Top 20 Fools Songs: 10-1
From: 'Sheik Yerbouti' (1979)
Unlike most of the other folks on our list of the Top 20 Fools Songs, Frank Zappa's a fool for something other than love. Released during disco's most commercially successful year, "Dancin' Fool" spoofs dance clubs, the nightlife scene and guys decked out in white suits and gold chains making total idiots of themselves on the floor. "I got no natural rhythm," Zappa sings, summing up the era's coked-up cluelessness.
From: 'Look Sharp!' (1979)
Joe Jackson is having none of this fool-for-love business on this reggae-speckled song from his debut album. "Are there any creatures more pathetic?" he asked about fools in love. "Fools in love think they're heroes. ... I say fools in love are zeroes." The kicker comes at the end of the chorus: Turns out Jackson, yep, is a fool in love.
From: 'Women and Children First' (1980)
The swaggering guitar that opens this mountainous song from Van Halen's third album boasts defiant confidence, and lead singer David Lee Roth doesn't let it down once he enters the picture. Everyone – from teachers to bosses – is a fool. Everyone that is but Roth, who's sick and tired of being hassled by authority figures. Just let the man do what he wants, fools!
From: 'Pyromania' (1983)
On this hit single from Def Leppard's breakthrough album, they know what they want. Or at least we think they do. The lyrics here are a bit unclear, throwing around empty lines like "Close your eyes, don't run and hide / Easy love is no easy ride" like they mean something. Doesn't matter: It's all sung and played with conviction. They're not f-f-f-foolin'.
From: 'Degüello' (1979)
Like many tracks on our list of the Top 20 Fools Songs, ZZ Top's bluesy shuffle is about a fool in love. But this dude spells out the specifics of his foolishness: He likes to see his woman's long legs in stockings. And he'll put up with anything – even her gold-digging friends – for her love. Or, rather, her stockings.
From: 'Minute by Minute' (1979)
The brokenhearted fool in "What a Fool Believes" is such a fool that he's hoping to get back with a woman who never wanted anything to do with him in the first place. Poor guy. But the Doobie Brothers' most elastic tune, and biggest hit, sorta hides the bummer reality of the fool's daydreams, bouncing along with one of Michael McDonald's most soulful vocals.
From: 'Black and Blue' (1976)
The best song on the Rolling Stones' otherwise lazy 'Black and Blue' is an R&B ballad that's not entirely clear on why the narrator cries so much. He's got a loving daughter, a good woman across town and supportive friends. Yet, he weeps. Like, all the freakin' time. Why? Sounds like he's got it pretty good. Damn fool.
From: 'Who's Next' (1971)
Leave it to Pete Townshend, never the sentimental type, to write a song about getting fooled not by love – like so many other tracks on our list of the Top 20 Fool Songs – but by lying leaders who promise change. "Won't Get Fooled Again" is based on George Orwell's 'Animal Farm,' where pigs and horses battle it out, hoof to hoof, for control of the barnyard. But the Who make it sound like it could be about any number of the world's leaders at the top of the '70s.
From: 'Magical Mystery Tour' (1967)
The inspiration for Paul McCartney's lovely ballad was the transcendental-meditation guru the Beatles hooked up with India. But the fool on the hill really could be an Everyman from the late '60s, when sporting long hair and flowering robes and talking about peace and love were dismissed as generally foolish behavior. This fool isn't so foolish after all.
From: 'In Through the Out Door' (1979)
Unlike most of the other fools in our List of the Top 20 Fools Songs, the soaking-wet idiot in Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain" definitely earns the title. (Plus, we just love the percussion breakdown in the middle of the song.) Most of our other song subjects are merely in love, and love makes people do crazy things sometimes, right? But this fool, who's supposed to meet a woman on a street corner, nearly has a crying fit when she doesn't show up. Then the fool realizes he's been waiting on the wrong block the whole time. Fool.