When You Say Nothing At All

Album: Ronan (1999)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • This was originally recorded by Country artist Keith Whitley in 1987.It was written by two leading country songwriters, Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. The latter also wrote and previously recorded Kenny Rogers' American #1, "The Gambler."
  • When Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz were originally not too impressed with this song, but when they played it to Keith Whitley, he told them that they had written a classic and it became the second of 5 consecutive US Country #1s for Whitley, the last one posthumous - Whitley died at age 34. It was a Country hit a second time in 1995 for Alison Krauss & Union Station, but neither version reached the UK chart.
  • Richard Curtis wanted a key song for his new film Notting Hill. He suggested this song to Ronan Keating, who was then still with the Irish boy band Boyzone. According to 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, Ronan Keating said, "As soon as he mentioned the title, I was hooked."
  • This song is popular at christenings, marriages and funerals. It was also a #1 in Ronan Keating's native Ireland.

Comments: 2

  • Martyn from Grimsby, United StatesNice story about Keith Whitley, but it was written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. And there's a wondereful recording of the song by Alisn Krauss.
  • Adaly from Laredo, TxHe also re-recorded this song with a latin singer Paulina Rubio. i like the song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

Country Song Titles

Country Song TitlesFact or Fiction

Country songs with titles so bizarre they can't possibly be real... or can they?

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

Alan Merrill of The Arrows

Alan Merrill of The ArrowsSongwriter Interviews

In her days with The Runaways, Joan Jett saw The Arrows perform "I Love Rock And Roll," which Alan Merrill co-wrote - that story and much more from this glam rock pioneer.

How The Beatles Crafted Killer Choruses

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.