Rolling Stones songs: Fool to Cry
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You know, I got a woman/ And she lives in the poor part of town…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, Dec. 12 1974-March 25-Apr. 4 1975; Casino, Montreux, Switzerland, Oct.-Nov. 1975
Guest musicians: Wayne Perkins (guitar), Nicky Hopkins (piano and string synthesizer)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This is an introspective ballad that was not typical of most Rolling Stones songs. It finds Mick Jagger feeling down on himself, and getting comfort first from his daughter, then from his lover. Both tell him he’s “a fool to cry.”
With Mick Taylor gone, The Stones were auditioning lead guitarists while recording Black And Blue. American session man Wayne Perkins played on this and almost got the job, but Ron Wood beat him out.
This was the only song on Black And Blue to chart in England or the US.
Keith Richards fell asleep while they were performing this in 1976 while touring Germany.
Richards: “I was just glad somebody in the band could sing that falsetto. I got a pretty good falsetto myself. But when you got a singer and he can hit those notes, baby go for it. And Mick was always fascinated with the falsetto Soul singers like Aaron Neville. That’s crafty stuff, you know what I mean? But he’d been listening to so many people. It’s kinda like what goes in, will come out. You’ll just hear a phrase or a piece of music. And one way or another it’s part of your experience. And a lot of the time it comes out what you do without even realizing it. I don’t really like to think about these things too much. It’s more to do with feeling than intellectualizing about it.”
The Canadian duo Tegan and Sara covered this in 2013 for the soundtrack for the HBO drama Girls. Their version can be found on the album, Girls, Vol. 1 (Music From the HBO Original Series). “Lena Dunham (Girls creator and star) reached out about us doing a track for the soundtrack,” Tegan told the Toronto Sun. “When she said which one we were going to do I went and listened to it. I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is a nightmare! How are we going to do this? It’s like he’s talking, he’s meandering.’ I was like, ‘What the f—?”
“In the end I loved doing it,” she continued, “I thought it was so great. I haven’t really listened to a lot of them other than the popular Rolling Stones songs but it was cool to get into a deep cut. And the response has been insane. These teenage girls are like, ‘I love this song!’ And I say, ‘You’re welcome, Rolling Stones. We just got you into another generation.'”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Fool to Cry” (originally titled “Daddy You’re a Fool to Cry”) is a sad song,
indeed one of the saddest in the Stones catalog. Was Mick Jagger beginning
to feel the weight of the passing years more and more? Or were these the
sentiments of a rock star who had become a father? The main character in
the song is exhausted from working all night, and finds comfort in the
company of his daughter, whom he likes to put on his knee. She says:
“Daddy, what’s wrong?”/And she whispers in my ear/She says: “Daddy,
you’re a fool to cry.”
“Fool to Cry” was released as the A-side of a single (with “Crazy
Mama” as the B-side) on April 26, 1976. It was in France that it achieved
its best chart position: number 2 in July 1976. It peaked at number 6 in the
United Kingdom and Canada, number 8 in both the Netherlands and
Norway, and only made it to number 10 in the United States.
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