Song Saturday: “By The Way”

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For this week’s edition of Song Saturday, we’re featuring a special track performed notably acoustically a few times from their independent release, “By The Way”.

Written by Tom and Gwen in late 1992-1993, the song tells a story about a girl that was a love interest of Tom’s. With catchy and melodic verses, the song features a Spanish guitar sound and beautiful piano runs, and took a departure from the band’s signature style at the time. An earlier live version of the song exists that features a faster take on the track.

“By The Way” was recorded for No Doubt’s independent release, The Beacon Street Collection, in the summer of 1993. Alongside Albhy Galuten, the band recorded the track at Total Access in Redondo Beach, California with Ray Blair. The Beacon Street Collection was released independently by No Doubt on March 25, 1995 and re-released by Interscope Records on October 21, 1997 after the success of Tragic Kingdom.

No Doubt seemed to abandon the song during the mid-90s but was later switched out with another acoustic favorite, “Hey You”, during a few Tragic Kingdom set lists while touring Europe in late 1997. While performing the song in Milan, Italy on October 6, Gwen announced to the audience that the band was recording the audio track as a B-side single. Though that particular live recording didn’t make it, a similar version recorded earlier in Barcelona, Spain, was released on the “Sunday Morning” UK import single in December of that year. Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals performed alongside Tom on acoustic guitar.

“By The Way” was only performed a total of three times during the Tragic Kingdom tour, including once in Milan and Barcelona. The acoustic track may have been released on the B-side to coincide with the re-release of The Beacon Street Collection in October of 1997.

The track is cherished among many No Doubt fans to this day and comes across as one of the band’s most gorgeous songs. We hope No Doubt may one day revisit the track again live for newer fans to appreciate and love!


“By The Way” live in San Diego (1993)


“By The Way” live in Los Angeles (1993)


“By The Live” live in Milan (1997)


“By The Way” live in Barcelona (1997)

5 Replies to “Song Saturday: “By The Way””

  1. Some say? I never knew there were doubts that Tom wrote it about a girl.

    Anyway, beautiful song. I listen to the Spain acoustic version at least once a week.

  2. One of my favourites. Such a summery song. I would love to know more about the story behind the song though.

    1. I agree. I do my best in trying to track down information for these older songs but there isn’t too much out there.

  3. I love this song especially the acoustic version.
    I thought it was a well known fact that Tom wrote this song about a girl he loved that moved away.

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