Howard Jones’ dreamy, existential 1986 ballad “No One Is to Blame” had a message and melody that resonated, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite its pop/soul sound, the song doesn’t quite deal with love, but with the lack thereof.
It’s that ache — being alive and in life, yet yearning for friendly or romantic belonging — that inspired Rachael Sage, who was on tour with Jones, to take on her headlining act’s song. But she’s even more interested in the other half of the song’s message. “I felt the questions it poses about blame and responsibility are more relevant than ever.”
With Jones’ blessing, she made it so. “I am absolutely thrilled by Rachael’s version,” Jones said in a statement. “She has really put her own original stamp on the song.”
You can listen to Sage’s fresh, witty take on “No One Is to Blame” below from her upcoming album Myopia (pre-order here).
The original song’s inspiration hit from an off-the-cuff remark by a Bay Area record promoter who asked Jones, “What do you think of all the beautiful women in San Francisco? You can look at the menu, but you don’t have to eat.” Cleverly, the bit about the menu was flipped by Jones to “…but you just can’t eat,” to become the song’s plaintive first line.