A Decade Of Poptastic No.1s!

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

22nd February 1997

Seeing the video for this on Top of the Pops was my first glimpse of the young lady who would eventually become one of the most important pop stars of recent years, Miss Gwen Stefani! As great as this single is, it certainly showed no signs of being sung by someone who’d go on to make Love.Angel.Music.Baby. In fact it doesn’t sound very typical of No Doubt’s musical output at all, but without it there would quite possibly be no solo Gwen – No Doubt might never have been well known enough to get her a solo deal, but of course it turned out when she wanted one it was there in a flash and her profile has only grown since.

I think the main reason Don’t Speak was so popular was it’s broad appeal – they already had a reputation among younger music fans as a cool band, but this song was the first a lot of more casual music buyers knew of them, and it appealed to the fans of love/break-up songs as well, who don’t care who is singing it if it sounds this good. Her unusual voice, the originality of the song (there may be others that sound like it but none that I can think of have done anywhere near as well) and the combination of ballad and rock instruments all came together to make it the slushy song it was cool to like and the rock song that wouldn’t scare your grandma.

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