♫ Fool On The Hill ♫ (Redux)

Last night I was, for reasons that shall remain undisclosed, literally kicking myself and calling myself a ‘fool’.  And as I did so, perhaps it was the kicking and head smacking, a number of songs with ‘Fool’ in the title came to mind.  Me, myself, and I pondered a few, such as Elvis Presley’sFools Rush In”, The Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes”, and Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What Kind of Fool Am I”.  But, for reasons unknown to me, myself chose this one, the Beatles’ “Fool On The Hill”.


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.  Nonetheless, I shall play both and let you guys choose your favourite.

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

53 thoughts on “♫ Fool On The Hill ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫ | Filosofa's Word

  2. I’ve never understood the critics on this. To me, it is a beautiful song with a haunting quality.

    Reasons for the Sergio Mendes version doing so much better over there could be, I think, that Americans have poor taste, and the Beatles version was never released as a single so there isn’t a real comparison. The Mendes version is awful, but he did have a knack for making every song sound the same.

    The Beatles version was released over there on an album, which made #1. Everywhere else it was a six track EP of just the songs from the tv film. It got to #2 here – #1 at the time was ‘Hello Goodbye’ by, er, The Beatles 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree!!! As I told someone earlier, why are there even music critics? Music is a personal taste, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily appeal to another. Critics are snobs! I’ve always loved this song and I don’t care if the critics think it’s shallow … we each take from it what we will.

      Now Clive … we may not always have the best judgment, but taste isn’t either good or bad, poor or brilliant when it comes to music. Sigh. I like both versions, but then … I’m nearly deaf, so my opinion really doesn’t even count!

      “Hello Goodby” … now THERE’S one I haven’t heard nor thought of in ages! Maybe for a future post … if I can remember 🤪

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was just a suggestion! Who am I to disagree with all those people who bought it, and like to listen to songs that are indistinguishable from one another? It wasn’t a hit here, nor were many of his records – we filled our charts with other rubbish instead. And I do take the point that musical taste is a personal thing: there’s no right or wrong, just different.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly … no right or wrong … just different. I sometime think what we like or don’t like is dependent on our mood of the moment the first time we hear a song. Oh, so you weren’t suggesting “Hello Goodby”, but just mentioning it?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I mentioned it in the context of it keeping MMT off the top of our charts. But you could do a lot worse than play it: the video is fun, especially when the hula dancers join in. If you watch it on YouTube scroll down the comments: you’ll find one from a lady whose Gran was one of the dancers 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            • Just watched the video … you’re right … the guys seemed to really, really enjoy the hula dancers! I didn’t find the comment by the Gran, but maybe I just didn’t scroll far enough. It is a fun video and I love the guys’ costumes!!!

              Liked by 1 person

              • It was the only part that seemed to perk George up but he didn’t get one of them! I looked at the comments but there are now 31k on there, a huge number of them left in the past year, so I fear that one has slipped down the list!

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t Think i have heard the Mendez version before, but perhaps it’s simply that it’s gone under the radar as for me it’s a dismissal also ran when compared to the McCartney rendition.

    As to who the fool is, as a teen and young adult I felt that perhaps I was the fool, being as I was so isolated from youth culture of that period.

    But whoever it refers to, it’s a hauntingly beautiful song in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there is not a single person over the age of 10 who hasn’t been a fool at least a few times. If we learn from our foolishness, then it had value. If not, then we truly are fools. I like to think I have learned, but … sigh … I’m not sure anymore. I’m glad you enjoyed the song, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, for songs with fool in the title, I’ll go with The Who, “Won’t Be Fooled Again”, or Foghat, “Fool for the City” but they might be harder than you like so I would suggest, “Everybody Plays the Fool” by the Main Ingredient. Hugs and cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Critics have a job to do, I guess, though I have seldom agreed with them on anyyhing. I just cannot imagine how anyone makes a name for themselves by criticizing the uncriticizable. Whatever this song was, it was not the Beatles’ worst song because they recorded no “bad” songs, just some slightly less great ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meanwhile, I don’t know what it is about your video selection, but it seems a bit off somehow from the original studio recording. As for the Sergio Mendez cover, while an okay interpretation, I find it rather bland. I doubt it was so high on the charts due to the rock n roll audience, but rather their parents and grandparents who bought this record. I’ll stick with the original.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m 60 years old and I actually remember the cover more than the original. I guess our local radio station made its choice 🤷‍♀️ I would have been 6 years old when this came out. It’s a sound (more a vibe, I think) that brought back my childhood in a flash. As an adult, I would definitely choose the Beatles original though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes we each have our own memories, and I do apologize for not considering what children would have thought of the SM&B66 sound. But then, I was never into children’s music even as a child. Having 8 older siblings I was exposed to so many different types of “popular music” from Hank Williams Sr through to Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, and the list goes on and on that I never heard any children’s music.
          I certainly knew what I did not like, though, which was my male parent’s choice of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Yechhhh!

          Liked by 3 people

        • Welcome, Patti! You are yet a spring chicken! rawgod and I both have more than a decade on you! But you make a good point … music has the capability to bring back long forgotten memories … that’s one of its beauties. And, no two people hear a song exactly the same way. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you’ll return!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you so much! I intend to!!! And… I apologize for assuming I was the (ah-hem) ‘mature’ one in the group 🤓 I enjoyed your post and REALLY enjoyed the conversation. Music is my happy place: and it’s been a wonderful escape for me since I was a wee little thing: never fails to bring me out of the dark places. Just to contribute to the original question: I don’t think anyone else mentioned Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin? Now THAT song could bring me out of the darkest funk…

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh good!!! I’m so glad you’ll be back! No apology needed … I’m 71 and never thought I’d live this long. My mind still thinks I’m about 30 most days, and if I pass by a mirror, I wonder who that old hag is and who let her in! Music is my happy place, too! Always feel free to suggest an artist or a song you’d like to hear! If I don’t hate it, I’ll usually play it. I LOVE Aretha Franklin, but don’t remember “Chain of Fools” … I’ll go listen to it in a little bit and see if I remember it. 😊

              Liked by 1 person

    • Who needs music critics? Each of us judge a song based on our own criteria, or our own heart. We don’t need some Einstein to tell us what we ought to think of the song. Sheesh … since when did people start taking music so seriously? It takes some of the joy out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

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