Written by Extreme lead singer Gary Cherone and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, this song is about a guy who loves a girl and knows she loves him too, but he wants her to show it by more than just saying "I love you." He's saying that if she would show him more affection and emotion she wouldn't have to say she loves him because he would already know.
In our interview with Nuno, he explained: "The word 'love' itself gets really diluted, so we just wanted to say, 'It's not really about saying it,' because everybody gets really worked up when somebody says that to each other. They say, 'I love you,' and everybody goes, 'Oh my God! It must be serious. It must be heavy.' It's like, 'Eh... it's easy to say that.' It's really about showing it constantly and continuously in a relationship. We knew that was the message."
An acoustic love ballad, this was a showcase for the sensitive side of the band, but it didn't represent their body of work. The group's self-titled debut was released in 1989 and was mostly comprised of rockers like "Play With Me." Their next album was Pornograffitti, which contained this song and also another acoustic number, "Hole Hearted," which also became a huge hit.
The group recorded songs in a variety of styles, but rock was their mainstay. Since "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted" were so successful, many listeners assumed they were indicative of Extreme's sound, and got a shock when they bought the album or went to a show.
According to Nuno, he came up with most of this song sitting on a porch, alone with his guitar. It came to him very quickly, as most of his songs do (Nuno will abandon a song if it doesn't come quickly). He brought the song inside to Cherone, who hashed out lyrics as they put the song together.
Extreme kept it very simple on this song, with minimal production. The video reflects this as well, since they wanted the focus to be on the song. Directed by the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the black-and-white clip shows Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone seated, performing the song in a studio setting. Dayton and Faris also directed the "Hole Hearted" video; they would go on to direct the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine.
Since only Bettencourt and Cherone appeared in the video, many viewers assumed Extreme was a duo - they were actually a four-piece.
A distinctive element in this song is the spaced-out line when Cherone sings, "Dont. Ever. Let. Me. Go..." This little breakdown stood out, especially in a song with so little instrumentation. When Cherone came up with this line, he was working off the vocal melody that Nuno Bettencourt brought to him.
British band BBMak covered this on their Sooner or Later album and also performed it at MTV's New Years Party in 2001. The Pop band Westlife also covered this song on their album Westlife in 1999. Their version received a positive response, especially on the iTunes store.
Suggestion credit: Ally - Scottsdale, AZ
The word "Extreme" was popular in the early '90s and used to describe edgy youth culture and dangerous sports. ESPN started the "Extreme Games" in 1995, but renamed them the "X Games" the next year so they would not become dated.
Extreme released two more albums which contained some minor hits ("Rest in Peace" - #96 US, #13 UK; "Stop the World" - #95 US, #22 UK) before breaking up in 1996. Cherone became lead singer of Van Halen, replacing Sammy Hagar. Since his best-known songs were ballads like this one, many VH fans were puzzled by the selection. Van Halen released one album (Van Halen III) with Cherone before deciding it wasn't working out.
Extreme re-formed in 2007 and released their fifth album, Saudades de Rock, in 2008. Bettencourt took on duties as Rihanna's touring guitarist in 2009, bringing his rock riffs to her live performances.
Dude Metal from EarthLol at everybody thinking that the cahracter in this song is asking for sex. It may be up to interpretation but the romantic tone of the song (and lyrics) doesn't really lead to that. I heard that argument several times and I find it a huge disservice to this great romantic tune.
@Ross - that sou ds like the composition process for Hole Hearted.
Lars from Hell@Diego - You are right.. He wants oral from his girl and is asking for her to give it to him and that would show her love more than telling him. Whoever said this song was played at their wedding in 1980 is a bonehead.
Esskayess from Dallas, TxI always thought this was a helluva slow-dancing or make-out song.
Ross from Brunswick, OhI hate to mess up everyone's perception of this song, but Nuno wrote the music while on the toilet. I read it in a Guitar World interview back when I was in high school. Apparently Washburn sent him the acoustic because they were sponsoring him at the time. He had to use the bathroom but really wanted to try out the new guitar so he took it with him. Gary added the lyrics later. Their first moderately successful song was Play With Me which was featured on the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack. It plays during the movie as if Beethoven were playing it on the keyboard in the mall chase scene.
