Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Don't Tell Me

by

Madonna



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by singer/songwriter Joe Henry, whose wife Melanie is Madonna's sister. Henry went to high school with Madonna and has a good relationship with her, but rarely tries to pitch songs to her. When Henry's wife heard this song, she took it to Madonna, who turned it into a dance hit.
Henry's original version has the same lyrics, but is called "Stop" and is more of a Tango. It appears on his 2001 album Scar
In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Joe Henry explained: "I've got good friends who knew both versions of the song and it never occurred to them that it was the same words going by. It's been a really good lesson as a songwriter because I'm very lyric-oriented, but I realized when that song happened for her - she had a big hit with it - that it really doesn't matter what you're saying as long as the groove is convincing."

Henry added: "I thought the song was a complete throwaway. I had just moved and set up a studio in the guesthouse of my home and was looking to record anything to make sure my things were working. I needed something to record, so I wrote that song in about 25 minutes just to give myself something to do. I was a little embarrassed by it, it starts off a little spoon-in-June and takes a cryptic turn at the end. I thought it was a trifle, but in the right hands, a trifle has turned into some very handsome shoes that I'm wearing."
For Henry, this was a financial windfall, as he received royalties on Madonna's recording, in the same NPR interview, he said: "It had been a complete abstraction to me to see back end on anything. But I found I'm very adaptable."
Madonna
Madonna Artistfacts
More Madonna songs

Comments (2):

I agree with Theresa! Again, as with Crazy for You, Take a Bow, One More Chance, Nothing Fails and Love Spent, Don't Tell Me is a Sad and Beautiful Country Song. When Madonna Cries in Don't Tell Me, the result is magic. Miranda Lambert, Neko Case and Lucinda Williams have nothing on this Detroit Rebel! Even when Madonna is an Alt-Country Heartbreaker, she does it with sadness, beauty-and grace too.
- Leo, Westminster 1, MD
The video is so simple but it works. When Madonna works with Joe Henry - magic happens.
- Theresa, Murfreesboro, TN
You have to to post comments.
Sam PhillipsSam Phillips
Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind. Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.
Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."
Kim Thayil of SoundgardenKim Thayil of Soundgarden
Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.
Dino Cazares of Fear FactoryDino Cazares of Fear Factory
The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.