"No One Knows" is a song by American rock band Queens of the Stone Age written by band members Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan. It was the first single and second track from their third album, Songs for the Deaf, and was released on November 26, 2002.[1] "No One Knows" was a chart success, becoming the band's only single to top the US Modern Rock charts. The song was also critically acclaimed, receiving a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 2003 Grammy Awards.


 [hide*1 Background and writing

Background and writing[edit]Edit

According to Homme, "No One Knows" existed before the recording sessions for Songs for the Deaf:

We have patience with music, a year or five years down the road it may kind of rewrite itself and become what it's supposed to be. There's two songs on this record that are over five years old, you know? 'God is the Radio' and 'No One Knows'.[2]

The main guitar riff of the song originally appeared on the track "Cold Sore Superstars" from Can You See Under My Thumb? There You Are, the eighth volume of Homme side-project The Desert Sessions.[3] Recording for Songs for the Deaf began in March 2002 at three studios across California. Though the liner notes credit Homme and Eric Valentine with producing the majority of the album – including "No One Knows" – Homme credits Valentine with merely recording the beginning of the album for contractual reasons.[4]


The critical response to "No One Knows" was generally positive. In The Guardian review of Songs for the Deaf, Dave Simpson said "No One Knows has killer riffs to spare".[5] Playlouder were similarly enthused, calling the song "soulful, like the last gasp of the hero in an old western".[6] Eric Carr of Pitchfork Media called it an "easy groove" and "four-to-the-floor slime of the highest quality".[7]

"No One Knows" was awarded the number one position on Australian national radio station Triple J's annual Hottest 100 2002, with four other Queens of the Stone Age tracks also charting.[8]The March 2005 edition of Q magazine placed it at number 70 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, saying of the song, "Possibly the only full-on, legs akimbo guitar great to be based around a rhythm that goes oompah-oompah, here Josh Homme joined the ranks of the immortal."[9] In September 2006, it was placed at number 13 on NME's list of the 50 Greatest Tracks Of The Decade.[10] Rolling Stone placed "No One Knows" at number 97 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time, saying of the track, "QOTSA guitarist and overall mastermind Josh Homme found the sweet spot between hooky hard rock and the pulverizing metal he'd grown up playing."[11] The song was listed at number eleven on the 2002 Pazz & Jop list, a survey of several hundred music critics conducted by Robert Christgau.[12]

"No One Knows" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 2003 Grammys and was the band's first, but they lost the award to Foo Fighters for "All My Life,[13] which was also credited to Dave Grohl.

In 2011, NME placed it at number 18 on its list, "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[14] In 2013, "BBC 6 Music" placed it at number 16 on its "6 music's greatest hits" voted for by over 100,000 listeners.[15] To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its "Hottest 100" poll, Australian radio station Triple J ran a "Hottest 100 of the last 20 years" poll in June 2013. Songs that were released between 1994 and 2012 were eligible for the poll and "No One Knows" was voted into eleventh position.[16][17]

Chart performance[edit]Edit

"No One Knows" was released as a single on November 26, 2002 and became the most successful single from Songs for the Deaf. The song's peak placings of number one, number five and number 51 on the US Modern RockUS Mainstream Rock (where it lasted for twenty-eight weeks) and the Billboard Hot 100 charts respectively remain the highest of the band's career.[18] "No One Knows" is also the band's highest charting single on the Dutch Singles Chart (where it reached number 39) and on[19] the Irish Singles Chart, (where it peaked at number 26).[20] It reached number 15 on the UK Singles Chart.[21]

Music video[edit]Edit

[1][2]Lanegan and the deer

The music video for "No One Knows" was directed by Dean Karr and Michel Gondry;[22] Gondry filmed the first half on June 26 and 27, 2002, with Karr taking over on July 15.[23] Josh Homme has said Gondry was chosen because he "did all those videos for Björk and we're huge fans of Björk, so we're excited".[24]

The video is split into two sections and switches between them throughout. The first has band members Homme, Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan driving a truck at night, whereupon they hit a deer. When they get out to inspect, the deer proceeds to attack them before going on a rampage in their International Harvester Scout. The second section of the video is of Homme, Oliveri,Troy Van Leeuwen and Dave Grohl performing the song against a black background.

"No One Knows" received heavy rotation on music video channels culminating in a nomination for the MTV2 Award at 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, where it lost to AFI for "Girl's Not Grey".[25]

Subsequent recordings[edit]Edit

"No One Knows" has been covered by numerous groups, including The Section Quartet on their 2007 album, Fuzzbox,[26] and Franco Saint de Bakker,[27] with the song appearing on their 2004 release Live At The Ancienne Belgique.[28]It was also covered by Razorlight as part of Jo Whiley's Live Lounge Tour on September 26, 2008.[29] The Divine Comedy often covered "No One Knows" at live shows and one such performance appears on their 2004 DVD, Live At The Palladium.[30] Mark Ronson also covered the song as a B-side to his single "Stop Me", and it later charted in the UK by itself.[31]

The song was the first Queens of the Stone Age track to be remixed by British musical outfit Unkle. The "No One Knows" remix appeared as a B-Side on the follow-up single, "Go with the Flow" as well as the EP Stone Age Complication.[32][33]

In popular culture[edit]Edit

Track listing[edit]Edit

Germany CD, UK Release CD1
  1. "No One Knows" (Josh HommeNick OliveriMark Lanegan)
  2. "A Song for the Dead" [live from The Mean Fiddler] (Homme, Lanegan)
  3. "Avon" [live from The Mean Fiddler] (Homme)
  4. "No One Knows" [multimedia track] (Homme, Lanegan)
UK Release CD2
  1. "No One Knows" (Homme, Lanegan)
  2. "Gonna Leave You" [Spanish Version] (Homme, Nick Oliveri)
  3. "Tension Head" [live from The Mean Fiddler] (Homme, Oliveri)
European 7"
  1. "No One Knows" (Homme, Lanegan)
  2. "Tension Head" [live from The Mean Fiddler] (Homme, Oliveri)


  • Josh Homme - vocals, guitar
  • Dave Grohl - drums
  • Nick Oliveri - bass
  • Mark Lanegan - backing vocals


Chart (2002–03) Peak


Dutch Singles Chart[19] 39
Irish Singles Chart[20] 26
UK Singles Chart[21] 15
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 51
US Hot Modern Rock Tracks[18] 1
US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[18] 5


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 200,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone

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