Friday on My Mind: April Fools, Fool!

It’s time again for the latest installment of Friday on My Mind, a weekly series where we focus on a topic and tie it into music. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News. This week it’s all about Fools… April Fools.

I pity the fool that don’t like this theme!

April Fool’s Day is also known as “All Fools Day”. We all rally around the idea that each and every one of us are indeed, fools. It’s not actually a national holiday in any country. This seems foolish to me. In many countries, pranks and April Fools’ jokes only happen until noon, but here in the US we keep it going all day long. For instance, one year I woke up to learn that I was Rebecca Black’s best friend on the KEXP site. Oh man, talk about not taking a joke well! I was a fool that day in accordance of the holiday. Anyway, there are all kinds of theories about the origins of the day. The most popular belief is that in the 1500’s April 1st was considered the first day of the New Year according to the Julian calendar. When the Gregorian calendar took over, January 1st became the New Year, so after the changeover, those who forgot and attempted to celebrate the New Year on April 1st were slaughtered on stakes. Wait no that’s not it. Oh yeah, they weren’t killed they were made fun of as fools. You idiots! It’s 1500 now, GET WITH THE TIMES FOOL!

There have been a few notable pranks over the years on April Fools. In 1957, a BBC program called “Panorama” ran a fake news program on a “Spaghetti Harvest” in Switzerland which resulted in many viewers inquiring as to how they could acquire their very own spaghetti bushes. This is considered to be one of the first times that TV pulled an April Fools’ Day prank. Now every time you watch the updated version of Hawaii Five-O, it’s considered an April Fool’s joke. Seriously, that’s on TV. In 2009, Expedia ran flight offerings to Mars. They included hotel accommodations for only $99. I still have my ticket. Jerks.

There are many songs about “Fools”. In the “totally freaking awesome category” this week we have:

1. Steve Perry – “Foolish Heart”
2. Whitesnake – “Fool For Your Loving”
3. Def Leppard – “Foolin”

I rated it according to “totally freaking 80’s hair”. Some would argue Whitesnake hair is better, but those people don’t understand the understated awesome of Steve Perry’s feathered somewhat mullet like garden of delights. Plus this song just makes me want to make out with him. Songs like this can only live in the 80’s. Yet they live on forever? Awesome.

Our “official” selections are the following:

Aretha Franklin – “Chain of Fools”

“Chain of Fools” was written by Atlantic Records recording artist and songwriter Don Covay. Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler considered the song for Otis Redding to record, but decided it would be a better fit for Aretha Franklin. Franklin recorded the song in June 1967 with her sisters Carolyn and Erma on backup vocals. The song had a four week run at the number one spot on the R&B charts. Her performance of the song also won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It was also rumored that she killed a man in the 80’s for not including her on a similar list. I’m no fool.

The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the final song on 1971 album, Who’s Next. Who’s Next consisted of songs that were intended for a rock opera follow up to Tommy, but Pete Townsend scrapped the project after suffering a nervous breakdown. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was also included on the soundtrack for The Kids Are Alright. This video footage is taken from the 1979 concert film The Kids Are Alright. The song was covered by Van Halen in 1993… I’m not sure why they would do that. Fools.

The Stone Roses – “Fool’s Gold”

Probably the most important and popular band to rise out of the “Madchester” scene from England, The Stone Roses melded dance music with that of pop paving the way for a new era of electronic dance music. At the time of its release, “Fools Gold” was the Stone Roses’ biggest hit. ”Fools Gold” was recorded and released in 1989. The video includes footage of the band out on Canary Islands. They’ve recently reunited but have no dates planned in the US yet. Fools!

Honorable Mentions:

The Beatles – “The Fool on the Hill”

Off of the Beatles’ 1967 album soundtrack Magical Mystery Tour. The promotional footage in this video was filmed in Nice, France in October 1967. The song has been covered by Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Sarah Vaughn, and Sergio Mendes.

World Party – “Ship of Fools”

World Party is mainly the project of Karl Walliger who formed World Party after departing as a member of The Waterboys. Wallinger draws a heavy influence from The Beatles. “Ship of Fools” was the lead single off of the 1987 World Party debut full length, Private Revolution. The song was the only top 40 hit for the band.

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