"I Go to Extremes" is the fourth track on Billy Joel's 1989 album, Storm Front. It was released as the second single from the album in 1990. It peaked at the number six position on the Billboard Hot 100, and at #70 on the UK chart. The song was also a top ten hit on both the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was also a top 40 hit in Germany, peaking at #36 on the German charts.
At one point considered a song about a manic-depressive, the song was originally written as an apology to Joel's wife at the time, Christie Brinkley. The B-side to the single was another song that appeared on the same album, "When in Rome". The music video consists of Joel and his backing band playing the song in a room. The song received a mostly positive response, and a live version appears on the album 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert. During live performances, Joel would often jokingly change the lyrics to the chorus, as well as to various lines in the song.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press believes that the song chronicles the highs and lows of a "manic-depressive". However, according to Joel, the song is an apology that is directed to his then wife, Christie Brinkley. Joel was apologizing for his erratic personality. In live concerts, Joel would often jokingly create new lyrics for the chorus, such as "I go for ice cream," and "I got a new wife on the cover of Life." The song is believed to be about Joel's own lifestyle. The b-side to the single release was another song from the album, "When in Rome". The music video consists of Joel playing with musicians in a room.
Storm Front is the eleventh studio album by Billy Joel and his first to be recorded digitally. Released in 1989. The album featured one of Joel's three #1 hits, "We Didn't Start the Fire", a fast-paced song mentioning some of the major historical events that took place in his time. "I Go to Extremes", a song describing the ups and downs of his life, placed at #6. Other songs that placed in the top 100 were "And So It Goes" (#37), "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" (#57), and "That's Not Her Style" (#77). The cover depicts a storm warning flag.