the 2016 Red Flag tour, the song was combined with Red Flag single "This Is A War".

Charts and certifications[edit]


Chart (1998) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[11] 13
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 21
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 79
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 50
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[15] 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 7


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Silver 200,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone



  1. ^ a b Davis, Sarah (2 November 1998). "War of Nerves (London)". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 21 June 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Joe (21 February 1998). "Not quite all Saint Shaznay T. Lewis of the Chart-Topping Group the all Saints Talks to Joe Jackson about Love, Rap, and all Things Spice". The Irish Times. p. 64. Retrieved 15 March 2018 – via ProQuest.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ Appleton 2002, pp. 178–179
  4. ^ Eddy, Chuck (13 February 1998). "All Saints: All Saints". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 March 2002. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Firth, Jim (22 November 1998). "This Week's Singles". NME. Archived from the original on 31 August 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  6. ^ Righi, Len (28 March 1998). "All Saints". The Morning Call. p. 62. 
  7. ^ O'Brien, Jon (27 September 2010). "Pure Shores: The Very Best of All Saints - All Saints". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (10 January 2001). "The All Saints'split up". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2018. 
  9. ^ Worlds Best Bars Met Bar
  10. ^ MelanieBlatt.co.uk Official Biography
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – All Saints – War of Nerves" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – War of Nerves". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – All Saints – War of Nerves" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Charts.org.nz – All Saints – War of Nerves". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  17. ^ "British single certifications – All Saints – War of Nerves". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 October 2016.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter War of Nerves in the search field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]