Hole Hearted

Album: Pornograffitti (1990)
Charted: 12 4
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Songfacts®:

  • Extreme lead singer Gary Cherone came up with an interesting heartbreak metaphor on this track: He has a hole in his heart, and there's only one who can fill it. The song though, is not about a girl, but about God.

    Cherone is a devout Christian, but when writing rock lyrics he didn't make that obvious. When speaking with Christian publications, he made his beliefs clear, and even quipped that he plagiarized some lyrics for "Hole Hearted" from the Bible.

    In 1996, he became lead singer of the rather debaucherous Van Halen. He held that post for just one album; in 1999 he spoke out against various pro-choice groups, including Rock For Choice. He parted ways with Van Halen soon after.
  • Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt wrote the music for this track right after his new guitar arrived: his first-ever 12-string. In a Songfacts interview with Bettencourt, he told the strange story of how it happened. "I wrote it on the toilet!," he said. "I got kind of excited that I had my first 12-string, and it made me want to go to the toilet. I sat down, took my time, and dare I say, the ideas just came out. They came pouring out."
  • Musical inspiration for this acoustic track came from Led Zeppelin III, which Bettencourt had been listening to at the time. That album contains most of Zeppelin's more mellow, acoustic songs.
  • Extreme released their first album in 1989, but their breakthrough came with their next set, Pornograffitti, which contains the acoustic ballad "More Than Words." That song shot to #1 in the US and got a lot of airplay on MTV. "Hole Hearted" was the follow-up, and also did very well. Many listeners only knew the band from these two songs, and didn't realize that a lot of their music is hard rock. This resulted in some surprises when folks came to their concerts expecting an evening of easy-going acoustic tunes.
  • The video shows the band cavorting in the streets, having a grand old time in contrast to the heartbreaking lyric. The clip was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the husband-and-wife team that did the "More Than Words" video. Like "More Than Words," with used a black-and-white, sepia look.

Comments: 4

  • Sharif from Buffalo, Ny"yet even the sea is not so full of me"...."feet of clay"...."if im not blind why can't I see"....are ALL Biblical references.
  • BunnyThere is some bad info here. This song is not about a girl. It is about the faith of a Christian. Only Jesus can fill us. No person, amount of money, home, job, vacation, etc. Every person has a "God-shaped" hole in them and only God can satisfy. Most of the members of Extreme love Jesus and it was present in the lyrics, especially III Sides.
  • Nw from GermanyGary Cherone is a pretty devout Christian, and some of the lyrics reference common metaphors for God in those circles. It is likely he was intending this song to be about God.
  • Josh from UsaThere was a bit of spiritual content in a lot of Extreme's work related to Christianity. The lyrics and the singers quandary actually relate to what Christians call a "God shaped void" in one's heart, one that only he can fill. In Ecclesiastes 1:7 you'll find "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full". I'm no longer a believer, but when I was, I was in a band with other Christians and we chose this as a song to perform. The theme of the entire song falls in line with the apologetic concept that there is no satisfaction in life (including women) and only God can fill that void, which is actually what Solomon writes about to great length in this book of the Torah/Bible. Even though I no longer subscribe to this idea, I think it's a much more admirable concept with greater depth than a simple love song.

    I'll add this one from Mark 8:18: "Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?" Or as Extreme put it "If I'm not blind why can't I see?" Feet of clay is a biblical expression for weakness, etc, etc.
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