Behind the Lyrics of Heart’s “Crazy On You”

In the 1970s, Heart helped cement the genre that would later be known as classic rock. With songs like “Barracuda” and “Magic Man,” the group, led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, wrote thick, rollicking songs.

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Perhaps their biggest hit is the 1976 single “Crazy On You,” released on the duo’s debut LP, Dreamboat Annie. The song, which opens with acoustic guitar, bursts open into a big, anthemic rock track bolstered by a now-iconic lead riff from guitarist Nancy.

But what about the song’s lyrics? Other than the obvious boisterous chorus, what is the song about? Let’s dive in.

The Vietnam War

Like a slew of musicians from the era, Heart had thoughts about the Vietnam War. How troubling it was and how the times that surrounded it—politically, socially, and more—provided perhaps more turbulence than comfort. So, what to do? Well, just go crazy.

“When Ann was writing the lyrics, I know that she was – the times were very troubled, kind of like today,” Nancy previously told American Songwriter. “Very much like today. And, you know, it was kind of a call to your partner to be like, ‘I know the world is just insanely crazy here right now. But I just want us to go crazy together. To let it all just fall away so it’s only just you and me here!’ So, I think that’s a really cool thing that she did in those words for sure.”

The Lyrics

Rivaling the likes of Robert Plant, Ann had one of the best (read: strongest and brightest shining) singing voices of the 1970s. Using that incredible instrument, she sang about lost youth,

If we still have time, we might still get by
Every time I think about it, I wanna cry
With bombs and the Devil, and the kids keep comin’
No way to breathe easy, no time to be young

But I tell myself that I was doin’ all right
There’s nothin’ left to do at night
But go crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh

Ann continues, leaning into passion much more than reason,

My love is the evenin’ breeze touchin’ your skin
The gentle, sweet singin’ of leaves in the wind
The whisper that calls after you in the night
And kisses your ear in the early moonlight
And you don’t need to wonder, you’re doing fine
My love, the pleasure’s mine

Let me go crazy on you
Crazy on you
Let me go crazy, crazy on you, oh


In later years, rapper Eminem sampled “Crazy On You” for his song, “Crazy In Love.” Of that partnership, Nancy told American Songwriter, “Yeah. We heard from the powers that he wanted to try and sample that and we said, “Yes, absolutely!” Then, when he had the track, he showed up at one of our shows and played the track for us because it was so top-secret that he couldn’t send it around to anyone.

“So, he sat in the room and we listened to it with him and he liked it a lot and we liked him. He was a very cool, very sensitive dude. Really cool, really good guy. He was pretty complicated but super nice.”

She added, “I thought it was cool to, like, blend up the genres. You can show up over here in somebody else’s world. It can double as making you not so stuck in your own genre, necessarily. You can be free to float through genres now and then.”

Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

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