(November 10, 2019). Feel like going crazy today?
Recently, I heard Seal’s 1991 hit single, “Crazy,” and I couldn’t help but sing along. Then, out of left field on SiriusXM, I heard the song “Crazy” by K-Ci & JoJo and it got me wondering, just how many “Crazy” songs are actually out there?
Classic songs by Queen, Prince, Patsy Cline, Gnarls Barkley and Madonna of course came to mind, but I knew there were far more than those ubiquitous ones.
Well, it didn’t take long to come up with the idea to do a search – both through the annals of my memory bank as well as the archives of the Internet and streaming platforms – and come up with as many songs with “crazy” in their titles as I could.
And regular readers of the blog know what came next: a ranking of the biggest and best “crazy” tunes (based on my own humble opinion of course) and a posting of that ranking right here at djrobblog.
Not surprisingly, there is an absurd number of songs with some form of the word “crazy” in their titles. I found dozens of them, enough to drive this writer mad as a hatter while trying to determine which ones to include in the rankings and where to place them.
After a few repeated listens to each track (especially the ones I’d not heard in a while, or ever), I decided to narrow the list to 40, and do a flipped out top-40 countdown of the biggest and the best, from the most laughable to the most ludicrous, and from the most sappy to the most screwy.
What follows then is a djrobblog countdown and playlist of those 40 “crazy” songs – some hits, some misses, some you’ll remember, some you won’t.
All genres are represented here: pop, R&B, rock, metal, country, blues, and rap. And the songs span every decade from the 1960s right on up to the 2010s.
And eight different “crazy” songs on this list have just the one-word title, including one with an alternate spelling.
So go ahead and go crazy by scrolling through from No. 40 to No. 1 and seeing how many of these zany hits you remember.
You have our permission.
The California hard-rock band Quiet Riot only had three Hot 100 chart hits, and two of them were owed to their 1970s forefathers Slade, the British rockers who originally recorded both “Cum on Feel the Noize” and this crazily spelled track, which charted higher for Quiet Riot than it did for the originators.
What’s crazy about this song is the idea that two strangers can strike up a conversation in a bar and one of those men - upon his passing and after never having seen the other man again - leaves to the guy his million-dollar fortune. Touching story and yep, people really are crazy.
There are several artists in this list who - after going “crazy” with song titles - never had another big hit afterwards. Kim Carnes is one of them, as this 1985 song peaked at No. 15 and marked the last time she reached the top 40.
Crazy fact: Strait has had 44 No. 1 country chart hits, more than any one in that chart’s - or any chart’s - history. This nice ballad was one of ‘em in 1986.
Crazy fact: Cale wrote Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight” and “Cocaine,” and played with the likes of Leon Russell, Phil Spector, Art Garfunkel, Bob Seger and Neil Young. But his only top-40 hit as an artist himself was this slow rocker.
For as many people that give Rod Stewart flack for his late-1970s disco turn, no one knocks him for his meager attempt at rap in some parts of this crazy hit from a decade later. It’s interesting to note the disco connections with this song’s parent album, ‘Out of Control,’ which was co-produced by Chic founder Bernard Edwards and included drumming by Chic drummer Tony Thompson. Edwards played bass on “Crazy About Her.”
Still riding the wave of their No. 1 hit - “All My Life” - from three years earlier, the Brothers Hailey tried to recreate that same magic with this overwrought ballad. It would be their last chart hit, though, peaking at No. 11 pop (and a more shocking No. 63 R&B).
Not to be confused with Paul Davis’ “I Go Crazy,” which is up later, this JB song is far from it. The crazy thing about this bluesy soul classic is that the eventual Godfather of Soul is perhaps at his most coherent vocally. It was his fourth chart hit, peaking at No. 15 on the soul chart. A live version was released and charted six years later.
This might be the song that would drive listeners the craziest if subjected to repeated listenings - if not for all the clever metaphors and psychological wordplay, then for that looped synth riff that runs throughout. Wayne delivered yet another lit track with it, though.
One of several No. 1 country records on this list. Its storyline: the protagonist pursues (in his pickup truck) his love interest who’s boarded a bus from East Texas to Little Rock. Problem is he loses control and crashes his truck into a telephone poll and has to lament while she pulls away, all the while listening to a bus stop full of, um, people telling him to just let her go. Crazy life indeed.
Early in her career, the midriff-baring Britney Spears mined the “...Baby, One More Time” well a few times. This top-10, Max Martin-produced soundtrack single was no exception. Pulled from the movie Drive Me Crazy starring Melissa Joan Hart.
Without a doubt, this is the heaviest metal jam on this list, so those looking for it to get any zanier than this will be in for a big letdown. That double-bass drum though...it alone merits the song’s inclusion. Just wow!
Moonlighting from CSNY, Stills and Co. turned in a stone-cold jam session at this song’s coda. It only peaked at No. 92 in 1972 though.
Not only did this “original boy band” weirdly rock out with this left-field, hard-rock hit in 1972, but it’s been covered by many more “respectable” harder rock acts ever since. Props to brother Jay Osmond for getting his only lead vocal with this No. 14 hit from the album of the same name.
Strangely, the Judds never had a Hot 100 entry, but this was one of their many No. 1 country hits, and it’s considered a classic. The “crazy” in this song’s case has a lyrical twist in a good way (that is, he’s crazy over her).
This early 21st-Century pop/rock hit is probably best known for being co-opted by the TV teen drama ‘Dawson’s Creek’ for the series’ second soundtrack volume. The song peaked at No. 15 in the U.S. and made the top ten in Italy - the country where it, ironically, charted the highest.
Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy has been considered the “greatest guitar player alive” by fellow great Eric Clapton. So Rolling Stone magazine’s ranking of Guy at No. 23 on their list of all-time greatest guitarists might seem like an insult by comparison (it is). What’s crazier, though, is that six Chicago Januarys have passed without me having checked Guy out at his perennial set of January shows at his Buddy Guy’s Legends here in the Windy City. That will change in 2020.
The late country legend Jennings was dealing with a serious cocaine addiction and a recent famous drug bust when he penned this No. 1 country classic in 1978. The song was both a defiant reflection on his personal life as well as a departure from the previous outlaw country that had made him so popular.
Morrison’s classic track “Moondance” is legendary. But the song that immediately follows it on the iconic 1970 album is this romantic ballad, a classic in its own right.
Before he hooked up with Van Halen as the even crazier lead-singer David Lee Roth’s replacement, Hagar was having a hard time driving 55 - and driving us crazy with this tune, his biggest solo hit.
After you scroll through all 40 songs in the countdown, you can also enjoy this Spotify playlist featuring all 40 “crazy” songs on the list.
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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