Love And Madness: The Top 5 Songs Named "Crazy"
Starting in 1992, October 10 has been known as World Mental Health Day. Started by the folks at the World Federation For Mental Health, it's a day that helps promote awareness and education of depression and other mental health illnesses.
It's one of those "days" that isn't nearly as big as those that involve talking like a pirate and/or drinking.
It's not surprising most references to mental health in music are fairly silly or melodramatic. One can go as far back as 1966's "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" to see a song that doesn't treat being mentally ill as particularly serious.
In the course of music history, "Crazy" is a word that gets thrown around a lot and is the title to some of the best songs in rock and pop music. But which "Crazy" is the best?
Wonder no more: Here are the Top 5 "Crazy"s of all time.
(Writer's Note: Mental Health, in particular depression, is a serious issue. There are plenty of resources available on the Internet to those who suffer from these issues or know someone who does. Don't be afraid to get help. Be understanding of those who suffer from it. We're all in this together, you know?)
5. Aerosmith, "Crazy" (1994) What Seems To Be The Problem?: "Doctor, my lady friend doesn't play nice."
You can tell Steven Tyler has it bad in this song because it's heavy on the harmonica. While not the biggest track of the band's career, it was their last great single before becoming pure schlock with singles like "Pink" and "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing".
The song, like many others on this list, is probably best known for its music video. A classic for most males going through adolescence at the time of its release, the video is far and away the best to feature a creepy (and useless) gas station attendant and a tractor that may have a mind of its own.
4. Britney Spears, "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (1999) What Seems To Be The Problem?: "Doctor, being in love has given me insomnia."
Although she's spent much of the time since then as tabloid fodder, back at the time of this song's release Britney Spears was just a girl who occasionally hung out with Melissa Joan Hart and only had one Top 10 hit. Even with a major marketing machine behind her some still wondered if she was just another flash in the pan.
This song solidified her place in the pop-music landscape. There would be more songs and more hits, she'd lose some hair and grow it back, people would say things about her and some would suggest we leave her alone, and eventually she'd end up a reality-show judge.
Why hasn't this song gotten a sequel?
3. Patsy Cline - "Crazy" (1961) What Seems To Be The Problem?: "Doctor, I can't stop overthinking my relationship problems."
Penned by Rocks Off favorite Willie Nelson, "Crazy" was a hit back when some of your parents were still learning how to speak properly. Although not the biggest song Cline released that year (that would be "I Fall To Pieces"), "Crazy" has become a classic, holding the 85th position on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
What does that mean? Well, if nothing else, it means that according to someone it's slightly better than "Thunder Road" but slightly worse than "Every Breath You Take." For what it's worth, it's also Willie's favorite version of the song.
2. Seal, "Crazy" (1991) What Seems To Be The Problem?: "Doctor, we'd all be better off if we were just a touch crazy."
Although most people are content to only remember "Kiss From a Rose," Seal did in fact have other singles -- not a ton, mind you, but he did have that one from Space Jam. If nothing else we should remember this song because he kind of uses the word "cray" decades before Kanye.
It's a shame this song is largely overshadowed by his more Batman-centric work because "Crazy" still sounds incredibly modern. Although it's been remixed by the likes of William Orbit, the song still has a lot of potential for enterprising producers out there; fingers crossed someone eventually turns it in to a trance classic.
1. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" (2006) What Seems To Be The Problem?: "Doctor, I think I'm crazy but I need a second opinion."
This will be a controversial pick out there for some, especially among those who dislike Mr. Green. Although he's become a bit of a nuisance as of late, this song is still pretty incredible, the perfect match of Cee Lo's soulful vocals and Danger Mouse's production. Plus the video is pretty ill.
Half a decade later Cee Lo is out ruining punk-rock classics and Danger Mouse is producing records for Norah Jones and Electric Guest. "Crazy" remains Gnarls Barkley's one hit, the moment when both artists were firing on all cylinders. It may never be that good again. Crazy, isn't it?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.