Going Out of My Head

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"Going Out of My Head/Michael Jackson"
Going Out Of My Head.jpg
Single by Fatboy Slim
from the album Better Living Through Chemistry
B-side "Michael Jackson"
Released 21 April 1997
Genre Big beat, alternative dance, electronic rock
Label Skint, Astralwerks
Writer(s) Norman Cook, Pete Townshend
Producer(s) Norman Cook
Fatboy Slim singles chronology
"Punk to Funk"
"Going Out of My Head"
"Everybody Needs a 303 (Remix – Everybody Loves a Carnival)"

"Going Out of My Head/Michael Jackson" is a song by British big beat musician Fatboy Slim. It was released as the third and final single from his debut studio album Better Living Through Chemistry on 21 April 1997. The song contains prominent samples from Yvonne Elliman's "I Can't Explain" and Led Zeppelin's "The Crunge". It was featured in the films The Jackal and Like Mike.

Background and composition[edit]

Samples from American singer Yvonne Elliman's "I Can't Explain" are present in "Going Out of My Head".

Produced by Fatboy Slim for his debut studio album Better Living Through Chemistry (1996), "Going Out of My Head" features guitar riff samples from American singer Yvonne Elliman's cover version of "I Can't Explain", originally performed by English rock band The Who.[1] It also samples drums from "The Crunge" by English rock band Led Zeppelin.[2] A big beat song,[3] "Going Out of My Head" incorporates musical elements such as shuffle drum beats and "Space Age sound effects" into its instrumentation.[4] Primarily an instrumental track, the song's vocals consist solely of a repeating sample of a voice singing "Going out of my head."[5] Journalist Yoshi Kato, writing for the book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, describes it as a "groovy dance-rock hybrid".[4] Jon Dolan of City Pages remarked that the song "transmogrif[ies] '64 mod into '97 postmod" with its looping of the "I Can't Explain" riff around a "space-funk tune".[6] Michael Jackson features samples of Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A, Michael Jackson by Negativland and What Have We Got by Sham 69.

Critical reception[edit]

"Going Out of My Head" received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. John Harris of The Independent on Sunday praised the song's samples of "I Can't Explain" as "extremely artful",[7] while Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post cited it as the album's most effective tracks.[8] Adam Webb of the Daily Herald published a rave review of "Going Out of My Head", writing that it "has the potential to be one of the first techno tracks to cross over into rock anthem territory."[4] Nathan Brackett of Rolling Stone was less favourable, remarking that the song "strays into novelty."[9]


"Going Out of My Head" was released as the third single from Better Living Through Chemistry on 21 April 1997.[10] Fatboy Slim selected the song for release as a single at the insistence of his close friends, British electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers.[11] It became the first Fatboy Slim release to enter the top 100 of the UK Singles Chart, debuting at its peak position of number 57 on the chart week of 3 May 1997.[12][13] The single earned Fatboy Slim a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the artist with the most entries on the UK Singles Chart under different pseudonyms.[14] He had previously entered the chart under a number of different stage names, including Mighty Dub Katz and Pizzaman.[15] "Going Out of My Head" also became Fatboy Slim's first single to chart in the United States,[11] peaking at number 28 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.[16]

Initially, Fatboy Slim and his label Skint Records did not get proper clearance for the song's samples of "I Can't Explain".[17] When "Going Out of My Head" was later selected for inclusion on the soundtrack of the 1997 film The Jackal, The Who lead singer Pete Townshend – who had been given an advance listening of the soundtrack – recognized the samples and reportedly "flipped his wig".[18] Townshend was later given songwriting credits on "Going Out of My Head" for use of the samples, while Fatboy Slim subsequently had to give up publishing royalties for the song.[17] Regarding the sample clearance issue, he later quipped: "I usually fly by on the seat of my pants... but every now and then I get caught."[17]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Going Out of My Head" was directed by Doug Aitken.[19] Featuring various breakdancers performing a b-boy routine to the song,[20] the clip received heavy airplay on the MTV television network.[21] It was later nominated for Dance Video of the Year at the 1997 Music Video Production Association (MVPA) Awards.[22] The Washington Post cited the video in an article detailing the late 1990s revival of breakdancing culture.[20]


Chart (1997) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 57
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[16] 28


  1. ^ George-Warren, Holly; Mamone, Jordan N.; Pearlman, Nina, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (3rd, revised ed.). Fireside Books. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9. 
  2. ^ "Fatboy Slim by Fatboy Slim". iTunes Store. Apple. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Winterson, Julia; Nickol, Peter; Bricheno, Toby (2003). Pop Music: The Text Book. Edition Peters. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-84367-007-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Dimery, Robert, ed. (2010). 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. Cassell. p. 774. ISBN 1-84403-684-7. 
  5. ^ Webb, Adam (13 March 1998). "Norman Cook's alias Fatboy Slim can't hinder rockin' music. (Time Out)". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ Dolan, Jon (22 October 1997). "Fat Boy Slim: Better Living Through Chemistry". City Pages. Minneapolis. Retrieved 4 June 2013. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Harris, John (11 May 2003). "Books: Oi! Are you making a record with my bird?; Remember Damon, Justine and Liam? Steve Jelbert looks back at Britpop, the fad that briefly united Blair and Blur". The Independent on Sunday. London. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ Jenkins, Mark (7 December 1997). "From Britain, the Rave of the Future". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan (7 October 1997). "Fatboy Slim: Better Living Through Chemistry". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  10. ^ "Going Out of My Head – Fatboy Slim". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Better Living Through Chemistry – Fatboy Slim". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "May 1997/ Archive Chart: 3 May 1997" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Fatboy Slim". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Larkin, Colin (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music. Muze. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7535-0427-7. 
  15. ^ Shapiro, Peter (1999). Drum 'n' Bass: The Rough Guide (Jungle, Big Beat, Trip Hop). Rough Guides. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-85828-433-0. 
  16. ^ a b "Fatboy Slim – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Fatboy Slim. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  17. ^ a b c Chaplin, Julia (July 1998). "In the Studio". Spin. New York: 64. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Beck, Marilyn; Smith, Stacy Jenel (6 November 1997). "'Chicago' Looking Something Less Than Rosie (L.A. Life)". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  19. ^ "'Going Out Of My Head' by Fatboy Slim | Music Video". VH1. Viacom Media Networks. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Kaufman, Sarah (22 March 1998). "Hippity Hippity Hop; Old-School Breakdancing Writhes Again". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ Wartofsky, Alona (19 April 1998). "Meet the Big Beat; Fatboy Slim Plunders Other Music to Craft a New Genre". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  22. ^ Hay, Carla (28 March 1998). "From Apple To Spice, The MVPA '97 Video Nominees". Billboard. New York. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 

External links[edit]