Thursday, April 01, 2010
Happy April Fool’s Day from the fun-lovin' pranksters at Rock Turtleneck. There are a surprising number of songs with the word Fool in them. One is “F-f-f-foolin” by my least favorite band of all time, Def Leppard. But we won’t be talking about that one because I can’t bear to listen to them. But here are some others.
Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
This is one of the greatest, biggest hits of the doo-wop era. I always thought the Jackson 5 should have covered it. I guess that won’t be happening anytime soon.
The Doobie Brothers, “What a Fool Believes”
Once the Doobies added Michael McDonald, who had sung with Steely Dan among many others, they went from southern-fried boogie to yacht rock, the breezy, caucasian genre dedicated to low stress and good times. McDonald is considered the patron saint of yacht rock, this was the Doobies’ biggest hit, and it was co-written by Kenny Loggins, so I guess this is the ultimate yacht rock song, with the possible exception of Christopher Cross' "Sailing." Batten down the hatches.
The Rolling Stones, “Fool to Cry”
Black and Blue, the album on which “Fool to Cry” appears, was considered a decadent dud upon its release in 1976, but it has aged well, in a decadent kind of way.
Stone Roses, “Fool's Gold”
This trippy dancefreakout was the highlight of Stone Roses' 1990 debut record and the high-water mark for the Manchester scene. The album version is like 8 minutes long and never wears out its welcome.
Led Zeppelin, “Fool in the Rain”
One of my favorite tracks by the band, especially the saloon-style break in the middle. I don’t think Zeppelin ever played it live, but Robert Plant sang it with Pearl Jam a couple years back.
The Beatles, “The Fool on the Hill”
From Songfacts.com: "It's about a man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom. An event which prompted this song happened when Paul was walking his dog Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared. A friend of McCartney's, Alistair Taylor, was present with Paul during this strange incident, and wrote of this event in his book, Yesterday."
Pete Townshend, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
I happen to enjoy Townshend's voice a lot more than Daltrey's, and here's a great version from the 1979 Secret Policeman's Ball with classical guitarist John Williams lending a little highbrow credibility.
Rufus Wainwright, “April Fools”
Kudos to the talented, opera-loving Mr. Wainwright for delivering the only song here that is actually about April Fools Day and not just the concept of fools in general.