These Foolish Things

I meant to put up this post for April Fools’ Day earlier today but I had a late one last night. I’ve been listening to over a hundred songs about fooling and joking over the last few days and I’ve managed to whittle that number down to an even half dozen. Lots of these songs are in the soul genre and most of them are about how love makes fools of even the wisest of people. The first two songs have become standards and were both recorded by Frank Sinatra during his prolific career. He was one of the first singers to perform Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread) in 1940. The lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer and the music by Rube Bloom and its content can be summed up brilliantly in these lines: “Fools rush in where wise men never go/But wise men never fall in love”. Zooey Deschanel does it justice on She & Him‘s 2010 version for Levi’s Pioneer Sessions

These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) is even older and dates from around 1936. It is a list song that was written by Eric Maschwitz (words) and Jack Strachev (music). It is a testament to the timelessness of the song that most of the things that remind the narrator of his lover are still relevant today. In 1973, Bryan Ferry took a break from Roxy Music to record it as the title track of his debut solo album. He also included a Lennon & McCartney number on that record and they are also the writers of Fool on the Hill, from the 1967 Magical Mystery Tour album and film. Apparently, the song concerns the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the contrast between his supposedly foolish outward image and his wise inner one. The song has been covered quite a bit over the years, with The Impressions from Chicago delivering their, eh, impression of the song on their 1969 album, The Versatile Impressions

A year later, The Tams from Atlanta released Too Much Foolin’ Around. It wasn’t a success then, but it became a Northern Soul hit in England a few years later. New Yorker Eugene Pitt does a faithful version of this excellent tune on his Steppin’ Out in Front album from 2009. Also from The Big Apple, The Main Ingredient had their biggest hit in 1972 with Everybody Plays the Fool. It was given the reggae treatment three years later by The Chosen Few from Kingston, Jamaica. Finally, Liverpudlian Kathryn Williams brings her folk background to bear on her version of the oft-covered I Started a Joke. It’s one of the best songs from the early part of The Bee Gees’ career and originally appeared on their 1968 album, Idea. It wasn’t released as a single in Britain, but it made the top ten in the USA. Kathryn Williams’ version appears on her 2004 Relations album. So, with the first of April nearly over, I’ve managed to get through it without being the victim of any practical jokes. I hope you got through it okay as well

Fools Rush In (cover) – She & Him

These Foolish Things (cover) – Bryan Ferry

Fool On The Hill (Beatles cover) – The Impressions

Too Much Foolin’ Around (The Tams cover) – Eugene Pitt

Everybody Plays The Fool (Main Ingredient cover) – The Chosen Few

I Started A Joke (Bee Gees cover) – Kathryn Williams

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