This song was written and first released in 1986 by a UK synth-pop duo called The Lover Speaks, which was comprised of instrumentalist Joseph Hughes and singer David Freeman. The got a record deal with A&M thanks in part to Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, who brought them to the attention of producer Jimmy Iovine. Their debut, self-titled album was produced by Iovine, with "No More I Love You's" the first single. It went to #58 in the UK and the group supported the Eurythmics on tour, which is when Annie Lennox came across this song. She released her version as the first single from her second solo album, Medusa, which was comprised entirely of cover songs. Her version was a big hit, rising to #2 in the UK and giving the song its first exposure in America.
As for The Lover Speaks, they never released another album and broke up in 1988.
It's not clear exactly what's going on in this song, and the members of The Lover Speaks (ironically) aren't speaking about it. What is apparent is the intensity of the emotion, as the singer had lost language function, meaning he will no longer utter the words "I love you." It seems he is finally abandoning the relationship, which drove him to madness.
The original version of this song is sung by a man, David Freeman, with backing vocals by June Miles-Kingston, a singer who was dating the other member of The Lover Speaks, Joseph Hughes. There is no indication of gender in the lyric, so Lennox didn't need to make any changes.
After splitting from Eurythmics in 1990, Lennox poured her heart out on her first solo album, Diva, in 1992. Releasing a covers album gave her an emotional respite and more time to spend with her two young children. She blogged in publicity materials for her 2009 greatest hits set: "I absolutely love interpreting other people's songs. This one was written by The Lover Speaks, and is a small piece of genius."
Lennox sports another distinctive look in the video, appearing in period garb as some kind of fashion-forward aristocrat from the 1800s. As she luxuriates, men dressed like ballerinas entertain her. It was one of four videos from Medusa that she directed with Joe Dyer.
"I actually think the video is one of the best I've ever made," she wrote in a blog post. "The scene is set in a late 19th Century French bordello, where strange individuals are playing out some kinds of bizarre fantasies. I'm constantly fascinated by human behavior. We all seem to be wearing certain kinds of masks which cover up a whole bunch of other hidden agendas and existences, especially with regard to sexuality versus romantic love."
Lennox won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for this song.