Fish Heads (song)

"Fish Heads" is a novelty song by comedy rock duo Barnes & Barnes, released as a single in 1978 and later featured on their 1980 album Voobaha.[1] It is the most requested song on the Dr. Demento radio show, and a music video for the song made in 1980 was in regular rotation on MTV.[2][3]

"Fish Heads"
Single by Barnes & Barnes
from the album Voobaha
B-side"High School Gym"
LabelLumania Records
Songwriter(s)Barnes & Barnes


The song is about fish heads, laughing and happy in the morning, floating in the soup in the evening, and all the things they are not able to do, such as answering questions because they can't talk, playing baseball, wearing sweaters, dancing, playing drums, or being seen "drinking cappuccinos in Italian restaurants with Oriental women". The song also notes that fish heads can do some unique things, like get into movies without having to buy tickets. It is accompanied by a high-pitched chorus, achieved by speeding up the tape, which repeats the original's chorus: "Fish heads! Fish heads! Roly poly fish heads! Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up! Yum!".


The song was featured on Barnes & Barnes' 1982 Fish Heads (Greatest Hits) 12-inch on Rhino Records.[4]

Music videoEdit

Actor Bill Paxton, a filmmaker at the time, directed and appeared in the music video for the song, along with cinematographer Rocky Schenck and Robert Haimer's girlfriend at the time, Joan Farber, who designed the costume look. The video aired on NBC television on Saturday Night Live, on December 6, 1980 and the following week. Dr. Demento had a cameo as the bum.

In popular cultureEdit

The song is featured in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror VII". Alan Arkin sings the song in the 1993 movie Indian Summer. In the 2017 television episode "Goodwill" of Halt and Catch Fire Joe and Haley listen to the song while driving in Joe's car.[5][6]

Cover versionsEdit

  • Wild Man Fischer released a cover of "Fish Heads" on his album Pronounced Normal.
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry released a cover of "Fish Heads" as a Desireless B-side.
  • Buck 65 recorded a cover of "Fish Heads" set to the music of Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba". The cover appears on a 2007, tour-only CD-R titled, Heck.


  1. ^ Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads on YouTube
  2. ^ Buck, David (18 July 2019). "Eat Them Up, Yum!". Tedium. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Dr. Demento - About". Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  4. ^ "Barnes & Barnes - Fish Heads (Greatest Hits)". Discogs. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ Collins, Sean T. (9 October 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Recap, Season 4, Episode 8: 'It Was a Beautiful Service'". Decider. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  6. ^ Perkins, Dennis (7 October 2017). "A lovely, restrained Halt And Catch Fire lets everyone grieve in their own way". The A.V. Club. G/O Media. Retrieved 2 January 2020.