25 Songs About Fools, Fooling Or Being Fooled article presents a list of songs about fools, fooling or being fooled that is perfect for any day. Here at Classic Rock History.com, we were trying to come up with an April Fool’s joke to play on our readers. We thought about reporting that The Smiths or the Talking Heads were reuniting or that the Gallagher brothers from Oasis were speaking again or that Will Smith had slapped Chris Rock on live TV (wait – that one actually happened). Then we realized that our readers would see right through such ruses, so we decided instead to put together a list of songs about fools, fooling or being fooled.
Some might assume that the exclusion of a couple of songs are part of an April Fool’s joke. Fans of the Doors, The Grateful Dead, Bob Seger, and several other artists are probably looking at the list and saying: “Wait a minute… Where’s ‘Ship of Fool??’” Well, while compiling the list, we discovered that there are so many songs titled “Ship of Fools,” that they canceled each other out (songs with just that title might end up as a whole other list). We also chose not to include Elvin Bishop’s 1976 Top Five single “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” because that’s an entirely different use of the word “fool” (although the song itself is a classic).
So with all that out of the way, no more fooling, here’s the list.
#25 – “Find Another Fool” by Quarterflash
After a very successful debut single (“Harden My Heart”) Quarterflash – probably the only major rock band in history fronted by a female saxophone player – found another Top 20 hit with this one in 1982.
#24 – “Fooled Again (and I Don’t Like It)” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
This deep cut from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ self-titled 1976 debut album was one of the reasons why rock audiences did like them, and still do to this day.
#23 – “1000 More Fools” by Bad Religion
Our token punk song for the list is this angry and defiant anthem (“1000 more fools are being born/Every f-ing day”) from Bad Religion’s early album Suffer (1988).
#22 – “Fools” by Van Halen
Another classic rock deep cut, this one from Van Halen’s third album Women and Children First (1980), which also happens to be, at just under six minutes, the longest track of the band’s David Lee Roth era.
#21 – “Fools in Love” by Joe Jackson
The marketing of this cut from Joe Jackson’s 1978 debut album Look Sharp! seems itself like an April Fools Day joke, as it was only released as a single… in the Netherlands?? Still, the song is a good example of the way that British new wave artists of the time were embracing a reggae influence.
#20 – “Foolish Beat” by Debbie Gibson
Released when she was only sixteen, this 1988 hit made Debbie Gibson the youngest person ever to write, produce and record a number one single, a record which she still holds (hmmm…. Maybe not so foolish!).
#19 – “Nobody’s Fool” by Kenny Loggins
Nobody, we imagine, asked for a sequel to Caddyshack (certainly not one without Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield or the late Ted Knight). But when we did get Caddyshack II in 1989, at least Kenny Loggins got this hit from the soundtrack, his last US Top 10 single to date.
#18 – “Fool For Your Loving” by Whitesnake
Though a different version originally appears on Whitesnake’s 1980 album Ready and Willin’, it turns out the song wouldn’t be quite ready until nearly a decade later, when a re-recording done for their Slide It In LP made it into the US Top 40.
#17 – “Foolish Games” by Jewel
Alaskan songstress Jewel enjoyed her second hit to peak at number two (after “You Were Meant for Me”) in 1998 with this haunting ballad about how a lack of communication in a relationship can have disastrous and emotionally devastating consequences.
#16 – “More Fool Me” by Genesis
Sung by Phil Collins while Peter Gabriel was still the lead singer of Genesis, this whispery ballad hardly predicted that the drummer could eventually become a full-time frontman, much less lead this cult band to top the charts and headline stadiums all over the world (so more fool us).
#15 – “She’s a Fool” by Lesley Gore
Sung from the perspective of a girl venting about how her love interest is with another girl who clearly takes him for granted, Lesley Gore’s distinct voice helped make this song her third Top Five single in a row in during the girl-group era of 1963.
#14 – “Foolish Heart” by Steve Perry
Turns out it wasn’t so foolish for Journey frontman Steve Perry to try and step out from the band, since his debut solo album Street Talk (1984) ended up spawning four Top 40 singles, including this power ballad.
