I Go To Extremes

Album: Storm Front (1989)
Charted: 70 6
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Songfacts®:

  • According to Joel, this song was written about suffering from manic depression. Joel identifies himself as a manic depressive, and says that it actually comes in quite handy when writing songs, as there's not a lot of material in moderation. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Justin - Lawton, OK
  • Joel addresses his listener in this song as "darling," which likely refers to his wife at the time, Christie Brinkley, who he was with from 1985-1994.
  • Joel's piano part, especially at the end of this song, is congruent with the lyrical theme, as he uses the whole keyboard range, going back and forth from the extreme high and low notes.
  • Both Joel and Lindsay Lohan both hail from Long Island. However, that's not their only connection. The actress has some of his lyrics tattooed on her body - the words "Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife I feel like I'm in the prime of my life" from this song are inked on her rib cage. Lohan stated the lyric was important to her because it represents everything she's been through in life and it signifies that she's focused.
  • The video was directed by Paula Greif, whose credits include "How Soon Is Now?" for The Smiths and "Notorious" for Duran Duran. When Billy Joel was recording the song, he pounded the keys so hard that he broke some strings (Joel often treated his pianos like Mike Tyson treated his opponents). When Greif heard this story, she made sure to shoot scenes of Joel frantically playing the instrument, even with his feet.

    As for Greif, she stopped making videos a few years later and became an artist specializing in ceramics.
  • A Top 10 hit on the Hot 100, this was the second most successful single from Storm Front, following the #1 hit "We Didn't Start The Fire."
  • The album was co-produced by Mick Jones of Foreigner, who also helmed Van Halen's 1986 5150 album. It was the first time Joel didn't use Phil Ramone as a producer in over a decade. Joel told Rolling Stone the changing of the guard had nothing to do with bad blood. "Phil and I were fine," he said. "We were just sort of married for too long. And we just didn't have anything to say anymore. I just thought it was time to jump into bed with someone else, so to speak. It was time to have a wild, flaming sonic love affair."

Comments: 8

  • Joey from Valparaiso InI totally relate to this song as I am bipolar. It’s the very essence of the condition. I have used it to explain my feelings. My fav Billy Joel song.
  • Groovus Maximus from Boston, MaAlways a favorite of mine & Liberty WAILS on this song -- he hits as hard if not harder than most metal drummers! (I should know, I was a progressive thrash-type skinsman in the late '80s and '90s). Another perfectly placed examination of the human condition by Mr. Joel, and a highlight of both the "Storm Front" album and subsequent tour. I seem to recall Garth Brooks covered this, and for some reason, it was an even bigger hit for him(?!) -- not sure how or why...
  • Ariel from Los Angeles, Philippinesactually this is more of de vito's song(billy's drummer) billy helped him create the song
  • Ken from Louisville, KyJoel has recently been quoted as saying this song was a message to Christie Brinkley to try to understand him when their marriage was in trouble.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlNo matter what the song is about I'm not sure why radio stations around here don't play this more often.
  • Jose from Lodi, NjCan you ever remember Billy singing better than this?

    Rainbow's Joe Lynn Turner (from my hometown of Hackensack, NJ) sang backup on this.

  • Ken from Louisville, KyJoel has said that the woman who impressed with the "Halston dress and people that she knew at Elaine's" was Bianca Jagger.

  • Dave from Pittsburgh, PaAt his concert "Live at Yankee Stadium" joel jokingly says the words "I don't know why i go for Ice Cream" in place of the origional lyrics...
see more comments

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