Gagapedia
Advertisement
Gagapedia

"Speechless" is song written and performed by Lady Gaga on her third album, The Fame Monster (2009). The song was written by Gaga to convince her father, Joseph Germanotta, to undergo open-heart surgery, in order to repair his malfunctioning aortic valve, and as a reminder for her younger fans to appreciate their parents. "Speechless" is described as Gaga's "Fear of Death Monster" (MTV, 2009)

"Speechless" debuted at the 30th anniversary celebration for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on November 14, 2009 with the Bolshoi Ballet and directed by Francesco Vezzoli. A preview of this song was released through Gaga Daily, and the full version of the song leaked on November 17, 2009. She also mentioned in an interview on The Billy Bush Show (October 30, 2009), that she wanted "Speechless" to be released as a single. However, it was not chosen as a single for the album promotion in 2009–2011.

Writing and recording

Gaga getting her 'Dad' tattoo as seen in the Tattoo Film (2009) shown at The Monster Ball 1.0 in 2009–2010.

Gaga explained in an interview with MTV that her father, Joseph Germanotta, had a heart condition for approximately fifteen years. She explained, "He has or he had a bad aortic valve, and his body for a very long time was only pumping a third of the blood that you're supposed to get every time his heart beat." Instead of seeking treatment, her dad decided to just live his life. But everything changed while Gaga was on the road opening for The Pussycat Dolls. "So he [was] resigned that he wasn't going to get the surgery and told my mother and I that he was going to let his life take its course," she explained. "And I've been away and on the road and he started to fade when I was gone."

My mom called me and I was very depressed. I was on tour and I couldn't leave, so I went into the studio and I wrote this song 'Speechless,' and it's about these phone calls. My dad used to call me after he'd had a few drinks and I wouldn't know what to say. I was speechless and I just feared that I would lose him and I wouldn't be there.

—Gaga to MTV, November 23, 2009

Gaga performing the song at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance on December 7, 2009.

She wrote the song in May 2009 in Australia when her father's condition was getting worse and sent it to him as a plea to get the open-heart surgery. She was even willing to give up her music career in order to take care of her mother and sister. On October 22. 2009, Gaga confirmed via Twitter that her father had undergone the surgery. "My Daddy had open-heart surgery today. And after long hours, and lots of tears, they healed his broken heart, and mine. Speechless."

She explained to New York's Z100 radio station on October 27, 2009, that she hoped the song would inspire her younger fans to appreciate their parents. "I have a lot of fans who are really lovely, young, troubled fans, but I want to remind them that you only get one set of parents." she said. In one concert during The Monster Ball Tour (2009–2011), she revealed that "Speechless" was her favorite song from The Fame Monster out of all the tracks.

I think is the best song I've ever written. It's about my dad, it's a really beautiful ballad. It's piano-driven, and there's no beat on it, it's all live instruments. I produced it with Ron Fair, so we did a full live orchestra, recorded everything with live drums, live guitar and bass with me playing piano. We got that really organic, delicious feeling.

—Gaga to Rolling Stone (October 21, 2009)


Gaga is a totally disciplined, bad-ass piano player. She came in, she read the rhythm chart. She had me produce the song 'Speechless,' she worked her ass off, sang like 100 back-up parts. Really, another very serious, fire-breathing dragon of a talent. Just a great talent and beautiful person.

—Producer Ron Fair to Bravo (May 9, 2016)


Performances

Performing the song at vevo Launch Event on December 8, 2009.

"Speechless" was performed the first time during the Ballet Russe Italian Style (The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again) on November 14, 2009. It was also performed at various high profile events such as the 2009 American Music Awards (2009), The Oprah Winfrey Show (2010), the 52nd Grammy Award Ceremony (2010) with Sir Elton John and Coachella (2017). It also debuted on tour with The Monster Ball Tour (2009–2011).

Depending on the audience, Gaga sang a different version, the album "clean" version or the "explicit" version. In the explicit version, the lyrics "And is your punch line just a joke?" is replaced with "And is your drunk line just a joke?", and "Of all my wrecked up friends" with "Of all my fucked up friends". Typical renditions of the song start on the piano and switch with the band after the first chorus.

Although it has not been released as a single, "Speechless" have the most live performances than any of non-single songs from the album.

Lyrics

Album version

How?
Haaaa-oooo-wow?
H-ooow?

I can’t believe what you said to me
Last night when we were alone
You threw your hands up
Baby you gave up, you gave up

I can’t believe how you looked at me
With your James Dean glossy eyes
In your tight jeans with your long hair
And your cigarette stained lies

Could we fix you if you broke?
And is your punch line just a joke?