Jer from Dallas, TxOK with all your thoughts on this song what can you do with this: On the day divorce is final and shortly after sharing this fact a life long close FRIEND chooses to play this song while you are alone together briefly and asks you to listen to it (knowing you are in a hurry to go somewhere) and then he leaves the room halfway through and comes back when the song ends........you are married and although you love the song after listening closely to the words this timing feels a "little awkward". This friend has shared other music selections with you recently but this is the first with lyrics rather than instrumental. Was the awkwardness likely just imagination or should you be reading anything into this? And if so, what? Didn't know how to react........so after blushing really didn't much.........what do you guys think? Just being overly sensitive?
Willie from Scottsdale, AzIt is borderline criminal that this band will be remembered for this song. Stuff like "Get the Funk Out," "Decadence dance" and many others outshadowed by this maudlin sendup. Cue Night Ranger and "Sister Christian."
Jayd from Nyc, Nyi didnt hear any stuffed up nose lines at end
Will from Upstate New York, NyHi Guys...
I want you to listen to the last 2 or 3 lines of this great song by Extreme. Listen to the lead singer's voice. HIS NOSE IS STUFFED UP!! I'm very serious. Listen to it yourself. He sounds like he needs a couple of puffs of some fast acting nasal spray! Leave your comments...I'm interested to see if you agree with me.
Vipa from Somewhere, FlTime Out, This song was played at my wedding reception in 1980!! This was the song my wife and I danced to. Who first wrote and sang this song??
Jeff from Boston, MaLike most Extreme songs, this song is intended to have both a Christian and a secular interpretation. In the Christian interpretation, the song is sung by Jesus asking his followers not to simply say that they believe in Him, but to show it through their deeds. Thus the line "If I took those words away" is not just a figure of speech coming from someone with the power to actually do it.
Cherone didn't like to talk about the Christian meanings of their songs in interviews because he didn't want Extreme to be marginalized as a Christian band.
Ken from Boston, MaI had seen Extreme perform this song for the bands very first live perfomance in a club called the LivingRoom in Rhode Island, 1989, almost 2 full years before it was released, Gary told the crowd "this song will go to #1 in the country, thanks to all of you here tonite!", Gary was right !!
Diego from Vancouver, BcAm I the only person that realizes this song is about a guy wanting sex from his girl? He wants her to SHOW him MORE than words. Hell if you dont believe me listen to the lyrics carefully. The last couple of verses should give it away if nothing else.
Now i'm not saying its a bad song, by all means it's a great song, just most people don't know what they are listening to.
Jammi from Gardnerville, Nvthis is my #1!!! nigga
Karen from Atlantic Beach, FlAn acoustic masterpiece.
Cristina from Long Beach, CaThis song is a song that you can learn all the words to and then you know sing your heart out and i remember we use to call my friend NUNA because she looked like him and had the long hair and everything this song is tight
Stan from Spartanburg, ScI have to say that Pornograffitti is one of the most outright killer guitar rock albums I've heard. Nuno's guitar assault is mind popping! Anybody that likes Van Halen style rock, it's great. Though it came out in 1990-91, it's 80's rock all the way. Every track is a guitar extravaganza, trust me! Thanks,
Rosse from K.lumpur, MalaysiaI love this song.. Every time i heard it i will remember my ex.. This is our fav song
Ressie from Medford, OrMy thoughts and opinions regarding this song have changed greatly over the years. My initial reaction was something like "Oh, joy to my heart. A man singing about how if his chick would sleep with him, THAT would be showing him love". Manipulative and sinister, if you look at it in that light. Years later, the lyricist interviewed with VH1 and said that it was acutally written from his then-girlfriend's perspective...he was a busy musician at the time, and that she felt that he was all talk (as actions often speak louder than words). Either way, it is a beautifully written and enduring song, as we are still talking about it today.
Ulya from Sliema, EuropeThis song got 2 Grammys, i think, at the same time, as the best rock song and as the best pop song.
Chen from Greenville, NcAccording to interviews with Nuno and Gary, this song (along with that whole "grunge" thing) pretty much ended Extreme's 1990's career. Due to the popularity of such a saccharine song, Extreme was pigeonholed as a ballad band and dismissed. This is odd since "More Than Words" is an oddity from the band's overall catalog.
Markus from Stockholm, Swedensorry... 1990...(check out music.com)
Markus from Stockholm, SwedenMore Than Words was actually released already in 1991...
