“More Than Words,” an acoustic ballad recorded in 1990 by Extreme, was quite a deviation from the funk metal that the hard rockers usually played. So it was something of a surprise when guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and singer Gary Cherone unleashed the Everly Brothers-inspired song on their album Extreme II: Pornograffitti. And it was even more of a surprise when the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1991.
The only accompaniment to Cherone and Bettencourt’s dulcet harmonizing voices were a few snaps, Bettencourt’s fingerpicking on a Washburn acoustic, and the occasional gentle knocking of his hand on the guitar’s top.
The song’s unexpected success led to many other would-be shred-heads giving their electrics a break in order to sample the pared-down, unadorned sounds of the acoustic.
It also, perhaps unexpectedly, led to many parodies, including a PSA version by ZDoggMD about HPV vaccination, entitled “More Than Warts,” and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s darkly comical “You Don’t Love me Anymore”:
Most recently, Jimmy Fallon and Jack Black gave the song’s parody potential a run for its money with their sweetly earnest shot-by-shot remake of the song’s black-and-white video, released on The Tonight Show last May:
One more bit of trivia: “More Than Words” was a favorite song of crossover Tejano pop star Selena. According to Selena’s guitarist and husband Chris Perez, who wrote about it in his biography, Extreme dedicated the song as a tribute to the superstar after her death in 1995.