“No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age

There are moments in “No One Knows” when it sorta feels like us listeners can actually figure out what’s on. For instance, the first verse kinda reads like the vocalist is criticizing the powers-that-be or mainstream authority figures.  Then, the chorus comes off as if it is romantic in nature. But afterwards, by the time the second verse rolls around, it’s like good luck trying to put all of this together. And then the subsequent outro, which is rendered in Spanish and serves in part as a shoutout to Queen of the Stone Age, doesn’t make matters any easier in the grand scheme of things.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Queens of the Stone Age's No One Knows at Lyrics.org.

But of course with this song being a notable hit and all, there have been some analysts who courageously tried to make sense of it. But Josh Homme, who sang and co-composed the track, has clarified, in his own words, that the song is such that no one actually knows what it is about – even, it would appear, including himself. So we can conclude by saying that this is a song which was designed more for listening pleasure than trying to get some type of a message across.

lyrics of "No One Knows"

Release Date of “No One Knows”

“No One Knows” was launched as a single on November 26 of 2002. It has a total runtime of 4 minutes and 38 seconds and appears as the 3rd track on the band’s “Songs for the Deaf” album.


“No One Knows” was penned by two members of Queens of the Stone Age, namely Mark Lanegan and Josh Homme.

The song was produced by Homme and A-list American record producer, Eric Valentine.

Achievements of “No One Knows”

“No One Knows” became the band’s first single to reach number 1 in America (i.e. the Billboard Hot 100 chart). In the UK, it peaked at No. 14 on the OCC.

It was No. 18 on the 2011 list, “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years” by NME. On their 2014 list, “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, it was placed at the 99th position.

At the 45th edition of the annual Grammy Awards held in 2003, the song earned a “Best Hard Rock Performance” nomination. It was unfortunately bested by Foo Fighters’ “All My Life“.


Several versions of the song have been performed by different acts over the years. Below are some notable artists who have released their versions of the song.

  • Teenage Mutants and KANT (2013)
  • UNKLE (2003)
  • Vitamin String Quartet (2004)
  • The Section Quartet (2004)
  • SAFIA (2019)
  • Off the Beat (2003)

Memorable Live Performances of “No One Knows”

 On 9th September, 2002 at the “Live on the Late Show with David Letterman”.

 28th June, 2002 at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury.

Performed in 2002 on talk show “Later…with Jools Holland” on BBC Two.

On 23rd January, 2003, they performed an acoustic version of the song on Australia’s Channel V.

Oxegen Festival in Ireland on 9th July, 2005. Foo Fighters and Green Day were the headline performances.

Reading Festival on 26th August, 2005. Incubus, The Killers, and Foo Fighters were some of the artists that performed at the festival.

BBC Glastonbury Festival in June 2011. They shared the stage with Kaiser Chiefs, Eels, TV On The Radio and many more.

Chile’s music festival, Lallapalooza in April 2013. Other acts included Pearl Jam, Kaiser Chiefs and Steve Aoki.

In 2015 at Rock in Rio Brazil.

Belgium’s largest music festival, Rock Werchter in July 2018.

At the Montreux Jazz Festival held in Switzerland on 8th July, 2018. Artists’ lineup included Aloe Blacc, Iggy Pop and Rag’N’Bone Man.

Queen of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the Deaf” Album

“Songs for the Deaf” was released on the 27th of August, 2002 as Queens of the Stone Age’s 3rd studio album.  

Recording took place in the following recording studios in California:

  • The Site Recording
  • Barefoot Studios
  • Conway Recording Studios

Josh Homme, a founding member of the band, joined hands with American producers, Adam Kasper and Eric Valentine in producing the album.

Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records was responsible for its official release.

“Songs for the Deaf” became the band’s breakthrough album, earning several accolades from music publications, music critics and the likes. NME, in 2009, placed it at No. 15 on their “The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade” list. That same year, it was placed at No. 134 on the list, “The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s” by Pitchfork.

By January of 2003, the album had sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, becoming the band’s first RIAA gold certified album. Information from Nielsen Soundscan as at June of 2007 revealed, the album had recorded sales of an estimated 1,186,000 in the US alone. In the UK, it has been certified 2x platinum by the BPI while Canada’s Music Canada, Norway’s IFPI as well as Australia’s ARIA have all awarded it a platinum certification.

“Songs for the Deaf” peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 in the US and No. 4 on the UK’s OCC. It made appearances on top-10s in other parts of the world, including:

  • Scotland – 4
  • Norway – 2
  • Germany – 9
  • Belgium – 9
  • Australia – 7
No One Knows

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