2006: Crazy By Gnarls Barkley

Composed by Brian Burton, Thomas Callaway, Gian Franco Reverberi and Gian Piero Reverberi. Recorded by American soul duo Gnarls Barkley for their debut album St.Elsewhere. The song became the first single in the UK to reach No.1 on download only sales. It spent nine weeks at No.1 in the UK before the band and their record company decided to remove the single from music stores so people would “remember the song fondly and not get sick of it”. In spite of this removal from stores, the song became the biggest-selling single of 2006 in the UK. Chart-History. Genres: Electronica, Neo Soul. Crazy won a Grammy Award in Best Urban/Alternative Performance and was named the best song of 2006 by Rolling Stone Magazine. Famously, the duo performed the song at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards, with Danger Mouse and CeeLo dressed as various Star Wars characters.

Musically, Crazy was inspired by the film scores of spaghetti westerns, in particular by the works of Ennio Morricone (best known as the composer of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy), but more specifically the song Last Man Standing by Gian Piero Reverberi and Gian Franco Reverberi from the 1968 spaghetti western Django, Prepare a Coffin. The lyrics for the song developed out of a conversation between Danger Mouse and CeeLo, the duo that make up Gnarls Barkley. Said Danger Mouse (Brian Joseph Burton) “I somehow got off on this tangent about how people won’t take an artist seriously unless they’re insane, so we started jokingly discussing ways in which we could make people think we were crazy. CeeLo (Thomas DeCarlo Callaway) took that conversation and made it into Crazy which we recorded in one take”. The song has been featured in many films and television shows.

Two videos were released for the song, one by Gnarls Barkley and one by their record label. The Gnarls Barkley version is done in the style of the Rorschach test, a psychological test in which peoples perceptions of inkblots are recorded and analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. When asked about their stage name, CeeLo replied “You ask me why we’re called Gnarls Barkley and I’m asking you why not?’ The name Gnarls Barkley isn’t anchored down. It’s a drifter. A High Plains drifter, I might add”. Danger Mouse said “There’s no story behind it. The name doesn’t have anything to do with anything”.