Head Over Heels

Album: Talk Show (1984)
Charted: 11

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Go-Go's Kathy Valentine and Charlotte Caffey, this song is about a girl who has gotten caught up with the day-to-day challenges in life and now realizes that she should follow her heart and let her emotions lead her. In a Songfacts interview with Valentine, she talked about the meaning of the lyric. "This is one where I had a lot of phrases I'd written down, and they started connecting. Things like 'One hand is reaching out, and one's just hanging on,' and 'Seems like my weaknesses just keep going strong' were really about self reflecting and a dawning awareness that the band and certain areas of life were getting kind of out of control."
  • In our interview with Charlotte Caffey, she said of writing this song: "I played piano and I had never utilized it, really, in the Go-Go's and I thought, Well, maybe it would be a cool idea to try something with the piano, just get a little different tonality happening other than just guitars. I sat down and came up with the hooky part in the beginning, the 8th note-y part. I wrote it, and I asked Kathy if she wanted to finish it with me. I started on something and worked on it for a while, and then we worked on it together, and then we finished it. I had maybe ¾ of the song written, and then Kathy came in and helped me finish it."
  • The Go-Go's had to cancel their 2010 tour when Jane Wiedlin fell off a cliff while hiking and injured her knees. This event made #9 on Entertainment Weekly's "Hit List" in their June 25 issue, where they wrote: "Probably wasn't the best idea to rehearse 'Head Over Heels' on the trails."
  • The latent meaning of this song reflects the turmoil in the band. Their first album, Beauty And The Beat, was released in 1981 and became the first album by an all-girl band to hit #1 in America. Their follow-up, Vacation, didn't do as well but was still a solid showing. By the time they recorded their third album, Talk Show, internecine tensions were peaking in the Go-Go's, who were getting on each others' nerves and squabbling over finances (they didn't share songwriting credits equally, so writers' credits were at a premium).

    "Head Over Heels," appropriately, was the album's first single. It went to #11 in America and became a Go-Go's classic, but it couldn't save the band from themselves. In 1985, they broke up before releasing their fourth album. "That was the beginning of the end, that album," lead singer Belinda Carlisle told The New York Times in 2018. "We were run ragged, we didn't know how to say no. ['Head Over Heels'] has an upbeat, cheerful melody and lyrically it really captures the darker side of fame and fortune - I had an appreciation for the lyrics then but not like I do now in hindsight."
  • This is also the name of a Broadway musical inspired by the group's music. The quirky premise about 16th-century townsfolk who are thrown to chaos over a prophecy that threatens to take away their happiness, "The Beat." Act 2 is introduced by "Head Over Heels," which show director Michael Mayer says is a perfect fit because "the idea that love can turn you upside down is so much of what the show is about."
  • Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin is a fan of this one. She told Songfacts: "I just think it's a classic. Like a little pop truffle of chocolate that's just completely delicious."

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 11th 1984, "Head Over Heels" by the Go-Go's entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #58; and nine weeks later on May 13th, 1984 it peaked at #11 for two weeks...
    Was track one of side one on their third studio album, 'Talk Show', and the album reached #18 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Between 1981 and 1984 the quintet had seven Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10, "We Got the Beat" {#2* for 3 weeks in 1982} and “Vacation” {#8, also in 1982}…
    * The three weeks "We Got the Beat" was at #2, the #1 record for those three weeks was "I Love Rock ‘N Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxKeyboard and percussion on this song are both superb. Much harder-edged stuff on the Talk Show album than this group had previously done.
  • Ron from Tyler, TxI like this song alot, too. I think that the piano solo by Charlotte Caffey is super.
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