Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want to Talk About It

Rod Stewart has gone through many phases of his career. He started off as a rocker and his voice was one of the best around in an era of great voices in the late 60s and early 70s. I liked the Faces era and his early solo acoustic-based songs a lot. His Mercury albums are for the most part very good.

This song was on the B side of the UK single of The First Cut Is The Deepest in 1977 and it peaked at #1 in the UK…In America, it wasn’t released until 1979 and it peaked at #46 in the Billboard 100 in 1980. I didn’t’ hear the song until I got the Greatest Hits.

Danny Whitten wrote this song while he was in Crazy Horse.  Danny was a creative force in the group as their rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. Whitten was battling a heroin addiction at the time and died a year later when on November 18, 1972 he overdosed and died. Crazy Horse released a self-titled album with this song included.

Rod Stewart recorded this song for his 1975 album Atlantic Crossing, which was produced by Tom Dowd.

One interesting note…

The Sex Pistols topped the charts of most major British music publications with “God Save The Queen,” which mocked the monarchy and the celebrations. The Sex Pistols’ song suspiciously stalled at #2 on the official chart, placing behind Rod Stewart’s version of “I Don’t Want To Talk About It.” There were many accusations that the chart was rigged to avoid embarrassment in the week of the jubilee.

From Songfacts

Nils Lofgren, who was also in Crazy Horse, recalls in the book 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: “Danny was a very soulful man and a good man and he was the one who got me in Crazy Horse. I loved his song, ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It,’ and I think it is one of the greatest ballads ever. It has a very haunting lyric and put two lines into the song because Danny was so ill when he recorded it. He could still sing and play but he wasn’t bothered with much else. We said, ‘Danny, we’ve got to do this song, it’s a great song’ and he said, ‘It needs a second verse’ and this went on for months. He never could get it together and then we were in the studio and got in an argument, and he said, ‘Okay, well, one of you write it.’ I left the studio and wrote a couple of lines quickly and I said,’What about these” and he said, ‘Fine, let’s do it’. Danny and I sat opposite each other with acoustic guitars and Ry Cooder was playing slide on his lap and it came out beautifully.”

The Crazy Horse album was an assemblage of top-tier musicians and producers. Along with Danny Whitten and Nils Lofgren, Jack Nitzsche, Ry Cooder, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina played on it, and it was produced by Nitzsche and Bruce Botnick.

It enjoyed just modest sales, but was adored by critics, including John Mendelsohn, who called this song an “unexaggerably lovely ballad” in his Rolling Stone review.

Whitten never got to perform the song with Crazy Horse, as his addiction pushed him out of the group. He was replaced by George Whitsell, who played on the group’s next album, Loose, released in 1972. Whitten picked up again with Neil Young’s band, but again his addiction led to his dismissal.

However, at the Christmas concerts Stewart gave in London that year, he was taken aback when his fans started singing the chorus to “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” along with him – continuing even when he dropped out to watch them. Because of their obvious enthusiasm for this song, Stewart’s label decided to issue it as his next single. Since so many of Rod’s followers already had Atlantic Crossing, a track from Night On The Town, “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” was included on the flip side and issues as a double-A side disc. The single went to #1 for four weeks in the UK.

In 1988 the duo Everything But The Girl recorded a cover version which bought them their first UK Top 10 hit when it climbed to #3.

They recorded the song at a time when they were frustrated with the lack of success from their first three albums and the constant criticism revolving around their change of sound with every record. Ben Watt of the duo explained to Q in 1996 that covering this song was in response to never being able to please everyone, stating: “When we did ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It,’ we were almost trying to say, ‘F–k you then! We’ll do a cover version, that’s what you really meant.'” Watt angrily continued, “And of course it went to #3, and completely backfired again!”

EBTG vocalist Tracey Thorn echoed Watt’s thoughts in 2012 to The Quietus when asked about the annoyance of the song being added to the beginning of their album Idlewild when it became an unexpected success. Said Thorn: “Obviously the trouble with having a hit with something like a cover of a ballad, you attract a whole new set of listeners. Which is great, but on the other hand they start to pigeonhole you a little bit, and there was a period around that time where for a few years after where we did pick up an audience that began to get older and expect certain things from us.”

Stewart sang this song as a duet in his concert One Night Only! Live at Royal Albert Hall, with Amy Belle. Stewart told the audience, “A week ago this girl was busking the streets of Glasgow,” and he felt that it was his right to bring her into the limelight because “I was discovered busking at a train stop.”

Nils Lofgren recorded a new version of this song for his 2015 solo album UK2015 Face the Music Tour.

