♫ Fool On The Hill ♫

I could have sworn that I had posted this song before, but I’m not seeing it in my archives, so … if I have, no matter, for I have it in my head tonight and am determined to play it for you.  I have always loved this song, and today the title, at least, has more meaning than I think it was ever intended to have!

Written and sung by Paul McCartney, it was released in 1967.  I find it interesting that a year later Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66 recorded the song and their version fared much better than the one by The Beatles.  While I like Sérgio Mendes’ music, I much prefer The Beatles’ version of this particular song.

The story, according to Alistair Taylor’s book, Yesterday, goes …

An event which prompted this song happened when Paul was walking his dog, Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared.

A couple of the music critics really did not like this song at all …

  • “Possibilities in this song outweigh its substance—it’s the most unworthy Beatles standard since ‘Michelle.'” — Tim Riley, NPR contributor
  • “… shows signs of becoming a favorite of the Simon & Garfunkel crowd and the transcendental meditators, who deserve it. A callow rendering of the outcast-visionary theme, it may be the worst song the Beatles have ever recorded.” — Robert Christgau, Esquire magazine

The Fool on the Hill
The Beatles

Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is sitting perfectly still
Nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
The Fool on the Hill lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

45 thoughts on “♫ Fool On The Hill ♫

  1. I do like the melody very much, however critics may be right about the song lacking substance, but only b/c the Beatles have set the bar so high anything less than exemplary would face criticism. If this is the Beatles worst song then I’d say they have nothing to worry about! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. When I noticed the words “[new post] Food On The Hill” amidst my inbox I thought…now there is a song I’ve never heard! Only to discover upon opening that it is my favorite song “The Fool on the Hill” from the Nov.1967 “Magical Mystery Tour” album. Have you ever seen the movie of the same album title that was originally released in Dec.1967? I was gifted with the re-released version of the movie from Oct. 2012 by my Son that Christmas. He thought it was humorous as there is a sad story concerning the loss of my original Beatles albums at his hands, this one among them! This album was not as well received as the summer 1967 release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but I liked it better. A song titled ‘Food On The Hill’ would most likely be about McDonald’s menu items with the vocals by the well known fool…The Donald, should some songwriter be so inclined to write it! Thank-you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, bother! I have been so careful up to now, then hit post comment before I filled in the details, but it had not posted…or so I thought, as it wasn’t visible. I left thinking maybe I’ll come back in a wee bit to rewrite a comment and now it is here as if by magic. Thank-you, again!

      Liked by 3 people

    • I was either super-tired or else hungry … not sure which! No, I haven’t seen that movie … in fact, never even heard of it! And now … you know I’m going to ask … I really must hear the story of how your Beatles’ albums were lost at the hands of your son! If some songwriter were to write that song, at the risk of sounding like a cruel woman, I would hope it would end with ‘The Donald’ choking on a large chunk of his Big Mac. Sigh … he brings out the worst in me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, Jill, I am offering my services as an editor, or at least a continuity person. I hate my critical self, who sees errors such as a video purported to be The Beatles, but with only one ex-Beatle in view. Maybe there was no video done of The Beatles doing this song, I mean, videos were not big in those days, were they? Ah, if I were smart, and kind, I would let it pass and not point out this GLARING ERROR, especially since I appreciate you so much, but I guess I’m like that fool on the hill–I see the world going ’round. Maybe it is the sun glaring in my eyes… (Please delete after reading, lol.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well … I have one editor who edits for spelling/grammatical errors, but he tends to get behind and isn’t a content editor anyway, so I welcome your offer. However, I will rise to my own defense on the issue of this song. Because …
      I had the same thought as you, that it seemed McCartney was the only Beatle in the room. And so, I went in search of and found information that the rest did contribute to the song and thus, it has always been attributed to the entire group. Per Wikipedia …
      Personnel
      Paul McCartney – vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, recorder, bass, penny whistle[13]
      John Lennon – harmonica, Jew’s harp
      George Harrison – acoustic guitar, harmonica
      Ringo Starr – drums, maracas, zill
      Ray Thomas – harmonica
      Mike Pinder – harmonica
      Christopher Taylor – flute
      Richard Taylor – flute
      Jack Ellory – flute

      The defense rests her case. Rebuttal? And no, I won’t delete it! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

          • Okay, I give. I truly have never heard of The Moody Blues together with The Beatles. Must have been “Ready Set Go” or some such British music show. But I still only saw Pretty Boy Paul, none of the other Beatles. They must have been backstage, lol.

            Liked by 3 people

              • I can probably remember 60s music better than almost anything else in my life, though even that is suffering these days. I cannot keep up with Ellen (I think her name is) though her strength seems to be dates, while mine is of a more “trivial” nature.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Nobody … NOBODY can keep up with Ellen! She is a walking encyclopedia on music and other things as well. I tried to talk her into being my research assistant, figuring when I needed to know something, she wouldn’t even have to look it up, but it would be right inside her head. She turned me down … the pay wasn’t enough, I think.

