Let’s Watch A Music Video: Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels


Look at these two lads. The me of ten years ago would be shaking his head if he ever learned I could even stomach ten straight seconds of their music.  I couldn’t stand pop music in most of its forms when I was younger.  Back in my teens and early 20s, my tastes were about as narrow as Hank Hill’s urethra.  I shook off several good bands for the sake of being metal to the bone.  In my case, that involved wearing nothing but black T-shirts, sitting in the back row of class despite being an honour roll student, and avoiding women at all costs in fear that they’d trick me into admitting that I’ve sung an NSYNC song in the shower.

Still, it’s not as if Tears For Fears were tearing up the charts at that point in my life, so I can be excused for not digging back a few years before my time to discover interesting music. However, I once owned a Manowar album, so that should nullify just about any excuse I can come up with.

“Head Over Heels” was the fourth single taken off Tears For Fears’ second album Songs From The Big Chair.  The single was released on June 10, 1985.  In my own mind, they did so as a tribute to my birth, which took place the day before.  I know it is highly unlikely that this is the case, but I was born with jaundice, and was naturally a bit down about it.  I really needed a summer song to boost my spirits as my bilirubin levels lowered.

The music video was filmed at the Emmanuel College library in Toronto, Ontario, so I’m a close drive away from creating my very own shot-for-shot remake at the proper location.  All I’m lacking is directorial skills, a crew to assist me, and the finances necessary to bring this excursion to life.

How much would they charge to rent it out?  I’d imagine it would be similar to use of a recording studio, and I can get a much better rate if I film during the graveyard shift.  Did they get a special deal due to their fame?  Did a generous donation on their behalf lead to a Tears For Fears wing on the library?  Does the library get thousands of gawking visitors like the Goonies house does?

Enough of my curiosities!  Let’s get down to business.  Click here to watch the video, or if you’d prefer to watch an oddly angular version uploaded to Youtube to circumvent copyright violation, then click here.

I wish that the angled version was the official video.  Maybe there is some further depth to the concept, like a representation of the uphill battle this diminutive man has to go through to win over this woman.  It could have been part of a diabolical plot to give the MTV generation chronic neck pain by having to tilt their heads 30 degrees (don’t bust your protractors out, it’s only a quick guess).  I’m giving the director far too much credit already.  I’m sure label figured the band was due for a silly video, and gave the director free reign.  After the first five ideas were no doubt rejected and painstakingly ridiculed, this is what we were left with.  Let’s watch!


I’m very glad to see that this library is trench coat friendly given the nasty reputations projected onto the men that wear them. That being said, I’d still like to believe that mountain of books in his arms contains select copies of National Geographic, “How To Draw The Female Body”, and whatever other pseudo-smut he can dig up in this conservative institution.  Perhaps a copy of the best-selling “Balancing Books I Happened To Grab Off The Shelf At Random” finds it’s way into the pile to ward off suspicion.


Seconds into the video, we see a Hasidic Jew and a chimp dressed like a human.  All that’s missing is a horny school girl or two and Milton Berle in drag for all the 80’s music video tropes to be represented under one roof.  I wonder how many of them went through a flannel shirt phase once they started to lose relevance as the decade ended.


A cute chick in glasses, just as any good fantasy should start.  Her outfit tells you that she is strictly business, wanting nothing to do with you or your advances.  But those eyes say what your lips dare not speak.  They say that there’s a secret whore waiting to be unleashed to the man who checks out the right book.  Our leading man knows this, but he clearly doesn’t frequent libraries very often.

What does he do first?  Not only is he failing to keep his speech to hushed tones, but he figures the acoustics in here make it great for singing.  Not a good first impression.  Little does he know that this would be the perfect way to get the wrong kind of attention in a library.  Is he trying to play the bad boy card and receive a ban?

I bet that this woman is deaf.  Not once do we see her tap at a “Please Be Quiet” sign.  This clumsy charade could have been avoided altogether had she pointed out the massive “SILENCE” banner that can briefly be seen at the beginning of the video.  Becoming a librarian would be an ideal profession for a deaf woman because, aside from the occasional lip reading, you are surrounded by books, which are as much of a friend to the deaf as publicity is to a Kardashian.  It would certainly excuse you from having to answer ignorant questions from this man or any other library visitors.

