By 1984, things had gotten rocky in the Go-Go's camp. After the breakout success of debut album, Beauty and the Beat, the band's second album, Vacation, had been considered something of a letdown. Despite the album's title track hitting the top 10, the ladies were in desperate need of a hit.
On February 21, 1984, the Go-Go's would release "Head Over Heels," the advance first single from the band's third album, Talk Show. The bouncy pianos and feel-good vibes of the song would propel it up the Hot 100 before it peaked just outside of the top 10 at #11 the week of may 19, 1984. The #1 song in America that week: Lionel Richie's "Hello."
"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," Go-Go's guitarist Charlotte Caffey told Songfacts in 2010. "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 song's upbeat energy masked the turmoil that was roiling within the band: "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."
Still, the song invokes happy memories for fans, as well as Go-Go Jane Wiedlin, who ranks it as her favorite in the band's catalog: " I just think it's just a classic," she told Songfacts. "Like a little pop truffle of chocolate that's just completely delicious."