This was Seal’s official debut solo single, released back in 1991. The song was inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. He later explained: “I felt the cycle had reached its apex. I felt the world changing and I felt profound things happening.” It gave Seal a top 10 hit in the UK and US.
Label: ZTT ZANG 8CD, ZTT 9031-73156-2
Format: CD, Single
Released: 26 Nov 1990
Genre: Electronic, Pop
Engineer Ren Swan, Robin Hancock, Tony Phillips
Mixed By Tony Phillips, Trevor Horn
2 Crazy (Extended Version)
Engineer Ren Swan, Robin Hancock, Tony Phillips
Mixed By Robin Hancock, Trevor Horn
Engineer, Mixed By Brian Malouf
Photography By Richard Croft (2)
Producer Trevor Horn
Producer [Uncredited] Tim Simenon (tracks: 3)
[Published by] Beethoven Street Music / Perfect Songs Ltd.
Track 1 & 2 recorded and mixed at Sarm West Studios.
Track 3 recorded at Sarm West Studios & mixed at CanAm Studios.
1990 ZTT Records Ltd.
© 1990 ZTT Records Ltd.
The copyright in this sound recording and artwork
is owned by WEA Records Ltd. A Time Warner Company.
Made in Germany
Durations do not appear on release.
Barcode: 0 9031-73156-2 1
Other (Distribution Code): France WE 739
Label Code: LC 4281
Rights Society: GEMA/BIEM
Matrix / Runout: 903173156-2 RSA
“Crazy” is a song written by English singer, Seal, and British songwriter, Guy Sigsworth. The song was produced by Trevor Horn for Seal’s debut album Seal (1991). Released as his official debut single, “Crazy” became one of Seal’s biggest hits. It reached the top five in the United Kingdom, while becoming his first top ten single in the United States. It has since been covered by several artists, including Alanis Morissette, whose version was released as a single from her album The Collection (2005).
Background and composition:
Seal wrote “Crazy” in 1990 inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. In 2015, Seal said of the song’s conception in 1990: “I felt the cycle had reached its apex. I felt the world changing and I felt profound things happening.”
According to the song’s producer Trevor Horn, “Crazy” was made over the course of two months: “Crazy wasn’t an easy record to make, because we were aiming high.”
The song’s signature is a keyboard mantra that continually swells and swirls, driven by bass-heavy beats and wah-wah pedal guitars played by Simply Red guitarist Kenji Suzuki. Its floating, ambient stylings established a sound years before “The Politics of Dancing” by Paul Van Dyk or William Orbit’s work with Madonna and All Saints. Orbit produced a remix of the track for the single release. Seal’s vocals are deeply melodic and soulful, at times with a characteristic rasp, while at others soaring high above the backing track.
Release and commercial performance
In the United Kingdom the song was released as the first single from the album Seal in November 1990 (see 1990 in music) and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in January 1991 and is Seal’s biggest solo hit there. The single sold over 200,000 copies, thus earning a BPI Silver certification. It won Seal a number of awards including the 1992 Ivor Novello award for songwriting.
The single was released in the United States in 1991, debuting at number eighty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-June; it peaked at number seven in late August and remained on the chart for nineteen weeks, until October. It reached the top five on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and the top twenty on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart. It was the most commercially successful single from Seal and was Seal’s biggest hit in the US until “Kiss from a Rose”, which reached number 1 in 1995. In August 2003 an acoustic version of “Crazy” charted at number four on Billboard’s Hot Digital Tracks chart.
Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, “U.K. newcomer comes on like a cross between Terence Trent D’Arby and Lenny Kravitz on this keyboard-driven funk’n’soul jam.” Music & Media called it “adventurous techno-pop by this promising UK singer who sang on Adamski’s recent hit single Killer. Produced by Trevor Horn, this classy, galloping mix of funk, soul and pop is currently riding high on the UK charts. Europe should be next.” Bob Mack from Spin noted Seal’s “stirring vocal that’s being compared to Marvin Gaye” and added that “based on a ’70s cop-show-type bass synth line, “Crazy” flows natch enough that you hum along on first listening.”
Music video and use in other media
The single’s music video, directed by Big TV!, features multiple re-creations of Seal himself performing the song against a primarily white background. A female dancer appears just before the bridge of the song, and at the end Seal holds a dove while snow falls on him.
The song plays during a party scene in the film Naked in New York (1993), is heard in a Baywatch episode, in the trailer for the film The Basketball Diaries (1995) and featured in a scene in Clockers, released in 1995. It is also heard in the middle of “True Calling”, the second episode of Season 6 of TV’s Cold Case. It was also used as a theme song for the ABC-TV series Murder One, which was transmitted during the 1995–1996 television season. It is also heard in the film Mystery Date. The song featured in the 1999 Robbie the Reindeer film Hooves of Fire, where it is performed by a seal.
Seal is seen singing this song on an episode of the ABC series Eli Stone.
The middle break of the song, “In a sky full of people / Only some want to fly / Isn’t that crazy?”, is repeated towards the end of Seal’s 1996 hit interpretation of “Fly Like an Eagle”.
The song is the fourth track on Just Say Anything, volume five of the Just Say Yes collection.
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