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                  • The wages are the sheer enjoyment of using those things in your head you have absolutely no other use for. That was what made me one of the top 100 NTN Triva players in North America for 20 years. But one day the memory started to decline, and you cannot play trivia without a lightning fast recall system. I knew it was time to hang up my playmaker.
                    But it was a fun 20 years…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I didn’t know that about you, but I’m not surprised! Yes, I’ve noticed that with age has come a distinct loss of memory, and I never had a lightning-fast recall system … at best, I could search around in the dusty archives of my mind and eventually find things. Now, though, some of those ‘things’ have simply left home.

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                    • Nah, they haven’t left home, they just found cubbyholes that you can no longer find. You are going to be surprised some day when you realize what you do remember that you thought was long gone.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It’s interesting the irrelevant trivia that I can remember, even down to the colour of the tablecloth at my 3rd birthday party (yellow), but ask me my phone number, and I will almost certainly have to look it up! Today, I was getting ready to go to the grocery, thought of something I needed to add to the list, but by the time I found the bloomin’ list, I had forgotten what it was I wanted to add. Last week I made the list and forgot to take it with me. Sigh.

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                    • Not pretty to say, but in time we will all learn to carry our bathrooms with us everywhere we go. The older we get, the slower we get, and the further away bathrooms seem to be. Like I said, not pretty, but not as bad as cleaning up after oneself. Or having someone clean up after us. When you realize this time is coming, I will be happy to suggest a good product. I used to suffer from colitis. It teaches you about humility.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I might have known better than to introduce that topic! 🙄 That said, I long ago decided that nobody else will ever clean up after me in that sense. I will be gone before that happens. Now, onto more cheerful topics … um … my furnace is broke!

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                    • No. But I’m glad it lasted at least till spring. Is thst covered in your rent, like, does the landlord have to fix that? Or do you have to pay for it? (I think you said you have a landlord?)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It might be spring, but with temps only in the low 20s it’s still cold. Nope, they still haven’t shown up to fix it. I was able to get it to come on for a little while, but then it quit again. Yes, our rent ($1,106 per month) is supposed to cover all maintenance and repairs, but since a new management company took over a few years ago, it’s like pulling teeth to get anything done. It took 8 weeks to get my dishwasher repaired last fall, and that was only after I finally contacted the property owners. We’ve lived here for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen it managed so poorly. I blame Trump. 😉

                      Like

                    • Do you not have a Utility Board, or an Rentalsman, or some such ombudsman?
                      If you haven’t paid your April rent yet, DON’T. If you haven’t heard from maqnagement company by 5:00 PM today, contact the owner again, and tell them they will get their rent when you have heat in your home again. I know you know how to play haqrdball, Jill, now is the time.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No, we don’t have a middle-man or advocate … it’s just up to us to keep harassing them until they finally get off their patooties. Sigh. Remember my dishwasher last fall? 8 weeks it took them. Well, I tried withholding my rent, with a letter explaining that I would uphold my end of the contract (paying the rent) when they upheld theirs (repairs and maintenance). The day after the rent was due, I received an eviction notice “demanding” that I vacate the premises within 30 days. What I can do is pay the rent into an escrow account that they will only be able to access once the repairs are made, but that requires that I get an attorney. More time, effort and money than I’m willing to expend at the moment. I will be contacting the owners in the morning, and meanwhile, I’m looking for a house. It’s hard with the Sig Six, to find a place, but I’m so sick of this b.s. Sigh. I really do have better things to do with my time. I do have the furnace ‘sort of’ working now, and the temps have risen, so we aren’t freezing anyway.

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                    • I am glad to hear that much, but I am unimpressed by thr American way of doing business. Most provinces have a person who intervenes on behalf of renters, and while not all landlords give a damn, most do, because it quickly ends up on TV. (Do your TV stations have problem investigators? That usually gets action!)
                      Anyways, when you are home-hunting, get references from other tenants. Good luck. I’m glad it is warming up.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I left a letter in the box for the “on-site manager” first thing this morning. Still nothing. You’re right … tenants have few rights in this country. The lease is skewed heavily toward the lessor, and we have few options short of legal ones that require we get a lawyer. I used to have a great lawyer who would do anything on a contingency basis (as a CPA, I occasionally found myself in the IRS offices justifying a decision), but he became very ill last year and no longer practices. One local tv station used to have a nightly segment called “9 on Your Side” for consumer complaints, etc., but they dropped it a couple of years ago. Did I tell you about my refrigerator a couple of years ago? It stopped working, so I called maintenance. After the 3rd call, the maintenance man came, took a look, said, “I ain’t gonna fix this” and left. It was 5:00 p.m., so with no choices left I contacted a local repair company and paid the $250 to have them replace the thermostat and defrost timer. When I tried to take it off my rent, I was again threatened with eviction. I considered buying a house, but Chris wasn’t comfortable with it, and I can understand that, so … we rent.

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                    • Have I said this yet? A sorry state of affairs. Protecting the lessor against some tenants is necessary. Protecting the renter against the lessor is mandatory. Another sigtn of the problems with unchecked capitalism. The USA is not very great, even without Trump around.

                      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, this is one of those substantive, good songs The Beatles did later in their career as a group. I think it could apply to people in power, certainly to Parliament, Downing Street, Congress and White House. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

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