Ann and Nancy Wilson wrote this song about Mike Fisher, who was an original guitarist for Heart (he eventually stopped performing and became their sound man) - he and Ann were dating. Roger Fisher, who is Mike's brother and also played guitar in the band, is also credited as a writer on this song.
According to Ann, she felt that the world was crazy and sometimes maddening, but her relationship with Mike kept her balanced.
"The world had gone to hell in a hand basket and the culture was just standing on its ear and everything was overwhelmingly in trouble," she recalled to TeamRock. "Bombs and devils and the Vietnam War and the gas crisis. It was very frustrating. So I poured that frustration into the words of the song. I was in a very close relationship with Michael. When you're in that situation you just climb up into your love's lap and say: 'Oh God, what do we do about this world?' That's the feeling of the song."
This was Heart's first single. They were based in Vancouver at the time and signed to a small label called Mushroom. When the album became a hit, they moved to Seattle and signed with a label owned by CBS Records.
Nancy Wilson recalled how the instrumentation was inspired by a classic Moody Blues tune.
"I remember I had a bad flu and was kind of delirious," she said. "The lyric was so great that it kind of lifted me up in my sick bed. Two days later I was better, and we started to set it to music. We were listening to a lot of Moody Blues back then. There was a song called Question that had this fast, fiery guitar rhythm. That was our idea for the groove. Then Roger Fisher came up with the really cool riff over A-minor to F, and that gave it some more beautiful momentum."
The original band members were from Seattle. According to the liner notes for one of their greatest hits albums, they moved to Vancouver when some of the male members of the band would have been subject to the draft in the Vietnam War. They returned to Seattle when there was no longer a threat of them being called up in the draft. Unfortunately, their Vancouver years limited their exposure in the US at a time when they could have been one of the top bands there.
Zn from MaineFrom above: "many died in wars to give us the very freedom that allows Heart to play and sing whatever kind of music they want." No one died in Vietnam for "our freedom." More like, in Vietnam they died for our mistakes. So don't worry about it. Good song. Glad they left the country instead of ending up being drafted.
Darryn from UtahNancy did do the intricate intro to the song. I saw footage of it on YouTube. It did let everyone know that she can hold her own.
Jim from Bloomington, IlAnd yes... Michael did play guitar for Heart for a short time, also bass. But quickly moved to running sound and managing. This was before they ever recorded anything... including Ann's first recording Through Eyes and Glass.
Jim from Bloomington, IlI think the most reliable source on this one, and most of their history, is in their autobiography Kicking and Dreaming. Over the years they have gotten understandably tired of answering questions about so many of these things, so who could blame them for making up little stories along the way. So in the book, Ann says Crazy on You was pretty much purely a sexual story between her and Michael Fisher. Michael was the band's 'shaman' or visionary leader. Roger played guitar and was later with Nancy. Derosier wasn't even in the picture yet. But was later the drummer and Nancy's (kind of) boyfriend. Though she says the chemistry was never really right there. Funny thing, Ann says her 'going crazy on' Michael was something she saw as the pinnacle experience... until she was later with Ian Hunter.
Santoni from Dallas, TxI was serving in the US Navy and in 1977 we were off the coast of Sicily (Catania) and one of my shipmates subscribed to Rolling Stone Magazine and this band was featured on the cover. I couldn't understand at the time because two chicks were fronting a rock band and the write up was conducted by the raven haired one. Well shortly afterwards I heard the song "Crazy on You" and then I realized that it was them. Being in the Mediterranean at the time it was welcoming to hear because we had already hit port in Rota, Spain and the guitar players there I remember sounded much like the intro to this song. Anyway to make a sea story short I was inspired by this song to learn to play guitar. Good Luck to all and I do believe that this song was dedicated to seafarers.
John from Cortez, CoFor more accoustic by Nancy listen to Silver Wheels on Bebe Le Strange
Patricia from Pueblo, Co@Wes--If they wrote the song, I think they would know what it is about, and it is I'm sure a combination of all those things.
Patricia from Pueblo, CoActually, she said it was Magic Man that was "totally" about Mike Fisher.
Paul from Washington Dc, DcI had one of those "WetTunes" radios (anybody remember those things?) and I was in the shower the first time I heard this kickass song back in the summer of '76 when I was fifteen, and of course it knocked me out! Nobody else was home, so I bounded out of the bathroom with nothing but a towel 'round my midsection and called the radio station to find out the name and artist because I had missed it when the DJ said it, but I couldn't get through. Luckily my best friend Dave had heard it earlier and a couple days later we went to Record World and each bought a copy of "Dreamboat Annie". Man, WHAT a platter! I really wish the band would get back together with their original lineup and make another album. Anne's voice will never fail to send shivers down my spine.
Kassandra from Sudbury, OnThe intro gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. It is the most beautiful song that I have ever listened to.
Alma from Laredo, TxThe Wilson Sister paved the way for other rocker chicks like Evanecence and Alanis. All female singers and artists should be grateful to Heart for not having to endure male chauvanism as they experienced it themselves.
Elie from London, -love this song it has a great intro and than it just goes wild its clearly about sexual freedom fighting the backdrop of the world at the time
Wayne from Crockett, TxThe fact that the Wilson sisters fled with draft dodging band members to Canada kinda bugs me. I mean, many died in wars to give us the very freedom that allows Heart to play and sing whatever kind of music they want.
Oldpink from New Castle, InAbsolutely killer song with one of the coolest Spanish tinged guitar intros. My daughter loves to show off on Guitar Hero with this song. Nancy sure can tear up that axe!
