When You're Gone (Avril Lavigne song)

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"When You're Gone"
Avril lavigne when you're gone single.jpg
Single by Avril Lavigne
from the album The Best Damn Thing
Released19 June 2007 (2007-06-19)
RecordedOctober 2006
StudioPulse Recording
(Los Angeles, California);
Sunset Sound
(Hollywood, California);
Abbey Road Studios
(London, England)
Producer(s)Butch Walker
Avril Lavigne singles chronology
"When You're Gone"
Music video
"When You're Gone" on YouTube

"When You're Gone" is a song by Canadian singer Avril Lavigne. It was written for Lavigne's 2007 album, The Best Damn Thing.[1] It was co-written and produced by Walker and Welch and released as the album's second single on 19 June 2007.


Avril Lavigne has said the song "is about being with someone you love, and you have to say goodbye, and all the little things you miss about them". The song may have been inspired by Lavigne's then-husband, Deryck Whibley, although in an interview in Northern Ireland with The Belfast Telegraph she did not confirm this.[2] According to her, she did not intend the song to be a love song, but she was writing a slow song and the process brought out "all that emotional stuff" in her. "It's not cheesy, because I wrote it", she said. "If I was older, a professional writer coming up with all that, that would be lame."[3]

Billboard magazine describes the song as "a power ballad with a piano and synth introduction".[4] Composer Rob Mathes orchestrated the song with genuine string section, although the brief opening note, before the piano came in, was on a synthesizer.

Critical reception[edit]

"When You're Gone" has received mixed reviews from music critics. Alex Nunn wrote that Avril hasn't lost her sense in ballads with this song.[5] Stylus was mixed calling the song "turgid and humdrum," but "taken at times by an exhilarating slickness."[6] Dave Donnely was mixed to positive: "Ballad and expected next single 'When You're Gone' may be the best of the bunch, though it's superficially like any number of pop-rock ballads, with contemplative lyrics lending the album a little bit of emotional depth. The theme, separation from a lover, is universal, and the lyrics simple: "I always needed time on my own/I never thought I'd need you there when I cried/And the days feel like years when I'm alone/And the bed where you lie is made up on your side."[7] PopMatters stated that this song tries to match "I'm With You" but it fails.[8] On a more negative note, Darryl Sterdan of JAM! described the song as "a standard piano-and-strings weeper" and went on to tell the reader to skip-it.[9] In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "When You're Gone" was voted Lavigne's eighth best song.[10]


Indicates non-competitive categories Indicates non-competitive categories
Award/Publisher Year Category Result Ref.
BMI Pop Music Awards 2009 Award-Winning Songs Indicates non-competitive categories Won [11]
MuchMusic Video Awards 2008 UR Fave: Artist Won [12]
Planeta Awards 2007 Ballad of the Year Won [13]
Best Female Vocal Performance Nominated
SOCAN Awards 2008 Pop/Rock Music Award Indicates non-competitive categories Won [14]

Music video[edit]

Lavigne plays piano in an abandoned house.

The video was directed by Marc Klasfeld, who is most well known from his works of director for Sum 41's music videos. Lavigne reportedly came up with the concept for the video. The video portrays three relationships in different age groups, but in the same situation involving these relationships on the verge of being destroyed. The first relationship involves a pregnant woman whose husband is fighting in the war. The second involves an elderly man whose wife has recently died. And the third involves a teenage couple walking in the park only to be caught by the girl's controlling mother who forbids them from seeing each other ever again. Lavigne said that the video is very personal. In the end, the walls of the house collapse, and all three scenes break out daylight with the teenage girl returning to the place where the duo were caught, the elderly man drinking to his wife in a graveyard, and an SMS from the pregnant woman's husband, with the text "I'm okay. I miss U." Lavigne is then seen running in a field once more until the screen fades out.

Portions of the video were filmed at California State University, Northridge's Botanic Garden.[15] The video was premiered on MuchMusic in Canada on 6 June 2007 during the 5 pm broadcast of MuchOnDemand. While in the United States it was premiered on MTV's TRL on 21 June. It reached the No. 1 spot on both TV music channel countdowns on August.

One year later the video won the People's Choice: Favourite Canadian Artist award during the 2008 MuchMusic Video Awards.[16]

As of 2019 the music video for "When You're Gone" has reached 400 million views on YouTube.

Chart performance and promotion[edit]

Before its release as a single in the United States, "When You're Gone" reached number ninety on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 77 on the Billboard Pop 100, in the Billboard issue dated 5 May 2007. The song later re-entered the charts and peaked at numbers 24 and 16, respectively. It did well on the charts in Canada, where it reached number eight. As of September 2015, "When You're Gone" has sold 1,290,000 digital copies in the United States.[17]

The single did well in European charts ending at number four of the European Hot 100. "When You're Gone" debuted at number thirty-two on UK Singles Chart, and peaked at number three. It ended the year as the 54th most purchased song in the UK. In Ireland, it reached number four. In the Continental Europe, "When You're Gone" peaked inside top twenty in countries such as Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. However, the song was a minor hit in Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), where it failed to reach top twenty.

Live performances[edit]

Lavigne performed the song during European and Asian festivals that took part of her 2007 Promotional Tour as well as TV shows and award shows worldwide.

Usage in other media[edit]

The song was used in the second-season finale of the MTV show The Hills, playing during the climatic "moving out" scene between former best friends Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag. It was also used in the series 7 finale of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. The song is used as the background music for the third generation Toyota Alphard commercial for the Japanese market, with Kate Winslet and Selena Gomez.

Track listings[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[60] Platinum 70,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[61] Platinum 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[62] Gold 20,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[63] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[65] Silver 352,000[64]
United States (RIAA)[66] Platinum 1,290,000[17]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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External links[edit]