Foolish Heart

Album: Street Talk (1984)
Charted: 18


  • Steve Perry wrote this with Randy Goodrum, who had written "You Needed Me" for Anne Murray and "Bluer Than Blue" for Michael Johnson. In our interview with Randy Goodrum, he told us: "It seemed like such an unlikely match, Steve and me. Shortly before I flew out, I thought, I've got to put together some song ideas or some starts or something. I had this little vamp idea which I said, Well, Steve is calling me probably because he wants a certain thing that I do, so I will give him a piece of what I do. So that little vamp at the very beginning in the general chord progression of the verse was something I brought. He had a little writing room set up and he had this Fender-Rhodes there, and a little Linn machine, and a little Teac 4-track cassette player.

    I drove up to the house in this little mid-size rental, and I looked like some guy from Connecticut - I had an English riding cap, and corduroy pants - and he opens the door, and he's got a fire-engine red jumpsuit, sweat shirt and pants like he'd been exercising at a fire station or something. And hair down to his feet. He was a great guy. Instantly we hit it off, and we were good friends. So we went into the room to kind of kick around, and I played him that little start, and he liked it right away, and he started jamming some melodies.

    My style from starting out in Nashville was to write lyrics and music simultaneously. That's really the style I prefer, because the music is sort of telling you what it's about from the get-go, and I don't think he was used to that style, because we started about 11 in the morning, and about 11 that night we had the song done and demoed. I think he was pretty exhausted from it, and I was pretty tired, too. We ended up writing four songs, I wrote four days with him, and each day we wrote a totally different kind of song. And all four of them ended up on the record."
  • In this song, Perry sings from the perspective of a guy who is painfully lonely, but fears that his heart will be broken. Says Goodrum: "It's a premise. I try to synthesize a person or a character, and try to empathize, or become that person. I don't really relate to that personally in my life. I sort of method act as a songwriter, or if somebody I'm writing with has got issues or some problem, I'll try to be an emotional vampire and just drink it in. It wasn't until years later that I learned about method actors, that that's sort of what they do. Some actors can act based on their own life, but then if you're becoming a character that you've never been you've got to become it somehow. So you create an identity and try to become that person for a while."
  • This was the last single from Perry's debut solo album, Street Talk. His group Journey was still active at the time, but members had taken on solo projects: guitarist Neal Schon teamed up with Jan Hammer (as Schon & Hammer) for albums in 1981 and 1982, and drummer Steve Smith released a jazz album in 1983 with his group Vital Information. Perry had by far the most successful career outside of Journey. The first single from Street Talk, "Oh Sherrie," was one of the biggest hits of 1984.
  • With Goodrum on keyboards, Perry sang a demo of this song on a 4-track tape player. Says Goodrum: "The little demo we did on the 4-track was so good, it had such a magic in it, that I was afraid it would be difficult to beat it in the studio. But of course it was totally unacceptable being on a 4-track cassette player. When we went into studio to record it with a band, we cut two or three tracks, and the tracks were really good, but they just didn't have the vibe of the demo. And we were kicking ourselves because we knew there was something about that little demo.

    So we went back and listened to it, and we realized, well, let's get that same electric piano. So we got the same sort of beat up electric piano that we had borrowed from a friend. And we got that Linn drum, the same one that we used when we did the 4-track. And they even had the same program in it that they did when we wrote the song. You know, with all the little drum fills and stuff. We put that down, and then I replayed the piano, and we got Bob Glaub to play bass, and Michael Landau and everybody. And there it was. We just needed to have that little magic sort of whimsical dreamy loop that the Linn drum was doing, just sort of pulsate and create that vibe for 'Foolish Heart.' That was a really good moment. And I'm glad that Bruce Botnick (the album's executive producer) and Steve had the open-mindedness to go outside the lines and try that."
  • The video, directed by Jack Cole, is just one shot, slowly pushing in on Perry singing the song on stage in an empty theater, then pulling back out. There is an extended version where when Perry walks off stage at the end, he is greeted by his Journey bandmates, who welcome him with champagne before offering a New Year's toast to the audience (the video was released at the end of 1984). "Let's go cut a track," Perry says as they walk off.

    This bit was an affirmation that the band was now his focus. They soon went to work on their Raised On Radio album, which was released in 1986.

Comments: 6

  • Isabella from Gresham, OrAmazing song. We love ya Steve!
  • John from Dublin, IrelandThe "Foolish Heart" video is unique in that it doesn't have a single editorial cut - a most unusual feature given the widespread, frantic structure of music videos for that time. The video begins with a static camera, a long shot of a boomed mic situated in a hall lit by an overhead spotlight. Perry walks into the shot, sits on a stool and starts singing. Over the course of just about 4 minutes, the camera crawls forward slowly, eventually ending up with a close shot of Perry. Then the camera retreats slowly back to where it started. And that's pretty much it. No cutaways, no inserts, no visible band members.
  • Emma from Knoxville, TnI was just watching a movie on TV and heard this song in the background.....boy this song bought soooooooooooooo many memories. I loved this guy so much and that song use to make me cry because he didn't love share the same feeling, memories I don't now I haven't the faintest ideal where he is. That is a sweet song.
  • Joann from Portsmouth, VaI love Steve Perry so much & would like to contact him,I would not be a stalker(ha, I even have framed pics of him on a table, saw him in 1986 when he was still with Journey, will always be memorable to me, so carry on Steve your talent & voice is superb,
  • The Other Mrs. Perry from New York, NyI love this song!!!! It's so passionate!
    Check out thelove we have for Steve Perry
    at our website:
  • Eduardo from San Jose, OtherThis is one of my favorites. At that time (1984) I was soooo in love, but I felt the girl didn't want anything with me because I had wasted so much time the year before....We never had a relationship, not even a little kiss, but now each one has their own marriage and we remain good friends up to this moment.
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