|Single by the Jesus and Mary Chain|
|from the album Automatic|
|Genre||Alternative rock, post-punk|
|Label||Blanco y Negro|
|Songwriter(s)||William Reid, Jim Reid|
|Producer(s)||Jim Reid, William Reid|
|The Jesus and Mary Chain singles chronology|
"Head On" is a song written by Jim Reid and William Reid of the Scottish alternative rock band the Jesus and Mary Chain. It was originally recorded for the group's 1989 album Automatic and was released as a single in November 1989.
In the UK, it was released in seven different formats, including four 7" singles. One 7" single was released per week, and one of them included a cardboard box to house the full set.
The single reached #57 in the UK. In the US, it was broadcast a lot on Alternative radio, so it reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart which listed the most played songs on college radios. In Australia, the single peaked at #102 on the ARIA singles chart.
The song has been covered by several other groups, most notably the American alternative rock band Pixies on their fourth studio album, Trompe Le Monde. The melody and lyrics of the chorus are also quoted by Liz Phair in "Slave," the fourth song from the Sooty tape of her self-produced Girly-Sound tapes.
Denise Sullivan of Allmusic described the song as "blueprint post-punk in the tradition of Joy Division/New Order." The song relies on a synth bass and a drum machine, latter of which provides a pop-influenced new wave beat. While the song lacks the layers of guitar feedback of the band's previous works, it features a "1950s-style riff," provided by William Reid. The song's style was also compared to the sound of the Beach Boys.
|UK Singles (OCC)||57|
|US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)||2|
|Single by Pixies|
|from the album Trompe le Monde|
|A-side||"Head On" (Single Mix)|
|Songwriter(s)||Jim Reid, William Reid|
|Pixies singles chronology|
By 1991, Pixies refused to film music videos for their singles. After a long debate with Elektra Records, their record company in the United States, the band relented and agreed to film a video, as long as the song was done completely live. Peter Lubin, the A&R representative of Elektra at the time, later explained the situation:
By completely live that means full band, vocals, cameras roll, video's done by the end of two minutes and 13 seconds. One take, that's it. So those became the ground rules, that was the only way you were going to get a Pixies video for 'Head On' or anything else.
Lubin then came up with the idea for the video. Twelve cameras would be placed, "dividing" each band member into three blocks. Frontman Black Francis was happy with this idea, so Scott Litt was then hired to produce the video. After the video had been filmed, Elektra invited the "whole decision-making team from MTV" to view it. "Head On"'s video was then added onto MTV's rotation, with the video later receiving the "Breakthrough Video" award.
All songs written by Black Francis, except where otherwise noted.
|US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)||6|