♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫

I played this back in 2020, but yesterday my friend Michael Seidel suggested it yesterday after I played Fool On The Hill, and it seemed just perfect, so … here it is again!

First released in 1972, this song was written by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams.  It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song at the 1973 ceremony.

The first recording of the song to reach the Top 40 in the United States was by the R&B group The Main Ingredient, a trio consisting at the time of Cuba Gooding Sr., Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons, Jr. Their version of Everybody Plays the Fool rose to #3 in the U.S.

The Main Ingredient was a Harlem group that began as the Poets.  This song was actually written for country singer Charlie Pride, but according to Cuba Gooding …

“He listened to it and decided it wasn’t country enough for him to sing. He said, ‘I’ll never be able to sell this as a country song. It’s more like a pop song.’  So we gave it to our arranger, put an orchestra behind it, and recorded it ourselves. But we never liked it — we never believed it was going to be a hit record. We wanted to be more like the Temptations or the Four Tops, and that’s what the rest our album was about.

They sent us on a European tour for two weeks, and when we came back, ‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ was the hottest record on pop radio.”

The record surprised them by becoming the group’s first big hit. But oddly enough, the group, who until that time had been firmly entrenched as an R&B group, at first couldn’t get airplay for it on soul stations.

“Black stations wouldn’t even play it. They said it wasn’t R&B. RCA signed me to a three-year contract as the lead singer for the group, everybody was rolling in dough because of the song, but the black stations wouldn’t play it.”

Eventually, that would change, of course, and the song sold more than a million copies, was awarded a gold record, and was nominated for a Grammy as R&B song of the year.

Aaron Neville recorded a cover of this song in 1991 which also hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching #8 in the fall of that year, and it spent 20 weeks on the chart. This was Neville’s third Top 10 hit on the pop chart, following Tell It Like It Is and his duet with Linda Ronstadt, Don’t Know Much.

Since I like both versions almost equally well, I offer up both for your listening pleasure!

Everybody Plays The Fool
The Main Ingredient

Okay, so your heart is broken
You sit around mopin’
Cryin’ and cryin’
You say you’re even thinkin’ about dyin’
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this

Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I ain’t lyin’, everybody plays the fool
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there’s no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you
Oh-oh-oh, lovin’ eyes they cannot see
A certain person could never be
Love runs deeper than any ocean
You can cloud your mind with emotion
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I want to tell ya that
Everybody plays the fool

How can you help it when the music starts to play
And your ability to reason is swept away
Oh-oh-oh, heaven on earth is all you see
You’re out of touch with reality
And now you cry but when you do
Next time around someone cries for you

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool
Listen, baby, they never tell you so in school
I want to say it again
Everybody plays the fool
Listen to me, baby

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
(No exception) no exception to the rule
It may be factual, may be cruel, sometime
But everybody plays the fool
Listen, listen, baby
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenneth Williams / Ralph Bailey / Rudy Clark
Everybody Plays The Fool (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Carlin America Inc

27 thoughts on “♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard either version of this before. I guess they didn’t get much radio play here and neither made our charts. Sorry, but neither version grabbed my attention. Not really my kind of music!

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  2. Pingback: ♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫ | Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  3. I love Aaron’s voice, always have. Otherwise not too much to choose between the two recordings. The thing is, while love is happening, we cannot see ourselves as fools, no matter how much our friends tell us we are being foolish.

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