Head over Feet

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"Head over Feet"
Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Jagged Little Pill
Released September 16, 1996
Format CD single
Label Maverick
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
Alanis Morissette singles chronology
"Head over Feet"
"All I Really Want"

"Head over Feet" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, taken from her third (and first outside Canada) studio album Jagged Little Pill (1995). Written by Alanis and Glen Ballard, and produced by Ballard, it was released as the album's fifth single (sixth in the United States) in 1996 (see 1996 in music) and presented a softer sound than the previous singles from the album. "Head over Feet" talks about a couple who are best friends as well as lovers, with Alanis thanking a friend for his manners, love and devotion.

It received positive response from critics, who deemed it for being soft and light. The song became Morissette's first number-one hit on Billboard's U.S. Adult Top 40 chart and topped the Top 40 Mainstream chart. In the United Kingdom, it was her first top ten single, and it reached the top 20 in Australia. A live version of "Head over Feet" is featured on the album Alanis Unplugged (1999), and an acoustic version of the song was recorded for the album Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (2005).

Writing and composition[edit]

Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard wrote "Head over Feet", one of the several tracks they collaborated on for her breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill (1995). Ballard met Alanis in 1994, when his publishing company matched them up. According to Ballard, the connection was "instant", and within 30 minutes of meeting each other they had begun experimenting with different sounds in Ballard's home studio in San Fernando Valley, California.[1] Ballard also declared to Rolling Stone that, "I just connected with her as a person, and, almost parenthetically, it was like 'Wow, you're 19?' She was so intelligent and ready to take a chance on doing something that might have no commercial application. Although there was some question about what she wanted to do musically, she knew what she didn't want to do, which was anything that wasn't authentic and from her heart."[2]

"Head over Feet" tells a tale of a couple who are best friends as well as lovers, in which the protagonist thanks a friend for his manners, love and devotion.[3] For Jason Redford of Pop'Stache, "It speaks of love beyond the lines and attraction regardless of inhibitions."[4] Yahoo! Voices's Joanna Lopez wrote that the song "is about realizing you've fallen in love with your best friend."[5][unreliable source?] "You are the bearer of unconditional things, you held your breath and the door for me, thanks for your patience," she sings.[6]

"Head over Feet" is performed in the key of C major, shifting to D major for the verses and middle-eight section of the song. The song is performed in common time at a tempo of 80 beats per minute.[7] Morissette's vocals span from G3 to B4 in the song.[8]



"Head over Feet" was released on February 3, 1996 as the album's fifth single.[9] The song received mostly positive response from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic chose the song as a standout track on the album.[10] Likewise, Erlewine also picked it as a highlight on her compilation, The Collection (2005).[11] Jason Radford of Pop'Stache praised the track, writing that the song "words itself brilliantly, providing the words that shaped a generation. Its metaphors are young, but mature, simple, but detailed."[4]

John Weathered of Sputnikmusic wrote that on 'Head over Feet' "she sound quite sweet, where she goes on about a friend who becomes her lover."[12] Joanna Lopez of Yahoo! Voices simply called it "a great song," praising the music, however feeling "the words are better than the music." [5] Melissa Minners of G- Pop called it "a pretty song," but admitted she prefers "the angry Alanis."[13]


"Head over Feet" was a commercial success in Canada and the United Kingdom, peaking at number 1 and 7, respectively. In Canada, the song debuted at number 94[14] and later peaked at number-one, becoming her fourth consecutive number-one single and the fourth of the same album,[15] while in the United Kingdom, it became the one and only single from the album to reach the top-ten, while also being one of her most successful singles and her only second top-ten single.[16] In Australia, it was her third best single from the album on the ARIA Charts, peaking at number 12,[17] while in New Zealand, it was her lowest.[18]

In the United States, the song was released as a radio-only single, effectively making the song ineligible to enter the Billboard Hot 100. On the Mainstream Top 40 chart, it was another radio hit, reaching the top spot, becoming her third consecutive single to do so. On the Modern Rock Tracks, it debuted at number 36 on the issue of September 28, 1996.[19] The song was even better on the Hot 100 Airplay (Radio Songs) chart, reaching number 3, on the issue of November 9, 1996,[20] and on the Adult Top 40 Tracks, reaching the top-spot on the issue of December 7, 1996.[21]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Head over Feet" was directed by Michelle Laurita and Alanis Morissette herself. The video is simple, showing a close-up of Alanis with a steady cam.[22] There are two versions of the video: the "Head" version and the "Feet" version (played in Europe and Asia). The 12th take version finishes with Alanis laughing at the end, while the other version shows Alanis and the band playing with children running and playing the harmonica around them. Both videos are featured on the DVD Jagged Little Pill, Live (1997).[22]

Released in September 1996,[19] the video received heavy rotation on MuchMusic, VH1, MTV and other music video channels. In October, the video was the third most played video on VH1 and the 22nd on MTV.[23] In November, the video was already among the top-twenty on the most watched videos list compiled by Billboard Magazine.[20] On the November 23, 1996 issue of Billboard, the video was the most played video on VH1.[24]

Track listing[edit]

CD Single[9]

  1. "Head over Feet"
  2. "You Learn" (live)†
  3. "Hand in My Pocket" (live)†
  4. "Right Through You" (live)†

† recorded on March 6, 1996 at Wings Stadium, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Charts and certifications[edit]


Chart (1996–97) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[17] 12
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[25] 10
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[14] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[26] 73
Ireland (IRMA)[27] 11
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 24
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[18] 27
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[16] 7
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[29] 3
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[30] 27
US Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks[31] 1
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[29] 25
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40[29] 1


Country Certification Sales
Australia Gold[32] 35,000+


  1. ^ "Billboard Magazine - June 30, 2001". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wild, David (November 2, 1995). "Alanis Morissette: The Adventures of Miss Thing". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - Plugged In". Plugged In. Focus on the Family. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Radford, Jason (March 31, 2011). "Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill | Old 'Stache Review". PopStache. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Lopez, Joanna (April 9, 2009). "Classic 90's Review- Alanis Morissette- Jagged Little Pill". Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Top 10 Alanis Morissette Lyrics". About.com. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "BPM for 'head over feet' by alanis | songbpm.com". songbpm.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  8. ^ Ballard, Glen. "Alanis Morissette "Head Over Feet" Sheet Music in C Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Amazon.com: Head Over Feet: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette | AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (November 15, 2005). "The Collection - Alanis Morissette: Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ Weathered, John (August 15, 2006). "Review: Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  13. ^ Minners, Melissa. "G-Pop: Jagged Little Pill". G-Pop. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "RPM - Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 3, September 02 1996". RPM. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  15. ^ "RPM - Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 14, November 18, 1996". RPM. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Alanis Morissette | Artist | Official Charts". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Charts.org.nz – Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Billboard - September 28, 1996 Issue". Billboard Magazine. Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Billboard - November 9, 1996 Issue". Billboard Magazine. Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Billboard - December 7, 1996 Issue". Billboard Magazine. Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Jagged little Pill live". Death of Cinderella. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Billboard - October 19, 1996 Issue". Billboard Magazine. Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Billboard - November 23, 1996 Issue". Billboard Magazine. Google Books. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  26. ^ "Musicline.de – {{{artist}}} Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts - Search: Alanis Morissette". IRMA. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Alanis Morissette search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c "Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - Charts". Allmusic. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved August 23, 2006.
  31. ^ "Alanis Morissette". Mariah-charts.com. Retrieved August 23, 2006
  32. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1997 Singles". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 

External links[edit]