I’ll never talk again
Oh boy you’ve left me speechless
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless

And I’ll never love again
Oh boy you’ve left me speechless
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless

I can’t believe how you slurred at me
With your half wired broken jaw
You popped my heart seams
On my bubble dreams, bubble dreams

I can’t believe how you looked at me
With your Johnnie Walker eyes
He’s gonna get you and after he’s through
There’s gonna be no love left to rye

And I know that it’s complicated
But I’m a loser in love
So baby raise a glass to mend
All the broken hearts
Of all my wrecked up friends

I’ll never talk again
Oh boy you’ve left me speechless
You’ve left me speechless so speechless

And I’ll never love again
Oh friend you’ve left me speechless
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless

How?
Haaaa-oooo-wow?
H-ooow?

How?
Haaaa-oooo-wow?
H-ooow?

And after all the drinks and bars that we’ve been to
Would you give it all up?
Could I give it all up for you?

And after all the boys and girls that we’ve been through
Would you give it all up?
Could you give it all up?
If I promise boy, to you

That I’ll never talk again
And I’ll never love again
I’ll never write a song
Won’t even sing along
I’ll never love again

How?

So speechless
You left me speechless, so speechless

Will you ever talk again?
Oh boy, why you so speechless?
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless

Some men may follow me
But you choose “death and company”
Why you so speechless? Oh-oh oh

Demo version

I can’t believe what you said to me,
Last night when we were alone.
You threw your hands up,
And then you gave up, you gave up.

I can’t believe how you looked at me,
With your James Dean glossy eyes.
In your tight jeans with your long hair,
And your cigarette stained lies.

Could we fix it if it broke?
And is your punch line just a joke?

I’ll never talk again,
Oh boy, you've left me speechless,
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless.

And I'll never love again.
Oh friend, you left me speechless,
You've left me speechless, so speechless.

How?
Haaaa-oooo-wow?
H-ooow?

I can’t believe how you looked at me,
With your half wired broken jaw.
You popped my heart seams,
On my bubble dreams, bubble dreams.

I can’t believe how you looked at me,
With your Johnnie Walker eyes.
He’s gonna get you and after he’s through,
There’s gonna be no love left to rye.

Could we fix you if you broke?
And is your drunk line just a joke?

I’ll never talk again.
Oh boy, you’ve left me speechless,
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless.
And I’ll never love again,
Oh friend, you’ve left me speechless,
You’ve left me speechless, so speechless.

How?
Haaaa-oooo-ow?
H-ooow?

Haaaa-oooo-ow?
H-ooow?

And after all the drinks and bars that we’ve been to,
Would you give it all up?
Could I give it all up for you?

And after all the boys and girls that we’ve been through,
Could you give it all up?
Could you give it all up?
If I promise boy, to you.

I’ll never talk again.
And I’ll never love again,
I'll never write a song,
Won't even sing along,
I'll never love again.

Why you so speechless?
You've left me speechless, so speechless.
Will you ever talk again?
Oh boy, why you so speechless?
You've left me speechless.
Will you ever love again?
Oh friend, why you so speechless?
Why you so speechless, so speechless?

Huh huh-huh huh huh
Huh
Huh-uh

Huh huh-huh huh huh
Huh
huh-uh

Huh huh-huh huh huh

Some men may follow me,
But you choose “death and company”.
Why you so speechless?
Oh-oh oh.

Trivia

  • The open-heart surgery that inspired the song, also inspired a scene in the Puke Film (2009) shown at The Monster Ball Tour in 2010–2011. The scene shows Gaga taking a bite of a bovine heart while also crying blood.
  • The demo have a different vocal delivery and features only piano and guitar. The main lyrics differences are "Oh friend" changed to "Oh boy" and that there is no verse starting with "And I know that it’s complicated/But I’m a loser in love". The ending also have "huh-uh" during two verses instead of lyrics. The song structure is also different during some parts in the demo.
  • Although unrelated, one of "Speechless" line, "I'll Never Love Again", is also the name of a song sang by Ally Maine (Gaga) in the musical romantic drama film A Star Is Born (2018).

Credits

Vocals Lady Gaga
Instrumentation and arrangement Lady Gaga, Ron Fair
Drums Abraham Laboriel Jr.
Bass Tal Herzberg
All guitars John Louis Goux
Recorded Record Plant (Los Angeles, California, Us.png)
Recording engineers Tal Herzberg, Frank Wolf
Assistant recording engineers Ryan Kennedy, Tal Oz, Joe Cory
Mixing engineer Jack Joseph Puig
Publishers
  • Sony/ATV Songs LLC / House of Gaga Publishing LLC (BMI)

References