|First posted 1/22/2020; last updated 2/27/2021.|
Writer(s):Gwen Stefani/Eric Stefani (see lyrics here)
Released: April 15, 1996
First Charted: October 19, 1996
Peak: 116a US, 19 RR, 6 AC, 114 A40, 12 AA, 2 MR, 13 UK, 12 CN, 18 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.01 UK, 2.17 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.9 radio, 723.26 video, -- streaming
Awards: (Click on award for more details).
About the Song:
“Don’t Speak” is one of the biggest #1 pop songs in history, but it never hit the Billboard Hot 100. During the ‘90s, record companies often held radio songs back from release to push album sales instead. While Billboard did track airplay, they didn’t permit songs without a physical single release to chart on the Hot 100. With 16 weeks on the airplay chart, the only song on one of Billboard’s pop charts to spend more weeks at #1 is 1947’s “Near You” by Francis Craig. The song did top the charts in more than a dozen countries including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It was also nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year. WK
No Doubt had previously released two albums which had gone largely unnoticed before 1995’s Tragic Kingdom. Top-ten alternative rock hits “Just a Girl” and “Spiderwebs” finally put the spotlight on the band; “Don’t Speak” propelled the album to the top of the Billboard album chart for nine weeks.
According to Tom Dumont, the band’s guitarist, the original version of “Don’t Speak” was written primarily by Eric Stefani, a former band member, as a love song. WK Gwen Stefani, his sister and lead singer of the band, changed the lyrics almost completely after her breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal. WK As she said, “It used to be more upbeat, more of a seventies rock-type thing. [When] Tony and I broke up…it turned into a sad song.” WK
The video put a different twist on the song by turning it into a commentary on the media attention given to Gwen. During the video, the rest of the band appear upset and shoot dirty looks at her. Kanal said, “We didn’t want it to be about a normal breakup. So we thought, ‘What would be the saddst thing that could happen? The band splitting up?’ So that’s what the video’s about.” SF
Resources and Related Links: