Don't Know Much

Album: Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind (1989)
Charted: 2 2

Songfacts®:

  • The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this with Tom Snow, who is known for his work on music for movies - he wrote the score for Footloose and also the music for the song "Let's Hear It For The Boy," which was used in the movie. The song first appeared on Mann's self-titled album in 1980. Bill Medley recorded it in 1981, and Bette Midler released a version called "All I Need To Know" in 1983.
  • Ronstadt's version is a duet with Aaron Neville. They met at the 1984 World's Fair when both were performing there and realized their mutual admiration. When they decided to work together, they picked this song, which was brought to their attention by producer Steve Tyrell.
  • Peter Asher, who was Ronstadt's manager, produced this track. He had a hit called "A World Without Love" as part of the duo Peter & Gordon in 1964. His sister Jane was Paul McCartney's girlfriend.
  • This won a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance by a Pop Group or Duo. Ronstadt and Neville would team up for another Grammy-winning song, "All My Life," which earned the same prize in 1990. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joe - Winter Haven, FL
  • Barry Mann recorded a new version for his 2000 album Soul & Inspiration.
  • Neville and Ronstadt portray in the song's music video a couple still in love in their middle age. Neville told Mojo magazine February 2013 that despite the rumors, he and Ronstadt were no more than friends. He said: "The guy who directed called us in a room and said, 'Look - if y'all ain't gonna make this thing believable, there ain't no sense in doin' it.' Linda's a pretty woman - it wasn't hard to portray that. But they had all kinda stupid rumors out. None of 'em were true 'cos we're friends. We respected each other. But I look at the video and it looks kinda suspect (laughs)."
  • Linda Ronstadt told The Guardian that she's always loved Aaron Neville's singing. "He has a certain singing style related to French baroque opera, which got imported into the American South in the 18th century," she explained. "His falsetto is very evocative of that, and that – the Creole tradition – was interesting to me."

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1989 {December 17th} "Don't Know Much" by Aaron Neville with Linda Ronstadt peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins...
    And on October 22nd, 1989 Don't Know Much" reached #1 {for 5 weeks} on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1966 and 1995 the Aaron Neville had nine records on the Top 100 chart, three made the Top 10 with his two biggest hits both peaking at #2, "Tell It Like It Is" for 1 week in January of 1967 and the above "Don't Know Much" {with Linda Ronstadt}...
    Besides "Tell It Like It Is" and "Don't Know Much", his third Top 10 record was "Everybody Plays The Fool", which peaked at #8 {for 1 week} in October of 1991...
    Three of his nine charted records were duets with Linda Ronstadt, the above "Don't Know Much", "All My Life" {#11 in 1990}, and "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" {#78 in 1990}...
    Aaron Joseph Neville will celebrate his 80th birthday next month on January 24th, 2021...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Billboard's Top 10 on December 17th, 1989:
    At #3. We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel
    #4. "Rhythm Nation" by Janet Jackson
    #5. "With Every Beat of My Heart" by Taylor Dayne
    #6. "Back To Life" by Soul II Soul
    #7. "Pump Up The Jam" by Technotronic
    #8. "Just Like Jesse James" by Cher
    #9. "This One's For The Children" by New Kids On The Block
    #10. "Living In Sin" by Bon Jovi
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 9th 1981, Bill Medley performed "Don't Know Much" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    "Don't Know Much" had entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on March 22nd, 1981 at position #90, two weeks later on April 4th, 1981 it would peak at #88 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for four weeks...
    William Thomas Medley will celebrate his 75th birthday in four months on September 19th {2015}.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhLinda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville duet is pure pureness! Completely heavenly. It just sends you! Poetry in motion, or at least in sound. This is what angels sound like.
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