Vintage Paperbacks: Starring Toni Basil

Over my Head

I’m a sucker for vintage paperback covers. I’m a sucker for cheesy 1980s music videos. So, it should go without saying that I have a fondness for the video to Toni Basil’s “Over my Head”, where she pops in and out of the covers of various old-timey crime novels.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up some of those books online…

The first book to be spotlighted in the video is Dance of Death, a Dell Mystery by Helen McCloy – although McCloy’s name was removed, and the puppet-woman on the cover was redrawn to show Toni Basil as she initially appears in the video.

John Gearson’s Velvet Well from Penguin Books also turns up. This time, Toni’s silhouette replaces the male figure on the original cover.

Here we have Ace’s Fear no More, by Leslie Edgley. As can be seen, the mid-century fashions sported by Toni in the video were not based directly around those worn by the characters on the covers.

I haven’t been able to trace these two. Forbidden View, with its achingly 1980s aesthetic, appears to be of rather more recent vintage than most of the books in the video. Matthew Head was indeed the name of an author who wrote Dell Mysteries, but I have found no reference online to a book of his called The Edge. If this book exists then I imagine that the original cover looked quite different, as that’s clearly a 1980s airbrush picture of Toni Basil…

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