[EDITOR’S NOTE: As a follow-up to an April Fool’s Day column, this article takes a look at more oldies pop music selections with “Fool” in the title. To read the first item, featuring “fool” songs that charted in the Top 10, click here. This article focuses on songs that charted on the Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 between Nos. 11 and 40 in the 1950s and 1960s.]
There have been nearly three dozen songs with “fool” in the title that reached the Billboard Hot 100 in the decades of the ’50s and ’60s, and many of them were recorded by well-known artists.
In this listing of fool-titled hits, the vocalists range from Andy Williams to Ike & Tina Turner, and the lyrics generally relate to a more serious-minded than a joking approach to the concept of “fools.” To listen to any of the selections, simply click on the title.
- “A FOOL NEVER LEARNS” (Andy Williams, No. 13, 1964): One of the top American pop vocalists of all-time was born in Wall Lake, Iowa, and his first performance was as a member of a church children’s choir. Along with three older brothers (Don, Dick and Bob), he formed The Williams Brothers quartet in 1938, and they relocated to Los Angeles in 1943. After going solo in 1952, Andy charted 27 Billboard Top 40 hits, including the chart-topping “Butterfly” in 1957, and he hosted his own TV show from 1962 to 1971.
- “WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I” (Sammy Davis Jr., No. 17, 1962): This legendary vocalist-actor-dancer and overall entertainer, originally from New York City, got his career start with a family dance act, The Will Mastin Trio in the early ’40s. Arguably the first black entertainer to earn widespread acclaim from white audiences, as a singer, he had eight Billboard Top 40s, the last of which was “Candy Man” (No. 1, 1972). This single was also a No. 85 Billboard hit for Anthony Newley in the same time frame.
- “I’M A FOOL” (Dino, Desi & Billy, No. 17, 1965): This teenage group consisted of Dean “Dino” Martin, the son of legendary entertainer Dean Martin; Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball; and their friend Billy Hinsche. The boys met in grammar school, and they first auditioned with Frank Sinatra for Reprise Records. Their producers included Lee Hazlewood, Billy Strange and Jimmy Bowen. This was their best-known song, which was later covered by The Chipmunks for their 1965 album Chipmunks à Go-Go.
- “IF YOU GOTTA MAKE A FOOL OF SOMEBODY” (James Ray, No. 22, 1961): The vocalist was born James Jay Raymond in Washington, D.C., and he was discovered by Gerry Granahan. Rudy Clark wrote the song, and orchestral backing was by Hutch Davie. Within two years of this hit single, the singer died of a drug overdose. Another rendition of this song, by Freddie & The Dreamers, charted at No. 3 in the UK in 1963.
- “FOOL FOR YOU” (The Impressions, No. 22 pop, No. 3 R&B, 1968): This R&B group, originally formed as The Roosters in Chicago in 1958, featured an original lineup of Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks. By 1962, Butler and the Brookses had left, and Mayfield, Gooden and newcomer Fred Cash continued as a top-selling group, but after Mayfield left for a solo career in 1970, they underwent numerous lineup changes. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they charted 17 Billboard Hot 100 items, and this song was written by Mayfield.
- “I WAS SUCH A FOOL” (Connie Francis, No. 24, 1962): The songstress, born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero in Newark, N.J., was one of the top-charting female vocalists of the late ’50s and early ’60s. In all, she had 55 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1958 and 1969, but despite a number of personal problems that interrupted her career, she has remained active as a performer. An earlier recording of the same song by The Flamingos was a lesser hit (No. 71, 1960).
- “LOVE’S MADE A FOOL OF YOU” (Bobby Fuller Four, No. 26, 1966): This was the follow-up to the Los Angeles group’s success with “I Fought The Law” (No. 9, 1966). Prominent in the group were lead singer Bobby Fuller and his brother, Randy, on bass, and the band was originally from El Paso, Texas. Written by Bob Montgomery and Buddy Holly, the song was first recorded by The Crickets in 1959. While still on the charts, Fuller was found dead in a car parked outside his Hollywood apartment, and the medical examiner’s report indicated asphyxiation probably caused by gasoline vapors, but some believe he was murdered.
- “A FOOL IN LOVE” (Ike & Tina Turner, No. 27 pop, No. 2 R&B, 1960): For many years, the famed husband-and-wife team was one of the most-explosive R&B units in America, and they were key figures in the development of U.S. soul music. In addition to numerous R&B singles, they charted a dozen Billboard Hot 100 crossovers in the ’60s, and their biggest pop hit was “Proud Mary” (No. 4, 1971). The duo was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
- “WISDOM OF A FOOL” (Five Keys, No. 35, 1956): At the time of this recording, the lineup of the Newport News, Va., quintet featured Rudy West on lead, accompanied by brother Bernie West, Ripley Ingram, Dickie Smith and Edwin Hall. They were originally formed as The Sentimental Four in the late ’40s before becoming a quintet and changing their name.
- “POOR FOOL” (Ike & Tina Turner, No. 38 pop, No. 4 R&B, 1961): This song was written by Ike Turner, as was “A Fool In Love” (listed above). Known for dynamic stage presence, Ike and Tina, along with backing vocals by The Ikettes, headed The Ike And Tina Turner Revue for many years.
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