Fish Heads (song)

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"Fish Heads"
Single by Barnes & Barnes
from the album Voobaha
B-side"High School Gym"
LabelLumania Records
Songwriter(s)Barnes & Barnes

"Fish Heads" is a novelty song by comedy rock duo Barnes & Barnes, released as a single in 1978 and later featured on their 1980 album Voobaha.[1] It has often been played on the Dr. Demento show, and is the most honored song in Demento show history.[2]

The song is about fish heads and all the things they are not able to do, such as answering questions, playing baseball, wearing sweaters, dancing, playing drums, or being seen "drinking cappuccinos in Italian restaurants with Oriental women" (the song also notes that fish heads can do some unique things, like get into movies without having to buy tickets). It is accompanied by a high-pitched chorus, achieved by speeding up the tape, which repeats the original's chorus: "Fish heads! Fish heads! Roly poly fish heads! Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up! Yum!".

The song was featured on Barnes & Barnes' 1982 Fish Heads (Greatest Hits) 12-inch on Rhino Records.[3]

Actor Bill Paxton, a filmmaker at the time, directed and appeared in the music video for the song, along with cinematographer Rocky Schenck and Robert Haimer's girlfriend at the time, Joan Farber, who designed the costume look. The video aired on NBC television on Saturday Night Live, on December 6, 1980 and the following week. Dr. Demento had a cameo as the bum.

The song is featured in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror VII." Alan Arkin sings the song in the 1993 movie Indian Summer. In 2017 television episode "Goodwill" of Halt and Catch Fire Joe and Haley listen to the song while driving in Joe's car.[4][5]

In "The Wide Window: Part 1", an episode from the Netflix adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, when Aunt Josephine is walking through the marketplace to buy limes, various vendors are calling out their produce and the fishmonger calls out "Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads!"


  • Wild Man Fischer released a cover of "Fish Heads" on his album Pronounced Normal.
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry released a cover of "Fish Heads" as a Desireless B-side.
  • Buck 65 recorded a cover of "Fish Heads" set to the music of Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba". The cover appears on a 2007, tour-only CD-R titled, Heck.


  1. ^ Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads on YouTube
  2. ^ "Rank". Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads (Greatest Hits)". Discogs. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  4. ^ Collins, Sean T. (9 October 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Recap, Season 4, Episode 8: 'It Was a Beautiful Service'". Decider. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  5. ^ Perkins, Dennis (7 October 2017). "A lovely, restrained Halt And Catch Fire lets everyone grieve in their own way". The A.V. Club. G/O Media. Retrieved 2 January 2020.