Live version appears on Live at the Bass Performance Hall (2008) and One Man Show (2012)
I love this song! One of my favorites of Lindsey's solo work. In fact, the live version of this on "The Dance" video was done so passionately I decided I had to have the album it was on! He starts off with that "winners, losers" theme we see so often with him and Stevie (see Never Going Back Again, for instance). When he talks about losing his "power," I believe he's talking about letting his love for Stevie control him - she had power over him instead of the other way around - and he allowed it, he "did not use" his own power in that relationship for fear of losing her. So, instead, he's forced to "go insane" - his frustration's driving him crazy! The line "And I call your name - she's a lot like you" is very interesting. His girlfriend at the time - Carol Ann - was very addicted to drugs when this song was written (see I Must Go), as was Stevie. Maybe he saw them both as self-destructive in this way. Or, perhaps he saw them both as destructive to HIM - Carol Ann because of the drugs, Stevie because he thought she played games with him and caused him a lot of pain.
In the second verse, we get the same kind of idea - people are either taking their life into their own hands and "living," or they're already "dying." Again, it's no coincidence that Lindsey, an American, spells "rumours" the same way as the album - that's when he broke up with Stevie, and everybody knew about it. Repeating the chorus, he's again voicing his incredible frustration about the relationships he keeps getting in and the insanity they cause in his life. As a side note - I've tried to figure out what is said at the very end, and all I can hear clearly is "Loving you" (even those words are in doubt). I'm really curious as to what he says there - if anybody knows, e-mail me.
Like the other songs on Go Insane (the album dedicated to Carol Harris), I think this song is about Carol Harris, Lindseys recently ex-girlfriend at the time. From some of his statements to the press, Lindsey hinted that he came to view Carol as almost two people. There was the Carol he saw now who had so many (drug-related) problems, and with whom Lindsey had many troubles. Then there was the Carol with whom he originally fell in love, and who he still longed for. Shes a lot like you -- he can see both sides of her and is both attracted and repulsed by the fact that she can be so different, but still so much the same as before. Hes unable to help Carol fix her current problems (I lost my power), and he finds it difficult to reconcile the two sides of her. Hes helpless to control his destiny with Carol anymore - so I go insane, like I always do.
I think the song is also about the feeling that hes not in control of his own destiny as part of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey was never enamored of Rumours success the way everyone else in the band was because he was uncomfortable that too much focus was on personal lives and not the music. When he tried to change things with Tusk, but it didnt succeed on the same scale, he felt abandoned and disregarded (I lost my power in this world) by the rest of the band when they publicly questioned his artistic choices and insisted that the band move back to safer territory with Mirage. The English spelling is used to cleverly allude back to exactly what he wanted to get away from about Rumours, and the bands desire to return to the Rumours formula with Mirage. As a result of feeling like hes lost his influence to affect things that are central to his life and happiness (love and music), hes seeing the world in desperate extremes - winners/losers, living/dying no middle ground. Theres nowhere to go to feel safe and protected in either of his worlds that used to be his sanctuaries so I go insane. The question is is this "insanity" healthy or unhealthy? According to DW Suite, it may be an escape (if only temporary), and not so bad after all.
On your lyrical interpretation of " Go Insane" you mention hearing a hidden message. I think what Lindsey is singing is "lovely new sanction". My intrepretation of the song is that Lindsey feels he is being artistically suffocated by FM but that his work with FM is by by far the most financially lucrative. Therefore the sanctaions he faces with FM are indeed "lovely". He finds artistic sucess by "going insane" and doing his unconventional solo work.
I've had my speculations about this song since I've first heard it. I really, really like it, and I get the VERY strong feeling that this is about Stevie. Especially the verse "So I go insane, like I always do. And I call your name, she's a lot like you." I believe this relates to the many, many women in Lindsey's life, and how most of them have borne a very similar resemblance to Stevie! I think that it also talks about his relationships, and how something always ruins them, and he goes insane and thinks of Stevie and realizes that he's basing his love for other women on his love for Stevie. He is also referring to "Winners, losers" as Stevie being succesful in her solo world, and him not getting as far as he would like, and "living, dying" being the fact that no one is forever at peace, and nothing is ever picture perfect. "I lost my power in this world, because I did not use it." This refers to losing Stevie, and how he lost her due to the fact that maybe he didn't see her slipping away until the last minute, and he never used the power he had to make her stay. "The rumours are flying" is about the many rumours in the tabloids over him and Stevie, and him and Fleetwood Mac, and all these troubles that he's going through.
This song is just classic Lindsey. It shows how even when a song isn't about Stevie, it's ABOUT Stevie. He always addresses her in some form, and just like she is the "you" in "Never Going Back Again", which is about another girl, he still feels the need to address Stevie. He also does this in "It Was I", he adresses Stevie first, then Carol at the end, where he says "never gonna break up" (yeah, right), and he is doing the same thing here.
I think he is talking about both women, Stevie and Carol. He feels bad things are going south with Carol, and it makes him think of his last "break up" if you could call it that. Stevie and Lindsey were apart, but together. They didn't live together anymore, but they loved each other. They weren't a couple, but they still had an occasional physical relationship. He was committed to Carol, but he desired Stevie. I'm sure it was very confusing for him and made him feel conflicted and, well insane.
"I call your name" alludes that possibly he did go to Stevie for comfort. They both have expressed lyrically how sex can be used to make you feel better, or to deal with a problem, so they seem to understand each other from that point of view anyway. The "Go Insane" and "Wild Heart" eras are evidently the time periods where this occurred the most....using sex to deal with problems, that is, based on their lyrics from that time. Unfortunately for them, this mentality kept them from ever working anything out. So much so, that Lindsey finally hit a breaking point and left the band and Stevie, because, as he said himself, he couldn't deal with his feelings for her unless she wasn't "in my (his) face everyday". That was necessary because the sexual attraction kept getting in the way. It made him feel weak and powerless, which he hated.
As stated by others, the theme of "winners and losers" runs as a powerful constant between Stevie and Lindsey. See Races are Run, Long Distance Winner, Never Going Back Again, Rhiannon, and many others along with Go Insane.
That part at the end is kind of blurry, but I've always clearly heard it as "only hallucination". That's a lot of syllables to cram in there, but it fits- and it fits with the song itself.
I do believe that at the end of the song where there are three parts layered on each other that he's saying: "Go, Go" in the highest voice, then you hear "go-ing insane" and the third and lowest voice says go "go insane" a third time. You'll need to put on headphones to hear it, but I'd bet my life that's what he's saying. His reason for speaking the same words with an emphasis on different syllables might reaffairm his belief that insanity is not easily definable.
Lindsey said it was about Going Insane with someone he cared about! She finally left with a pd.education, a car and a penthouse to live in! Nice Guy!:-)
Destiny rules [above] hears right at the coda!GO! Lindsey is a Clever Music Arranger!