The Song In Brief
Songwriters Paul Overstreet and Don Schiltz were about to pen their next song. After giving it several trials, strumming their guitar, the two remained fruitless. But their day didn’t actually end without any output as they were able to come up with something. That something is that country song we all know today as “When You Say Nothing At All”. Considering that the song was written out of an otherwise unproductive day, the two didn’t think of it as something special.
The American country music singer Keith Whitley instantly fell with the song after hearing it the first time. Thus, the singer insisted on keeping it. Despite Whitley’s strong desire to record the song though, he didn’t actually plan to make it a No. 1 hit, which happened anyway.
“When You Say Nothing At All” was released by RCA as a follow-up single to Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” recorded under the title song’s album. The first single was Whitley’s first chart-topper following three previous singles that entered the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart’s top 10. On September 10, 1988, the record single entered the Hot Country Singles chart and peaked at No. 61. The song showed progression as it rose to the top. Its chart reign lasted for two weeks. The song also became popular in Canada as it reached the No. 1 spot on the Canadian RPM Country chart. The track is Whitley’s second of five consecutive chart-topping singles. One of the song’s composers Schiltz confirmed to author Tom Roland Whitley’s heartfelt rendition of the song.
From Alison Krauss’ Vocals
In 1995, Alison Krauss’s had her first solo that entered the top 10 with her cover of the song. Together with her band Union Station, Krauss recorded the song for a tribute album to Whitley entitled Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album. The album’s label record released Krauss’s version to radio on that same year following several voluntary air plays. The same version was also featured in her other album Now That I Found You and it landed at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Tracks & Singles chart. In Addition, the singer has a commercial single that was enlisted on the same magazine’s Hot Country Singles Sales chart landing at No. 2. With Krauss’s angelic vocals, Whitley will surely love her rendition of the song as much as we do.
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