“Excuse me, but have you read this book?”  Of course I have! I’ve read each one of our collection of over 30,000 books.  Someone has to approve them before they are filed and placed on our shelves.  I’m a book-a-day woman, and since I started reading at around age five, that makes me far too old for the likes of you, Junior.  In fact, I hit the century mark next week.  Would you like me to save you a piece of cake for when you come back to renew “Everyone Poops”?

I’m not sure if our mulleted lead would be able to handle that much sarcasm in his fragile emotional state.

Some of her annoyed expression might be as a result of that huge stack he flopped onto her desk.  She knows he won’t be able to finish reading all those books within the lending period, so he’s going to be coming in to renew most of these for months until he is finished every last book.

Most likely, he grabbed all these books as an excuse to talk to her longer while she processes each one.  That was my initial instinct, but just as she starts to check them out, he walks away from the desk.  He couldn’t possibly be chickening out, can he?  That might be part of it, because he shows some rather odd behaviour as he turns his back to her.


His feet seem heavy as if he had cement in his shoes. I figure that since he is in Toronto, he’s taken it upon himself to workshop a new character for Dave Foley.  He may be using this slow pacing in the event that she has something to say to him before he completely walks away.  He’ll turn around, realize he confused the hum of the ceiling fan for her voice, then head off to find another place to shoot the video with a librarian more receptive to his clueless seduction habits.

This trench coat is pouring his heart out to this woman to his own embarrassment and failure.  He loses control of his once well-mannered telekinetic powers, and starts pulling random papers from the drawers.  Avoiding adding injury to insult, he walks away without a single paper cut.  Not as if that cruel temptress would even show him a First Aid kit anyway.  She wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, which is surprising since he has the charm of a toilet seat.


It looks as if Juliet has found her Romeo.  Why else would she have this keyboard out so quickly for him?  You can’t tell me that this library rents out musical instruments.  If I wandered in there looking for a Zon fretless bass, I’ll be stared at as if I had two heads.  No, there must be something special she sees in this rebellious young keyboard player.  The 80s was a time where either everyone in a band played keyboards or the one keyboardist was reduced to playing behind a curtain like a freakish sideshow oddity that, if unleashed, would prevent the rest of the band from getting laid.  Our girl has found the exception to the rule, so we can hardly blame her for getting a little anxious for his arrival.

Whenever I see a tough-looking man in a leather jacket entering a building, part of me expects him to be asking where Sarah Connor is.  That being said, I applaud any keyboardist that tries to separate himself from the pack.  A well-worn leather jacket can more than make up for whatever fruity sound that instrument can produce.  I’m guessing he could hit the demo button on that thing, and she’d swoon as if he wrote it just for her.  I further applaud him for not busting the door down with a keytar slung across his back.  That would override the effects of the jacket.  Save the gimmicky instruments for someone more desperate for attention.

He only uses the right hand to play the melody/solo, sliding to reach the desired notes knowing full well he isn’t amped up and they’ll add the studio mix in during post.  I’d say he was resting his other hand after writing down so many girl’s phone numbers, but that’s preposterous!  How can he write with his left hand?  He may, in fact, be left handed, but let’s be realists.  He’s obviously using that hand to brandish some sort of pussy magnet.


Oops!!  Something’s not to that chimp’s liking.  It could be a reaction to that sour note, but he may not have heard it during filming.  What else could they have done to get that reaction out of him?  We were still a year away from Bill Bucker’s famous error, so he wasn’t watching an important enough game that would excuse him from his normal, chimpanzee acting duties.  Which brings us to a seemingly minor detail: Why the Red Sox jersey?  Remember that this is filmed in Toronto, so why not the Blue Jays?  Not only would this be a nod to the city, but to what ended up being the superior team of 1985.

Were they trying to mislead us into thinking this is a Boston-based library?  Good luck trying to pull the wool over the eyes of all the avid library aficionados that catch this video on the hit list.  It’s like whenever a movie is filmed in Toronto and they try to convince us it’s set in the United States despite the clear shots of the CN Tower, Tim Horton’s coffee shops on every other corner, and the puzzling casting choice of Don Cherry as mayor.

