When the Stars Go Blue

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"When The Stars Go Blue"
Song by Ryan Adams
from the album Gold
ReleasedSeptember 25, 2001
LabelLost Highway
Songwriter(s)Ryan Adams
Producer(s)Ethan Johns

"When The Stars Go Blue" is a popular alternative country song composed and originally performed by solo artist and former Whiskeytown band member Ryan Adams. It was first released with his album Gold on September 25, 2001. The song has been covered by many artists, notably: Celtic band The Corrs featuring U2's lead singer Bono, country music singer Tim McGraw and Norwegian artists Venke Knutson and Kurt Nilsen as a duo.

Critical reception[edit]

The original recording of "When the Stars Go Blue" on the Gold album received little attention by critics due to the timing of the release and Adams' overwhelmingly large and ranging catalog. The Gold album was released on 25 September 2001, with a lead track called, "New York, New York", which became a radio hit in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In the next year, Adams produced material that could have made up four albums.[1] Critics have been known to be averse to reviewing Adams' works due to the large quantity and variety of his works.[2] Adams has had numerous attacks for his "genre hopping" and has been labeled as "musically bipolar" by critics.[3] It wasn't until Tim McGraw's cover that the song got critical attention. When Adams performs "When the Stars Go Blue" in concert now, critics note Adams' "masterful ballad" performances,[4] and "When the Stars Go Blue," is the "most gorgeous ballad on the [Gold] album".[5]


  • Ryan Adams - vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Richard Causon - piano
  • Ethan Johns - 12 string guitar, harmonium, electric piano, mandocello, Chamberlain strings, drums
  • Julianna Raye - background vocals

The Corrs version[edit]

"When The Stars Go Blue"
Single by The Corrs featuring Bono
from the album VH1 Presents: The Corrs, Live in Dublin
ReleasedMarch 12, 2002
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Ryan Adams
Producer(s)Mitchell Froom
The Corrs featuring Bono singles chronology
"Would You Be Happier (Live)"
"When The Stars Go Blue"
"Summer Sunshine"

The Corrs recorded the song on their album VH1 Presents: The Corrs, Live In Dublin in 2002, featuring U2's Bono. The song was remixed for their album Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection during 2006, and released as a single in Spain, reaching #1 at the airplay chart in September.


Chart Peak
U.S. Adult Top 40[6] 18
Spanish Airplay Chart[7] 1

Tim McGraw version[edit]

"When The Stars Go Blue"
When the Stars Go Blue.jpg
Single by Tim McGraw
from the album Greatest Hits Vol. 2
ReleasedMarch 6, 2006
Songwriter(s)Ryan Adams
Tim McGraw singles chronology
"My Old Friend"
"When The Stars Go Blue"
"My Little Girl"
Music video
"When the Stars Go Blue" on YouTube

In 2006, the song was released by Tim McGraw as the first single from his album Tim McGraw Reflected: Greatest Hits Vol. 2. Heribert Severing, creator and writer of severing.nu, included McGraw's version of "When The Stars Go Blue" on his list of the top Country singles of 2006.[8]

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Sherman Halsey. It features McGraw performing in a snowy background surrounded by clusters of pine trees. It was shot in Crivitz, Wisconsin. The video was shot in black-and-white. Throughout the video, several reflections of people can be seen in the trees. In the end of the clip, McGraw starts to walk backwards, turns around, starts to run, then disappears, leaving only a trail of footprints behind. The version of the song in the video is edited to fit into the time of 3:19. It was released in April 2006.

Chart performance[edit]

"When The Stars Go Blue" debuted at number 35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs for the week of March 18, 2006.

Chart (2006) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 37
US Billboard Pop 100 50
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[11] 12
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[12] 35

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 20

Venke Knutson and Kurt Nilsen version[edit]

"When The Stars Go Blue"
Single by Venke Knutson and Kurt Nilsen
from the album Places I Have Been
ReleasedFebruary 2006
Songwriter(s)Ryan Adams
Venke Knutson singles chronology
"Just a Minute"
"When The Stars Go Blue"
Kurt Nilsen singles chronology
"Just a Minute"
"When The Stars Go Blue"
"Push Push"
Music video
"When the Stars Go Blue" on YouTube

The Norwegian artists Venke Knutson and World Idol Kurt Nilsen recorded a duet that appears in Venke Knutson's album 2005 Places I Have Been. The song was released as a single in Norway in February 2006, reaching #14 on the Norwegian Singles Chart.[14]

Chart (2006) Peak
Norway (VG-lista)[15] 14

Other versions[edit]

Irish/British girlband Wonderland performed the track for their debut performance on television in Ireland. Both live and studio version is available on YouTube. The recorded studio version was included the band's debut album Wonderland released in United Kingdom and Ireland on 6 June 2011.

It was also featured in One Tree Hill as a hit song by fictional characters Haley James Scott and Chris Keller (real life singers Bethany Joy Lenz and Tyler Hilton) and features on the One Tree Hill Soundtrack.[16]

Performed by Blake Lewis on American Idol Season 6, originally airing on April 17, 2007.[17] In an interview on that episode of American Idol, Lewis incorrectly attributed the song to Tim McGraw. His cover of the song made it to #92 of the pop charts in 2007.[18]

On July 16, 2006 Phil Lesh covered the song in the first set of a show at Charter One Pavilion in Chicago, IL. The show was made available for purchase via compact disc immediately following the live concert as part of an Instant Live recording series which Phil Lesh and Friends made available to all standard concerts during their Summer 2006 tour. On April 5, 2014 Phil Lesh covered the song in the first set of a show at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. The show was available for live streaming to fans throughout the world.


  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Ryan Adams – When the Stars Go Blue". mikewentwest. Retrieved 8 April 2012. |first= missing |last= (help)
  3. ^ McGuane, Kenny S. "Cardinology". album reviews. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  4. ^ Pareles, Jon. "Wisecracks, Scattered Among Slow Tunes". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  5. ^ Orshoski, Wes. Ryan Adams Finds 'Gold' On Lost Highway. Billboard. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  6. ^ All Music
  7. ^ >
  8. ^ Severing, Heribert. "The Greatest Country Single Hits of them all: The Year is 2006". Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Best of 2006: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  14. ^ aCharts.us: Venke Knutson and Kurt Nilsen's "When the Stars Go Blue" page
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Venke Knutson and Kurt Nilsen – When The Stars Go Blue". VG-lista.
  16. ^ "One Tree Hill Music". Official Soundtracks.
  17. ^ Lamb, Bill. "When the Stars Go Blue". American Idol Season 6 - The Songs. About.com - The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  18. ^ Lamb, Bill. "American Idols on the Charts - A Complete Record". About.com - The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 March 2012.

External links[edit]