Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fool's gold

I know what you're thinking: Only a fool would assemble a song list such as this. But please withhold judgment until you've had the opportunity to evaluate the selections yourself.

It may be April Fool's Day, but the songs assembled below -- representing every corner of the musical spectrum -- are positively fool-proof. Only the best bubbled to the top.

You don't kick out Petula Clark's "Prends Mon Coeur'' without careful consideration. You can't dismiss Van Halen and Deep Purple guitar rants without dutiful deliberation. Only with great pains can you disqualify Sergio Mendez & Brasil '66's "The Fool on the Hill'' -- a delightful cover that was a much bigger commercial success than Paul McCartney's original piano/flute arrangement. Tough choices, weighty decisions.

Everybody from Elvis to Peabo Bryson to Bob Dylan to Raul Malo -- even Josh Ritter -- has covered "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I'' but we're hanging with Hank Snow's original 1952 recording of the Bill Trader song. Call me a hillbilly; you need a good fiddle to pull off this song. And no song titles are duplicated on this list so Elvis, you're outa here!

But even Snow's righteous cowboy relic is overshadowed by the sheer power of Aretha Franklin, who secured the No. 1 spot with her 1967 stomper "Chain of Fools.'' The start of that song is like firing up a jet engine: "Chain chain chain...'' Get ready for lift-off.

Here then, the 10 songs most worthy of your attention on this day for foolin' around.

1. Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin
2. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I, Hank Snow
3. The Fool on the Hill, Beatles
4. Ship of Fools, The Doors
5. Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop
6. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread), Brook Benton
7. Fool to Cry, The Rolling Stones
8. What a Fool Believes, Doobie Brothers
9. Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool For You, Baby), Lulu
10. Fool Me Once, B.B. King

Honorable mention: "Everybody's Somebody's Fool'', Connie Francis
Foolish trivia: Duane Allman played guitar on the Lulu song.

1 comment:

  1. Chain of Fools was written by the great Don Covay, who played in DC band The Rainbows (as did another local kid named Marvin Gaye). While Covay is best known for his songs that were covered by others, his own records are well worth a listen. Mick Jagger totally copped his vocal style.