Michael from Ottawa, CanadaHe says.. what would you do if I took those words away?? then you could not make things new... by saying I love you.... ie: I won't care if you say I love you anymore..... you broke me.
Michael from Ottawa, CanadaHe also challenges her..
What would you do if my heart was torn in two? If he really knew she loved him, he wouldn't be asking this.......he's got suspicion that she is actually unattached to his heart? He is asking her if she'd have an emotion attached to his heart breaking..
Michael from Ottawa, CanadaOk... OY, some of you have this comin....
No the song isn't about SEX.. Get YOUR mind out of the gutter pal.... This song isn't about any one in particular, it speaks to many people. It is a guy who loves a girl, and she tells him that she loves him too.. however, she doesn't show it. In the first part of the song, he tells her that he is fed up, and needs more than words.... then the second part starts. Now that I have tried... All you have to do.. He doesn't say it, but he is implying,... either you do.. or I'm outty girl.. cause I'm sick of being your boy toy..
Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumAlthough I don't know this group and the fact that my favorite songs are from the 60's, I love this one very much, it brings me joy and peace. If you really love someone and you show it, you don't have to say it any more, everything is in the eyes and in the touch.
Lori from Bountiful, UtI love this song! Probably because this is the first song my husband and I danced to. We met at a dance when he asked me to dance during this song.
Jen from Freddy BeachI love it
Alex from St Louis, Moextreme were serious rockers until they wrote this piece of crap... go get an exteme CD and dont listen to this song and you will be happy
Lily from New York, NyFrankie J covers this song and I think it's great. He gave it new life with the R & B sound. Even my daughter loves it. If you're not into R & B or Pop, I'm pretty sure you won't agree. And his spanish version is equally good!
Wes from Auburn, InContrary to popular belief, this song is NOT about a girl showing the guy she loves him (ie: sex). In an interview with Cherone, he says it's a song from his girlfriends perspective and she's asking him to do more than just say you love me. In other words, actions speak louder than words- and it's NOT about sex.
Chad from Andover, MnFrankie J recently did a cover of this, & oh how I hate it. His R&B/Hip-hop sound doesn't go with the song.
Nathan from Defiance, OhThis song made Vh1's list as worst songs ever.
Embee from Trenton, NjSigh. Here we go: Extreme was four guys. They switched drummers at one point but Pat, Gary, and Paul were in all forms of the band.
"The word "Extreme" was popular in the early '90s and used to describe edgy youth culture and dangerous sports" - Extreme, the band, released their first album in * 1989 *, the year they were also featured on the Bill & Ted's excellent adventure soundtrack.
Monica from Tallahassee, FlThere was a Spanish language version of this song. I can't find it anywhere though... Please post if you have any info. Thanks
Scott from Chicago, Ilreminds me of the sweet early beatles ballads big time..has p mccartney written all over it....
Phil from San Jose, CaDidn't this singer later go on to replace Sammy Hagar with Van Halen? (total flop!!)
Dave from Marieta, GaOne of the most famous "crossover" songs from a hard-rock/metal band that was finally able to get airplay of a song on "soft rock" or "lite FM" AOR stations. Another famous example would be Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". The "elevator-style" versions of both of these songs have been heard in department stores everywhere since the early 90's.
Abel from Buford, GaKels has it backwards. Gary wrote this song from the perspective of his girlfriend as she would to him. It's the same premise though.
Tristan from Sydney, AustraliaI'm pretty sure "To be with you" wasn't Extreme but Mr. Big, yet another hard-ish rock band that achieved its biggest hit with a ballad.
Kicia from Nyc, United StatesWestlife did a great cover of "More Than Words" they also did a cover of "To Be With You" ( another Extrime song ) on their album :"Turnaround"
Steve from St. Louis, MoOn an episode of VH1's "Bands Reunited", they were trying to reunite Extreme and had everyone on board except Nuno. Gary Cherone warned the VH1 crew: "DON'T PISS OFF NUNO!!" Later when they tracked Nuno down, he didn't want anything to do with the reunion and was angry when they came up to him ask him at a sidewalk cafe. I guess he has little bit of temper. It was pretty funny!
Ceydn from Mildura, AustraliaGreat song.
Nuno Bettencourt = Best guitarist ever.
Nate Goeman from Lake City, MnExtreme was not Just a duo of Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt. It was a 5 some featuring Pat Badger, Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone, Paul Geary, and Mike Mangini. But this song was only done by Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt.