I Who Have Nothing

Album: Greatest Hits (1963)
Charted: 29
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song about unrequited love is featured on The Sopranos soundtrack. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Levittown, NY
  • The song's melody was based on an Italian song, "Uno Dei Tanti," (English: "One of Many"), which King had heard in Italy. King's producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller translated the lyrics into English.
  • Other versions of King's melodramatic soul hit that reached the Billboard charts were performed by:

    1966 Terry Knight and the Pack (who later became Grand Funk Railroad) in 1966 (#46)

    1970 Liquid Smoke (#82)

    1970 Tom Jones (#14)

    1979 Sylvester (#46)

    In the UK Shirley Bassey's George Martin produced version, which peaked at #6 in 1963, is the best known.
  • The song is a favorite for music based reality show contestants. American Idol contests who have performed the song include Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks in the Top 3, Season 10 contestant Haley Reinhart in the Top 4 and and season 12 winner Candice Glover in the final.
  • Some critics believe that part of the song's melody was later copied for the Moody Blues' 1967 hit "Nights In White Satin."
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Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyBen E. King passed away Thursday (May 1st, 2015) of apparently natural causes at the age of 76.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 1st 1979, Sylvester's covered version of "I (Who Have Nothing)" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; four weeks later on April 29th, 1979 it would peak at #40 {for 2 weeks} and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #27 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1978 and 1986 he had ten hits the R&B Singles chart; his biggest hit and also only Top 10 record was "Dance (Disco Heat)", it reached #4 in 1978 and was the first of his three #1 records on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart...
    Sadly, Sylvester, born Sylvester James, Jr., passed away on December 16th, 1988 at the young age of 41...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 23rd 1963, "I (Who Have Nothing)" by Ben E. King entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #99; and on August 18th it peaked at #29 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #16 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1960 and 1975 he had twenty-one Top 100 records; with three making the Top 10, "Spanish Harlem" (#10 in 1961), "Stand By Me" (#4 in 1961), and "Supernatural Thing - Part 1" (#5 in 1975)...
    "Stand By Me" re-entered the Top 100 in 1986, in conjunction with the movie of the same name, and it made the Top 10 again, reached #9 for two weeks...
    Mr. King, born Benjamin Earl Nelson, will celebrate his 76th birthday in three months on September 28th, 2014.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 26th in 1970, Tom Jones performed his covered version of "I (Who Have Nothing)" on the Raquel Welch's NBC-TV special 'Raquel!'...
    Four months later on August 16th, 1970 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on September 19th, 1970 it peaked at #14 (for 1 week) and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100 and it did may the Top 10 in Belgium were it peaked at #6...
    It reached #16 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Mr. Jones, born Thomas Jones Woodward, will celebrate his 74th birthday in less than two months on June 7th, 2014.
  • Dominick from New York, NyTom Jones also covered this song in 1970.
  • Lester from New York City, NyTerry Knight & the Pack (soon to be Grand Funk Railroad) did a decent cover of this.
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