Rob from Chicago, IlIn my old school way of looking at things, you have to go with what the words say. Hard to see this as anything other than two young people being caught up in a war zone, dealing with responsibilities they aren't ready for. If the not so subtle sexual allusions -- interesting dream -- are any guide, sex was how they dealt with being "crazy."
Mark from New York, NyHey Sam in Athens... I just listened to the Bert Jansch song on Youtube. You're right... it is very similar.
Sabrina from Corvallis, OrLOVE this song! I can remember that day in '76 as though it happened yesterday...the first time I heard it. I decided I wanted to sing just like Ann Wilson...unfortunately, I don't have her amazing range! Anyway, my mother heard me belting this song out while practising my guitar and she darn near banned me from playing guitar altogether because she thought "Crazy on You" was dirty and inappropriate for a 15 year old to sing. Now I cover Heart songs every chance I get...out of REBELLION! hahahaha!
Sam from Athens, GaThe intro to this song is very similar in style to Bert Jansch's cover of Davey Graham's "Anji".
Jeff from Austin, Txthis song was playing in the background of a sketch on "You Can't Do That on Television"
Joshua from La Crosse, WiThe first time I heard this song was in 1984 (the year I discovered classic rock). The drum roll just before the third chorus threw me for a loop the first couple of times I heard it; I kept thinking the song was already over and the radio station had started playing Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher"! LOL...
Jed Humanoid from Lake Oswego, OrI am a 20 year old male. I just want to say that Heart is absolutely great. They deserve respect from a broader audience. Great Band. Great Song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5PKULglde8
Jena from Bonner Springs, KsI posted this under "Suffragette City" by David Bowie, but listen to the guitar riff of this and the Bowie song...they are strangely similar, in my opinion! Nonetheless, great song, and an all-time classic.
Guy from Woodinville, WaWhat an intro! That brilliant, intricate acoustic melody, followed by straight-ahead powerful electric power chords. Man, could that band make music! And this was their first album! What an entrance! And don't forget Ann's powerful lungs belting out that song. I still turn it up and let it blow me away! Sad thing is, I'm from Seattle and never saw them live. :-(
Greg from Oakville, CanadaI love that one little riff played on electric guitar. It sounds so much like the guitar of Steve Howe from the awesome group Yes!
Joey from Boston, MaYou can hear elements of folk, hard rock, country, jazz, and flamenco within the song.
Kelsey from Littleton, CoThis song is so fun to play on guitar hero 2!
Sabrina from Corvallis, OrI don't know about all that ecology stuff, seems to me the song is very clear on the sexuality. I can remember when this song came out, and I tried playing it on my guitar. My mother was so upset about the song, she forbade me to play any Heart song on the guitar. Of course, now I cover them all the time LOL....I like the way they take no prisoner in their music!
Mark from New York, NyIt was 100% Nancy. I've seen them in concert several times and she played it. You can also see her on youtube playing it live.
Chris from Milford, Ctfrom what ive read it is nancy who plays the acoustic intro, if you look on the album linear notes it lists her as the only acoustic guitar player while the others are just regular electric guitar. ive seen one interview where she also stated that she played that intro to show people what she was capable of on an acoustic guitar.
Ben from Newmarket, CanadaIn an issue of Guitar World Acoustic about a year ago there was a piece where Nancy talked about the recording of the intro. If I remember correctly, she said she played an acoustic with really bad action and her fingers were all messed up and stuff like that. But I've heard from friends that it was the male guitarist who played the intro. Maybe she was talking about the wild strumming and not the intricate main intro. Does anyone know the real facts, and has whoever did play that ever done anything comparable? (not that anything could be) ...Also are there any explanations why the didn't do it on "The Road Home"? You'd think that a band who has one of the best acoustic guitar pieces in rock music might want to include it in their acoustic show.
Pete from Seattle, WaOnce again, Mike Fisher never played guitar with Heart. It was Roger Fisher.
Wes from Springfield, Va"Ann and Nancy described the meaning of this song to be about ecology and the preservation of the earth, clean air and clean water." WHAAAT? What nonsense. This song is clearly about infatuation - probably sexual infatuation.
Debbie from Hernando, MsActually, Michael Fisher never played guitar in Heart. It was his brother, Roger, who was the original guitarist.
Nessie from Sapporo, Japan"They returned to Seattle when that was no longer a threat of them being called up in the draft. Unfortunately, their Vancouver years limited their exposure in the US at a time when they could have been one of the top bands there" Things are tuff all over.
Jessica from Cleveland, OhAccording to the interview with Ann in The Road Home this song was written when a guy who worked for the band offered them mushrooms. The band took them and Ann was really messed up on stage and felt like she was a forty year old even though at the time she was only twenty-one. When she went to bed she was still feeling really nervous and couldn't go to sleep so she wrote down parts of the song. Nancy was sick at the time and when she got better wrote the melody of the song.
Jordan from Ontario, Canadagotta love the intro
Nick from Erwin, NcWell known rapper Eminem used a sample of this song in "Crazy In Love", a track from his 2004 album "Encore". It is another track about his love/hate relatiohship with his wife Kim Mathers (as if we needed any more of those).
Brian from Toronto, Canada"Crazy on You" is on the soundtrack of "Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle" which is a great stoner comedy
Megan from Lambertville, Mi"Crazy on You" is on the soundtrack of "The Virgin Suicides".
John from Greeneville, TnAs a joke, Ann & Nancy Wilson claimed the song to be about many different things, but Ann most recently cliamed the song was purely about Michael Derosier (former drummer/boyfriend). Much like 90% of everything she wrote on the earliest days when they were together.