Early on, it’s looking very much like the nice guy finishes last, and the woman falls yet again for the bad boy. I’d gladly bow out in pursuit of a woman if a Chick Corea-type was inventive enough to flex some faux masculinity with a five o clock shadow and dress like an extra from Grease. It’s not an unattainable level of cool though. If I were the protagonist, I’d run back home, rip the sleeves off the coat, apply rub-on tattoos liberally to each bicep, kick down the door in a souped-up bicycle (racing stripe, skull and cross bone pennant on the back, baseball card in the spoke, water bottle filled with Sunny Delight), and watch her melt like butter.  Should that fail, you always have your interpretive dance skills to fall back on.


Oh, I get it!  “Bang?”  There’s no end to this man’s brilliance.  I forgot to mention that one of the books in his massive pile was “A Prop Comic’s Guide to Innuendo”.  Out of all previous plays for her attention, this childish gag is the thing that gets her to crack a smile?  I’ll never fully understand women, but it helps prove another theory of mine.  Deep down, all librarians are perverts.


It turns out that the Jewish fellow was the drummer in costume all along.  Truly a blindsiding, Shyamalan-influencing twist if there ever was one.  Seconds after this stunner is unleashed on an unsuspecting public, we see that this skin basher (aka The Human Metronome, The Bringer of Thunder, or Sticks McGillicuddy) felt that dress-up time was over.  Good on Arthur Fonzarelli and the intellectual custodian for sticking to character.

When your drumming contemporaries can solo while upside down, I think negotiating an itchy prop beard isn’t too much to ask for.  I’ve yet to see the guys in ZZ Top get caught up in the strings of their guitars, so why can’t you take a chance?  Perhaps there was a reason that Frank Beard was the only guy in that band who was clean shaven.  It could be hard to keep time when your facial hair obstructs the view of your wristwatch.  I dunno.  I can’t be bothered to come up with a better drummer joke than that.  Maybe you can beat it.


I wish the blooper reel was more in line with those found in the closing credits of Jackie Chan movies. People drop things every day, but that doesn’t mean it would make for an entertaining compilation. Get a papercut, an encyclopedia to the face, have his library card get revoked. Anything would be more worthwhile that watching the same “stunt” fail over and over. You’ve got a chimp on set, and you’re telling me he doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary. You want some real out-takes, hand him a copy of The Origin Of Species, sit back, and literally watch the shit hit the fan.


The ending is where I really need help deciphering.  The Wikipedia page for the video mentions that they are supposed to be married, yet neither of them look any happier.  Coupled with the sad, drawn fade out of the song leads me to further believe that this prospective couple will be doomed to a loveless marriage.  On the other hand, it’s unfair to judge the health and legitimacy of a relationship based on such a small sample size.  Besides, who among us didn’t get at least a bit excited for Luke Skywalker when Leia planted that kiss on him in The Empire Strikes Back?

Perhaps my Terminator instincts felt earlier wasn’t too far off, and the character portrayed by Roland Orzabal is some sort of time traveller trying to prevent something from occurring much like Kyle Reese or even Marty McFly of Back to The Future.  Obviously a man with no appropriate social skills when it comes to courting the opposite sex, he was due to live out his life alone and (probably) smelly.  His final days were to be spent collecting stamps from his affordable basement apartment.  And who do you think his landlords were?  The librarian and the wannabe James Dean.

Having rented from them for years, he could see (or at least hear through the floor) that their relationship was falling apart.  Having long abandoned the whole biker imagery, her husband was jumping from trend to trend quicker than a teenage girl.  His lifestyle seemed harmless at first, but once he began sporting “The Rachel”, their relationship began spiralling downward exponentially.  In spite of it all, she stood by the man, but another man couldn’t stand idle on the sidelines any longer.  If anybody was going to be in a dismal marriage with a women who could do much better, it was him.

Thankfully, the money saved in his low-rent lifestyle afforded him the ability to go back in time, as well as the surgery to flawlessly blend back into the 1980s.  In addition to desperately trying to wedge himself between the future lovebirds, he could also return all the library books he’d accumulated over several decades in order to avoid paying thousands of dollars in late fees.  As evident from the video, his mission proved successful with a Hail Mary throw rivaling Doug Flutie‘s, yet somehow with the style points of Carlton Banks.

After examining this video much too closely, I decided to make up for lost time.  I finally caved in and purchased their album Songs From The Big Chair at a local flea market.  Here’s proof that I am now man enough to handle being in the same room as such a poppy album.  I’ve made certain that I maintain my metal credibility by wearing a Gigan shirt and refusing to smile.



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