Kelly Clarkson Gives Moving Cover of “When You Say Nothing at All” by Keith Whitley

Kelly Clarkson honored the late great Keith Whitley with a cover of Whitley’s classic “When You Say Nothing at All.” Clarkson put her own spin on the song in a moving fashion, delivering an emotional performance.

Videos by American Songwriter

While no one will ever replace Whitley at the mic, Clarkson made many listeners a fan of her rendition. Taking to the comment section on YouTube, they praised the singer for honoring Whitley’s memory with the song.

Fans Can’t Get Enough of Kelly Clarkson’s Keith Whitley Cover

One person wrote, “That is my favorite song. I’d love to hear Kelly do the whole song. she sang this piece so beautifully.”

Another commented, “Seriously, what can she not sing? She is very underrated for her talent. She does covers and sings it better often! So beautiful and gifted!”

Still, another wrote, “Literally nothing Kelly Clarkson can’t sing. She knocks every single song right outta the park. One of my favorite artists.”

Keith Whitley’s Legacy Lives On

Whitley passed away in 1989 just three weeks before the singer would have joined the Grand Ole Opry. Last year, the organization honored the late singer by presenting Whitley’s widow Lorrie Morgan with a plaque they would have offered Whitley.

“Keith was a magical, monumental artist,” Morgan said via USA TODAY. “He changed people’s thoughts about country music because he was so cool and [brought a] whole new sound.”

As for the origins of “When You Say Nothing at All,” songwriter Paul Overstreet took Songfacts behind the scenes for how he got Whitley to record it. It turns out that Overstreet just randomly ran into Whitley one day.

He told the outlet, “But it was such a fun song to write with the melody. I’d run into Keith Whitley at the airport. He was coming out, I was coming in, and we just stopped and talked for a while. He goes, ‘Man, would you write a song for me?’ I said, ‘Everybody wants to write you a song.’ He was on his way up like a rocket ship.

Overstreet continued, “So the first place we took the song was to him. Garth Fundis2 was a friend of mine, and Garth loved the song. They cut it, and then 10 years after Keith died, they did a tribute album and Alison Krauss chose that song to sing. When I got a copy of it, they said, ‘This is Alison’s version. It’s not as good as Keith’s.’ But when I put it on, all the hair stood up all over my body. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me!?’ She sang it great. And because of her version, they used it in the movie Notting Hill. Ronan Keating of Boyzone sang it in that. In 2020, Ronan did a version and had Alison Krauss sing on it with him.”

[Photo via The Kelly Clarkson Show on YouTube]

Leave a Reply

Where Are They Now? The Youngest Winner in ‘The Voice’ History, Brynn Cartelli of Team Kelly Clarkson