Editor’s note: When Palisadian Alan Eisenstock is not researching and writing one of his nonfiction books (18 thus far!), he pursues what he calls “a crazy labor of love side project” that he started a year ago: sending a weekly Covid-themed playlist of songs to his family and friends. These playlists (which can be downloaded on Spotify CLICK HERE span rock ‘n’ roll and pop music from the 1950s to 2020, and Eisenstock adds one or two lines of commentary about each song that is clever, amusing and informative.)
The COVID relief package has been signed into law despite continuous displays of foolish behavior by many elected representatives. Man, there are some breathtakingly stupid fools on Capitol Hill. What to do? Idea. Here are 23 songs with “fool” in the title. Listen up!
- “Everybody Plays the Fool” The Main Ingredient. R&B trio formed in Harlem. They originally called themselves The Poets. This was the Main’s main hit from 1972, nominated for a Grammy.
- “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. Frankie, R&B soprano, and the Teenagers were really teenagers when they recorded this smash hit in 1956. Another Harlem-based group.
- “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” Connie Francis. Born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, Connie sang this #1 hit in 1960, written by Jack Keller and Howard Greenfield. Apropos of nothing, Jack was an excellent accordion player, something that we didn’t have in common.
- “What A Fool Believes” The Doobie Brothers. 1978 hit from the Minute By Minutealbum, co-written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. As previously mentioned, the Doobies appeared on the excellent sitcom, What’s Happening! It was a two-parter.
- “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Elvin Bishop. Blues guitarist, songwriter, and original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Elvin wrote this song in 1975. LOVE. Elvin said his mediocre voice made him a better songwriter. I don’t get the connection.
- “Poor Little Fool” Ricky Nelson. TV star, teen idol, and terrible actor, Ricky or Rick, when he turned twenty-one, sings this breakout hit from 1958. I put this in a recent playlist, but it’s such a good “fool” song, I had to include it.
- “Chain of Fools” Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul belts this beauty from 1967. The song was written by the great R&B songwriter Don Covay who also wrote “Pony Time” for Chubby Checker.
- “The Fool on The Hill” The Beatles. From 1967 and the Magical Mystery Touralbum. Allegedly, the fool Paul writes about here is a deceptively wise man, unlike the dolts I’m referring to in Washington.
- “I Was A Fool to Care” James Taylor. Golden-throated James sings this R&B-infused song, released in 1975 from his album Gorilla. Some critics said this is JT’s “Marvin Gaye” album. I kind of see it. I think.
- “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)” Elvis Presley. Extremely popular song written in 1940 by Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom. Ricky Nelson actually recorded one of the biggest selling versions. The song has been covered by everyone from Sinatra to Shirley Bassey to Bow Wow Wow.
- “Foolish Little Girl” The Shirelles. R&B girl group formed in their NJ high school. This 1963 hit was written by Helen Miller and Howard Greenfield, the same guy who wrote Connie Francis’s “fool” song. He’s also known for his collaborations with Neil Sedaka.
- “Fool for Love” Lord Huron. L.A.-based indie-folk band, Ben Schneider the lead singer and songwriter. The band’s most famous song “The Night We Met” has been streamed 680 million times. LOVE this song.
- “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)” The Tams. R&B group from Atlanta recorded this big hit in 1964. The song was covered by many artists, including Del Shannon, a good thing for the Tams since this was the Tams’ only hit.
- “What Kind of Fool Am I” Sammy Davis, Jr. Great entertainer and member of the Rat Pack, Sammy sings this smash hit from the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley 1962 musical, Stop the World–I Want To Get Off. Sammy used to do fast draw and rope tricks in his act, exactly what I did in the sixth-grade talent show at Joseph Metcalfe Elementary School in Holyoke, MA.
- “Fools Gold” Fitz and the Tantrums. Neo-soul band from L.A. that rips it up in person. This “foolish” song is guaranteed to make you dance. When asked how they got their name, Fitz (Mike Fitzpatrick) said, “Because of our crazy insane tantrum-like energy.”
- “Fool for You” The Impressions. Formed in Chattanooga, TN as the Roosters (so many bird groups), this R&B group relocated to Chicago, added Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, and became the Impressions. This was written by Curtis and released in 1968.
- “Fool in The Rain” Led Zeppelin. Brits Robert Plant and Jimmy Page lead this oh-so-famous band. This song, which at one point turns into an insane samba, is my favorite Zep song. For some reason, the band never played this song live.
- “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” Nat King Cole. Brits Eric Maschwitz and Jack Strachey wrote this standard for a 1938 stage show. Many, many versions since, none better than Nathaniel Adams Cole’s. Actress Hermione Gingold, Maschwitz’s wife, said he wrote it for her. He said, “Yeah. Maybe.”
- “Call Me A Fool” Valerie June, Carla Thomas. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, June wrote this song about being, you know, a fool. Features soul superstar Carla Thomas.
- “Caravan of Fools” John Prine. It’s been almost a year since John died of COVID. This great song is from The Tree of Forgiveness,his last album, recorded in 2018. He had pretty much lost his voice, but not his ability to write brilliant lyrics: “The silence of everything that moves…” LOVE.
- “What Kind of Fool” Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb. The legendary Babs in duet with the former Bee Gee, who wrote this song off Streisand’s 1981 album, Guilty. Interesting vocal combination. I think I like it. You?
- “Even A Fool Would Let Go” Levon Helm. Former singer and drummer for The Band, the late Levon, born Mark, Helm, sings this country classic covered by everybody from Dionne Warwick to Joe Cocker. I like anything by the Band or former Band members.
- “Everybody Plays the Fool” Aaron Neville. We end where we began. Aaron, the King of New Orleans as far I’m concerned, just slays this song. LOVE.
Well, I bet that’s the most “foolish” playlist you’ll ever hear. Some advice…
Don’t Forget to Disinfect and… PLAY IT LOUD!
The link again: CLICK HERE.
As you know by now, I did play the accordion. So did Jack Keller. He was better. Everybody was better.
I didn’t do fast draw or rope tricks for my sixth-grade talent show. Probably should have.
That rather lame explanation is really how the Tantrums got their name.
Eric Maschwitz may have written “These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You” for his wife, Hermione Gingold, but nobody knows for sure. She thought so.
LAST WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
Most popular glasses-wearer Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison? It’s ROY by an eyelash!
THIS WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
Which version of “Everybody Plays The Fool” you got? The Main Ingredient or Aaron Neville?
I don’t vote in the polls, so I would “Neville” try to influence your vote.
Until next week,