 

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

I can tell by your eyes
That you’ve probably been cryin’ forever
And the stars in the sky
Don’t mean nothin’ to you, they’re a mirror

I don’t wanna talk about it
How you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart?
Whoa, heart

If I stand all alone
Will the shadow hide the color of my heart?
Blue for the tears, black for the night’s fear, heart
And the stars don’t mean nothin’ to you, they’re a mirror

I don’t wanna talk about it
How you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart?
Whoa, heart, my heart, whoa, heart

I don’t wanna talk about it
How you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart?
Whoa, heart, my heart, whoa, heart
My heart, whoa, heart, my heart, whoa, heart

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

46 thoughts on “Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want to Talk About It”

      1. Only a few of the older ones keep their voice intact…usually the less wild ones like Rod and Paul McCartney…their voices still sound very close to what they were which is amazing at their age.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t forget Roger Daltry or Steven Tyler. They both still have their voices too. I know Steven Tyler’s dad was a musician too; I think I jazz pianist, but I am not sure. So even though he was a true wild child, he is very disciplined when it comes to keeping his voice in tact. Roger Daltry and the WHO make a statement before every concert that smoking is not allowed at all, to help preserve Roger’s voice. If anything is lit up, the concert stops immediately, with no refunds.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes I saw Roger a few years ago in Nashville and in 1989 in Atlanta…he sounded close to the same. He was the one member to behave while the others went wild…his vocals are not easy either.
        I’m impressed Tyler still has his…I will admit.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This song will always remind me of Baden, Austria. My boyfriend at the time had this song on a compilation CD, and it was the only good song on it. He spoke little English, and my German wasn’t perfect, but somehow we lived together , until I had to leave.

    Listening to this now makes me cry, thinking about how travel may never feel so carefree again in the future.
    xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Eden I didn’t want to make you cry!
      It reminds me of a few failed relationships. That is why I related to it so much.

      It’s going to be a while but hopefully we will get there. Too much money is being tied up…there will be a vaccine…hopefully one that doesn’t make us grow a new arm or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice tune! While I dig Rod Stewart’s raspy voice, I’m primarily drawn to his early period when he was a “true rocker.”

    The music he did with the Faces and his first three solo albums are my favorites, as well as the Jeff Beck albums “Truth” and “Beck-Ola”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the Faces of course and yes those acoustically grounded albums with Mercury. Every Picture Tells A Story is probably the ultimate Rod song to me. His voice is everywhere.
      I wish he would have saved some of those songs for the Faces…heck they played on most of them anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good song. I had no idea it was written by Neil’s friend, Whitten.
    I liked earl y Rod, but actually prefer his output from that era (about ’75-82 or so)… his ‘Great american songbook’ phase didn’t do much for me though, but it sure helped keep his name out there.

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  4. It was hit or miss for me with Rod. The last album I bought off his was Out of Order from 88 I think thats what its called. Rod got Andy Taylor on guitar for a few tracks so that piqued my interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I liked him when he was a rocker in the early seventies with the Faces and his early solo stuff like Maggie May….I saw him in the 80s…great show and his voice was top form.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When he released “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” he lost me for a while. He did release some good stuff in the eighties. I still liked his early seventies Every Picture Tells a Story and Maggie May music…and most of all Faces songs.

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      1. Hmmm…that is a good thing!
        No actually I wouldn’t mind one in my music room but they were around way before disco…disco got the credit.
        I did like his eighties stuff like Young Turks and Tonight I’m Yours

        Like

      2. It’s funny about Rod and Keith Moon. Rod liked Kim Kerrigan a lot but she ended up marrying Keith when they were teenagers…

        Later on Rod liked Annette Walter-Lax…this was after Kim and Keith were divorced….again Annette went off with Keith.

        Pretty good when you can beat Rod the Mod out of two women…they were gorgeous of course.

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      3. I’ve read about Kim (Patsy) changing her name to not be confused with Patti Boyd. And, when she split with Moon, got with Rod’s bandmate McLagan. She died in Austin in 2006 when I was living in Texas. I remember the announcement but, didn’t know who she was.

        I know next to nothing about Annette but, Moon was a knee-walking nightmare.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Annette was awesome…she had patience. I was about to buy something from Kim’s product line…I forgot what it was and then I found out she died in a traffic accident.

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    1. This was on the bring of the infamous “Do You Think I’m Sexy” that came in 79….ROD the mod should have stuck around with the Faces. I do like his early solo stuff…most of it had the Faces playing on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great origin story on the song. Didn’t realize Crazy Horse wasn’t always fronted by Neil. Rod’s done a lot of covers and I’m used to hearing him sing this one. Never heard the original before. It’s a beautiful and romantic song. I don’t think it has found the ideal voice(s) to sing it yet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Like Neil sings, “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done…. every junkie’s like a setting sun” only a sun that does not rise in the morning 😦 Imagine a world where musical and other sensitive artistic geniuses aren’t driven to mind-numbing killing substances just in order to keep going another day.

        Liked by 1 person

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