#13 – “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson
Although some had dismissed Ricky Nelson as the poor man’s Elvis Presley, hits like this one from 1958 – which went all the way to number one – showed why the former child star and TV actor had a rock ‘n’ roll integrity that was all his own.
#12 – “Fool for the City” by Foghat
Although their later song “Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)” in fact charted higher, we felt that this rocker from British-American band Foghat – released in 1976 and remaining a radio hit – has actually stood the test of time a bit better.
#11 – “Lovefool” by the Cardigans
This distinct pop song by the Cardigans was a hit in the UK and the band’s native Sweden in 1996, but didn’t find love with American listeners until the following year, when it was re-issued and featured on the soundtrack to the movie William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet.
#10 – “Foolish Little Girl” by The Shirelles
In this girl-group era classic which went to #4 in 1963, the group essentially stages an intervention where they sternly tell a “friend” that she needs to get over an old flame who’s about to marry someone else. The song, which opens with a brief spoken word part (common for the time), was the group’s sixth Top Ten hit as well as their last.
#9 – “Fool to Cry” by The Rolling Stones
While Black and Blue is possibly the most divisive studio album in The Rolling Stones’ catalog, the 1976 release at least produced this classic ballad, in which Mick Jagger combines a talk-sing verse with a falsetto chorus. The song went Top Ten in both the US and the UK.
#8 – “Foolin’” by Def Leppard
The third US Top 30 single from Def Leppard’s smash 1983 album Pyromania, this one’s chorus utilized a stuttering vocal (“’Cause baby I’m not/F-f-f-foolin’”) similar to the one which the Who popularized in rock with their 1965 classic “My Generation.”
#7 – “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers
The innocence of this 1956 doo-wop hit was compromised decades later, after Diana Ross’ hit cover version ignited a legal firestorm when three women who’d been married to Frankie Lymon (who died in 1968) all came forward to claim royalties (and it turned out they’d been married to him at the same time, unbeknownst to the others).
#6 – “What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers
Even at the height of the disco era, rock fans chose to believe in this keyboard-heavy classic by The Doobie Brothers (co-written by Kenny Loggins), which in 1979 went all the way to number one (the group’s second single to achieve that feat and their biggest hit of the Michael McDonald era).
#5 – “Everybody Plays the Fool” by The Main Ingredient
New York City-based R&B vocal group the Main Ingredient had their biggest hit in 1972 with this soul classic. Although the group would only have one subsequent Top 10 hit (“Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely”), the great Aaron Neville brought “Fool” back into the US Top 10 with his cover version in 1991.
#4 – “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin
Never wishing to be pigeonholed as a hard rock band, Led Zeppelin took inspiration from the Brazilian music style samba for this track from their final album In Through the Out Door. The song, which also features an odd-but-innovative breakdown section, was even a hit single, peaking at #21 in the US.
#3 – “The Fool on the Hill” by The Beatles
The Fab Four’s appearance on the list is a song comes from their 1967 TV-movie and album Magical Mystery Tour and was written by Paul McCartney. According to at least one account, Paul McCartney was out walking his dog in the area of Primrose Hill (in London), when he supposedly encountered a man who seemed to appear out of nowhere and then disappear just as quickly (Paul McCartney has also suggested that the subject of a song was based on various Indian yoga gurus).
#2 – “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
This #2 R&B hit from 1967 is about woman who discovers after five years that the man she’s in a relationship with has numerous other lovers (that would be the “chain of fools”) but still chooses to stay with him (“Oh, but your lovin’ is much too strong”). Thematically, the song might not have aged well, but Aretha Franklin’s vocals will never be anything but timeless.
#1 – “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who
Like most of their classic 1971 album Who’s Next, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was originally written by Pete Townshend as part of a futuristic dystopian concept piece called Lifehouse. However, out of that context, this eight-and-a-half minute track (which has become both a staple of classic rock radio and a show-stopper in the band’s live shows) would end up as a cautionary anthem about how a change in leadership will never be an absolute solution or magically fix everything overnight, as much as we’d like to believe it will.
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