No One Is to Blame

Album: Dream Into Action (1985)
Charted: 16 4

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about being attracted to people who you can't be with. In our interview with Howard Jones, it was revealed how the idea for the song came about: "Well, I think we can all relate to the main theme of the song. But I was in San Francisco, and I was doing a promotion with the local record company guy, and we were crossing the street to go to the radio station, and he said to me, 'Howard, what do you think of all the amazing women here in San Francisco?' And I said, 'Yeah, they're great, they're fantastic.' And he said, 'Well, you can look at the menu, but you don't have to eat.' And I've never actually heard anybody say that before. And so that was it, a good spark for a huge idea coming for a song."
  • There are two versions of this song, the first of which appears on Howard Jones' 1985 LP, Dream Into Action. Jones later teamed up with Phil Collins to re-record the track. Collins added backing vocals, drum work and produced the song. The finished product was made available on Jones' 1986 LP, One to One. In our interview with Jones, it was revealed fans prefer the first version: "It was originally on the Dream Into Action album, and it's quite stripped down. And I always thought I could probably get more out of the song. It was suggested I work with Phil, and I'd worked with Phil on the Prince's Trust concerts here in England. And I've been in a band and so I knew Phil. So it was really great working with him. But I'll tell you what, the fans all like the original version best." Jones explained to us why he thinks fans prefer the original: "I think it's because it's less slick and it's got more emotion in it. Personally, I prefer the Phil Collins version. But I understand why they like the first one. On this tour when we're playing the song, I play the original version. I don't do the second one."
  • This became Jones' biggest hit in America, but when he played it for the head of his record company, it got a chilly reception. "I think it's a B-side," Jones said the executive told him.

    Jones says this experience taught him to believe in his own work and not worry so much about how others perceived him or his work.
  • After touring with Jones in 2018, Rachael Sage released a string-laden cover of this song. Jones said he was "thrilled" with her rendition.

Comments: 5

  • Stu from Upper Hutt, NzlThis song helped ME when I faced a very difficult time, after a strange result from a sporting event - I was in college, the last year where sports was compulsory. I ran a race and WON! But the teacher at the finish line didn't like that result, so we ran again. So I like (and can relate to) the part of the song that is "you're the fastest runner, but you're not allowed to win", that literally happened to me. I came to terms with it, six years later, when I heard this song. It made sense then.
  • Angus from Ottawa, CanadaIt's funny, but I discovered this on a tape released by Amnesty International. It had tracks on it that AI would have been interested in, like Sting's Strange Fruit and Peter Gabriel's Biko, but why this one is less obvious.
  • Peter Steele from Medicine Hat Ab, AbCarrie, I agree! This is my number one favorite song of the 1980's..... I play this in my car over and over when I am driving...I love the spicy little drum beat at the beginning of each stanza and the piano finale..."last piece of the puzzle but you just can't make it fit" FABULOUS LINE! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SONG, IT'S MY NUMBER 3 SONG OF ALL TIME
  • Tim from Laguna Beach, CaI totally agree. This is a great song. The piano "lick" after the last "...no one is to blame" of the chorus speaks to the heart as much as the lyrics do. I was always a big fan of "HoJo"
  • Carrie from Roanoke, VaI just love this song. I can't believe no one has commented on it! The instrumentals are beautiful, and the lyrics are spot on! They really speak to the issue of being interested in someone else besides your romantic partner. "You can feel the punishment but you can't commit the sin" refers to the guilt we experience when we're tempted by other people. This has become my theme song.
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