Head Over Heels

Album: Songs From The Big Chair (1985)
Charted: 12 3

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of Tears For Fears, this song finds Orzabal going "head over heels" for a girl and pleading with her not to break his heart. The lyric is a combination of poetry and pathos that veers into dangerous territory at the end when he sings:

    It's hard to be a man when there's a gun in your hand
    Oh, I feel so...


    Any girl getting this missive would be wise to file a restraining order.
  • "Head Over Heels" was the tenth UK single release from Tears for Fears, and it scored them their eighth UK Top 40 hit. It is one of five hit singles from their third album Songs from the Big Chair.
  • The album Songs from the Big Chair takes its name from the 1976 American TV drama series Sybil, in which the title character, suffering from psychiatric problems stemming from child abuse, seeks refuge in her therapist's "big chair." For those of you who missed it, Sybil was based on the controversial book about a woman who was supposed to have had 16 different personalities. The TV series was pretty much the campiest, most-over-the-top portrayal of mother-daughter dysfunction since Mommie Dearest. Orzabal and Smith stated that they based this title choice solely on the concept that the songs on the album were so varied, that they all had different personalities all their own.
  • The song "Broken" precedes this song on the album, and is played both before and after this song in concerts, as it was originally composed as a segue into "Broken."
  • There are two versions of this song out there. The shorter version ends on a cold stop. The longer version is known as the "preacher version," because it opens with Roland Orzabal reciting the lyrics from their song "I Believe" as if delivering a sermon.
  • The video to "Head Over Heels" was directed by Nigel Dick, who would later direct Britney Spears in "Baby One More Time." Roland Orzabal gave Dick the concept, which was meeting a beautiful girl in the library and growing old with her. He also suggested many of the very random images, like the rabbi and the chimp. There's even an homage to the movie Ghostbusters in a scene where Orzabal pulls a card catalog drawer and the cards go flying.

    Ripe for parody, in 2008 a "literal" version appeared on YouTube which contains dubbed lyrics that poke fun at the video's visuals. See that here.
  • The song featured in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko during a scene where a camera flies around the school. Director Richard Kelly said on the DVD commentary that the scene in which the tune was used was written and choreographed specifically with the song in mind.

    Other uses of the song include:

    Fringe ("Brown Betty" - 2010)
    Degrassi: The Next Generation ("Drop the World: Part 2" - 2011)
    Orphan Black ("Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est" - 2014)
    The Late Bloomer (2016)
    GLOW ("The Dusty Spur" - 2017)

Comments: 6

  • Miss Heard-learichs from Planet Slam-it!Wow!!!! Talk about mishearing lyrics since this song FIRST debuted! I always thought it was: "My mother and my brothers used to beat me this (or so) much! [I'm] Dreaming I'm adopted! It's hard to be a man when there's a knot in your head--" See...I thought it to begin as a love song, then the author, as his "weather talks" weren't going quite as planned...drifted back to thoughts of his fatherless childhood with knots in his head from his beatings. I blame the musicians for saying that they based this on "Sybill," moreso than my lack of adequate hearing (LOL)! COOL to learn something NEW! I have loved this song since it debuted--seriously! Had the record (literally...and a record player that continued to play both this and other hits of that era perfectly, so crisp, even unto a few years back (2015 or at least 2014). Lasted longer than ANY CD player that I EVER OWNED (as many young adults and DEFINITELY children ponder what I meant by "a CD player....")! LOL!
  • Seventhmist from 7th Heaven"It's hard to be a man when there's a gun in your hand."

    I think the above note misinterpreted this line. He's telling her that he's finding it difficult to keep his head because she has such power over him ("a gun in your hand"), not that he's threatening her in any way.
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, Philippines"Something happens and I'm head over heels, I never found out 'til I'm head over hee~~eels".
    I really like Orzabal's voice in this song! I really love his voice! One of the best I ever heard in my whole life so far (I'm 22 - just saying to let others know there are 90's born who love 50's - 90's songs until now (and I hate the crap that's in the contemporary radio).
  • Mickey Es Beck from Kansas CityThe music video is like a daydream. Anyone who has daydreams about a subject for awhile, knows how crazy they can become. Plus being in love with someone and daydreaming.
  • Myla from San Diego, CaOne of my Top 10 Favorite songs of the 80's. Never get tired of this song. It's classic!
  • Amy from Smithville, TnThis song was featured in the movie Donnie Darko.
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