By Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2023. No part of this text may be reproduced or re-blogged in whole or in part, in any manner without permission of the copyright owner
We are always surrounded by fools and jokers,
so let’s celebrate them in song…
On April Fool’s Day, let’s start with my favorite – ‘April Fool,’ penned by Patti Smith and Tony Shanahan. It’s the first single from Patti’s 11th album Banga, released in the summer of 2012. Even more special is that it features (the late) great Tom Verlaine on guitar. The song is dedicated to of Patti’s favorite authors, Nikolai Gogol who was born on this day in 1809 Ukraine, and also to her friend Milosh, who would always visit her on his rusty bicycle.
WATCH: Live in London – Troxy – 13 September 2012
Check out Patti giving a track-by-track explanation of the songs featured on her album ‘Banga’:
‘When Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)’ originated in 1936 and was made popular by Glen Miller and his orchestra in 1940 (and later by Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra). Johnny Mercer wrote new lyrics, which became widely covered by many greats in all genres of music.
Fools rush in where wise men never go
But wise men never fall in love so how are they to know
When we met I felt my life began
So open up your heart and let this fool rush in.
Here is a version by Elvis in 1972: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W0DHaW0PPA
‘I’m a Fool to Care’ is a blues tune with nice horn arrangements by Fats Domino. Although the name Fats was adapted from his hero Fats Waller, Domino was his actual surname. I always marveled at the fact that Fats Domino and Chubby Checker were named after game pieces. It turns that Chubby was impersonating Fats one day, and a friend suggested the name Checker for him!
‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love?’ was a huge hit for Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers in 1956. At age 13 when he sang the song, Frankie was Ronnie Spector’s favorite singer. He died of a heroin overdose in 1968 at the age of 25.
‘Fools Fall in Love’ is another great Lieber & Stoller hit performed by The Drifters and released in 1957.
One of Bowie’s favorite British vocalists, Anthony Newley co-wrote and released ‘What Kind of Fool am I?’ in 1962. It’s from the musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off. It won a Grammy and an Ivor Novello award. It’s been recorded by many other artists, including Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley, Bassey, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Tony Bennett and an instrumental by the great jazz pianist Bill Evans.
Sam Cooke recorded ‘Get Yourself Another Fool.’ It was released in 1963 on his 10th album Night Beat. This is a smooth blues ballad, with 16-year-old Billy Preston on organ!
‘Find Yourself Another Fool’ by Muddy Waters can be found on the 1970 compilation album, They Call Me Muddy Waters.
‘The Fool on the Hill’ was written by Paul McCartney for The Beatles album Magical Mystery Tour, released in 1967.
“’The Fool on the Hill’ was mine and I think I was writing about someone like the Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn’t taken too seriously. It was this idea of a fool on the hill, a guru in a cave that I was attracted to.”
– Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
‘Chain of Fools’ is by the great Aretha Franklin. Released in 1967. This was originally written for Otis Redding, but the composer Don Covay decided that it was best for Aretha.
‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ is a brilliant classic by The Who. The funniest story about this song is when a friend brought me backstage at a John Entwistle concert. There was nothing but drinks being served. Entwistle said, “What is this? The “Won’t Get Food Again tour?” I wondered if it might have been in his tour rider to omit food from the backstage fare, just so that he could utter those words! The Who play this live at almost every one of their concerts. It appears on Who’s Next released in 1971. The single was produced by Glyn Johns at the Stones’ studio Stargroves, with an amazing synthesizer track.
‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ was a hit for The Main Ingredient in the summer of 1972. The singer of this song was the father of Cuba Gooding Jr. This could easily pass as a Marvin Gaye tune. It was later recorded by Aaron Neville.
‘Fooled Around and Fell in Love’ by Elvin Bishop was a big hit in 1976. It’s from the 1975 album Struttin’ My Stuff. Bishop’s backing singer Mickey Thomas is on lead vocals.
‘These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)’ is a standard from the 1930s. Bryan Ferry covered it on his debut solo album of the same name in 1973. Ferry released this while still fronting Roxy Music The album consisted of all cover songs – just as Bowie’s PinUps. However, whereas Bowie’s album consisted of mostly British Invasion covers, Bryan’s included some classics and standards.
LISTEN: Bryan Ferry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJBN-Nh7mCQ
Ferry also sang ‘A Fool for Love’ on his 11th studio album, Frantic released in 2002
‘Fool to Cry’ is on The Rolling Stones’ 1976 album Black and Blue. The album spotlighted the Stones’ love of black music – R&B, Soul, Reggae, Funk and the blues.
WATCH: Official promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-2MenrnR2U
MY STORY ABOUT THE ALBUM BLACK AND BLUE:
World Party was a band formed by Karl Wallinger of the Waterboys. They released ‘Ship of Fools’ in 1987.
Frank Zappa released ‘Dancin’ Fool’ in 1978, which is a brilliant mockery of disco! He even includes a bit of rap. This was actually nominated for a Grammy!
I got it all together now
With my very own disco clothes, hey
My shirt’s half open, just to show you my chain
And the spoon for up my nose
‘Foolin’ by Def Leppard was released in 1983 on their album Pyromania.
Read My Interview with Joe Elliott of Def Leppard:
The design team called The Fool designed Apple Boutique’s mural…
And REMEMBER – You won’t fool the children of the revolution!
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See more in my Playlist category:
About A Song
Eat to the Beat