Ronan Keating 1999

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘When You Say Nothing At All’

The song “When You Say Nothing At All” was originally recorded in 1988 by Keith Whitley.

by Christopher Smith

“When You Say Nothing At All” was written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schiltz for American Country singer Keith Whitley (1954-1989) in 1988, who took it to the top of the US Country songs chart, selling just under 600,000 copies there. It was the second of five consecutive number one singles for Whitley, who died of alcohol poisoning in May 1989, shortly after his third one.

In 1995 another country singer Alison Krauss recorded the song for a tribute album. Such was the popularity of her version, it was released as a single and made its way to No.3 on the Country songs chart. Unlike Whitley’s original, Krauss’ version entered the US singles chart and reached No.53, selling 470,000 copies. It ‘scratched’ the UK singles chart at No.91.

Four years later the song was revived again, this time by Irish boy group Boyzone singer Ronan Keating for the soundtrack of a new film called ‘Notting Hill’, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The film was a huge success taking $364m ($559m in today’s money) at the box office and saw the release of the track as Ronan’s debut solo single. It topped the charts in his home country and in the UK, where it has sold over 600,000 copies. The song had greater global success charting top ten across all of Europe, in Australia and in New Zealand.

But which is best? KEITH’s original, ALISON’s 1995 version or RONAN KEATING?

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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