Album: Tragic Kingdom (1995)
Charted: 16 18
Play Video


  • This song was written by Gwen Stefani and her bandmate Tony Kanal. It's about a girl who is frustrated because an annoying guy keeps calling her. Despite her efforts to blow him off, he keeps calling, meaning she now has to screen her phone calls.

    Stefani and Kanal were a couple for seven years, and many of the songs on the Tragic Kingdom album deal with their breakup. This one, though, is not about Kanal.
  • There was a real caller who inspired this song. "I always had a boyfriend, so I never had to deal with guys trying to go out with me," Stefani explained in a video No Doubt posted. "But there was this one guy and he used to call me in the middle of the night and try to sing me poetry on the phone or play acoustic guitar for 15 minutes. I didn't know how to get off the phone. Giving this guy my number was the biggest regret of my life."

    She says the guy doesn't know the song is about him, and she and Kanal are the only ones who know his identity.
  • With the refrain, "Leave a message and I'll call you back," this became a popular song for people to leave as a message on their answering machines.
  • Blondie sang about a stalker on "One Way Or Another," but it was one of their other songs that inspired this one, at least musically.

    According to Tony Kanal, he and Stefani tried to do something like Blondie's cover of "The Tide Is High," where they used different tempos going from the intro to the main part of the song.
  • In America, "Just A Girl" was the only Tragic Kingdom track sold as a single, so if you wanted "Spiderwebs," you had to buy the album. The song was promoted through radio airplay and MTV, and made #18 on the Billboard Airplay chart(songs not sold as singles were ineligible for the Hot 100). The next promotional single was the big hit: "Don't Speak," which reached #1 on the Airplay chart in December 1996 and left "no doubt" about the band's prospects. Their success was a long time coming: They formed in 1986 and had been slogging it out playing clubs for years.
  • Directed by Marcus Nispel, the video shows the band performing the song at a stuffy wedding reception that turns chaotic.
  • No Doubt performed this at the Grammy Awards in 1997, where they were nominated for Best Rock Album and Best New Artist (even though their first album was released in 1992). They didn't win either award: Sheryl Crow took Best Rock Album and LeAnn Rimes won for Best New Artist.

Comments: 2

  • Lilly from Chicago, IlIn high school I used this song as my voicemail...pretty nice...
  • Lilly from Chicago, IlThe beginning of this song is similar to "The Tide is High" by Blondie, which is also reggae-influenced.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rick Astley

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

The Punk Photography of Chris Stein

The Punk Photography of Chris SteinSong Writing

Chris Stein of Blondie shares photos and stories from his book about the New York City punk scene.


HardySongwriter Interviews

The country hitmaker talks about his debut album, A Rock, and how a nursery rhyme inspired his hit single "One Beer."

Bible Lyrics

Bible LyricsMusic Quiz

Rockers, rappers and pop stars have been known to quote the Bible in their songs. See if you match the artist to the biblical lyric.