When You Say Nothing At All

Album: Ronan (1999)
Charted: 1
Play Video

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

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.

Harry Shearer

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.

The End Of The Rock Era

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo Lyric

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo LyricMusic Quiz

In this quiz, spot the artist who put Romeo into a song lyric.

Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds

Jim McCarty of The YardbirdsSongwriter Interviews

The Yardbirds drummer explains how they created their sound and talks about working with their famous guitarists.

Harold Brown of War

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.