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Top 20 Fools Songs

Fools Songs
Ron Case, Getty Images

Fools have been popular song subjects as long as there have been songs. Even back when wandering minstrels would entertain royalty or accompany fearless knights heading off to war, half of the songs they knew were about fools. And more likely than not, it’s love that led to their foolish predicaments. Our list of the Top 20 Fools Songs includes plenty of tracks about fools in love. But some are just plain foolish — like the dude hanging out on a rainy street corner waiting for his girl … who’s patiently standing on another rainy street corner a couple blocks away. Pity the fools. (This list has two pages. Here’s the second.)


UFO No Heavy Petting
20

'A Fool in Love'

UFO
 
 
From: 'No Heavy Petting' (1976)

Scottish rockers the Frankie Miller Band originally recorded 'A Fool in Love' on their 1975 album 'The Rock.' UFO covered it a year later, adding chunkier guitars and replacing Miller's barroom brawl with arena-style riffing. Either way, the fool here -- really just a dude head over heels in love -- is tied to his woman's "beck and call."

 
Just What I Needed Cars Anthology
19

'Cool Fool'

The Cars
 
 
From: 'Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology' (1995)

This leftover track from the Cars' 1977 pre-debut demo eventually ended up on the 1995 compilation album 'Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology.' Benjamin Orr sings lead on Ric Ocasek's song, a perfect blend of New Wave and classic rock about your average love-struck fool. At least he's got the whole cool thing going for him.

 
Deep Purple Fireball
18

'Fools'

Deep Purple
 
 
From: 'Fireball' (1971)

The year before they released their breakthrough 'Machine Head' album (the one with 'Smoke on the Water'), Deep Purple put out the somewhat lumbering 'Fireball.' The eight-minute 'Fools' runs down a list of the world's fools, including the laughing and killing kinds. But we still love that album cover, which features the band members shooting through space like a long-haired, and possibly shirtless, supernova.

 
Robert Plant Ship of Fools
17

'Ship of Fools'

Robert Plant
 
 
From: 'Now and Zen' (1988)

This isn't the only 'Ship of Fools' on our list of the Top 20 Fools Songs. It isn't Robert Plant's only appearance either. This 'Ship of Fools' is a serene ballad that totally fits the title of the album it comes from, 'Now and Zen.' It was also released as a single, reaching No. 84 on the pop chart and No. 3 on the rock one. Plant captains this ship of fools, driven mad by -- what else? -- his love for a woman.

 
John Cougar American Fool
16

'American Fool'

John Cougar
 
 
From: 'American Fool' (1982)

The title track from John Mellencamp's breakthrough album (released when he was still John Cougar) was left off of 'American Fool' when it was released in 1982. When the album was reissued in 2005, it was finally issued as a bonus track. It's a breezy tune (complete with an island-style rhythm) that perfectly fits the narrator's flag-waving foolishness.

 
Grateful Dead From the Mars Hotel
15

'Ship of Fools'

Grateful Dead
 
 
From: 'From the Mars Hotel' (1974)

This bluesy cut (not to be confused with Robert Plant's 'Ship of Fools' on our list of the Top 20 Fools Songs) closes the Grateful Dead's seventh album with appropriate open-seas drifting. The song basically plays on the allegorical theme of the ship of fools, as Jerry Garcia and his band of wanderers set adrift with no clear course or leader.

 
Whitesnake Ready an Willing
14

'Fool for Your Loving'

Whitesnake
 
 
From: 'Ready an' Willing' (1980)

Whitesnake had been around for a decade when they finally hit it big with their self-titled 1987 album. So they went back and rerecorded some of their older songs for their new multi-platinum albums, including 'Fool for Your Loving,' which originally showed up on their third LP, 1980's 'Ready an' Willing.' We prefer this earlier version, which sounds closer to frontman David Coverdale's old band Deep Purple than to 1989's Top 40 crossover. Either way, the fool's got it bad for some woman.

 
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
13

'Fooled Again (I Don't Like It)'

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
 
 
From: 'Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' (1976)

Unlike many of the other fools in love on our Top 20 list, Tom Petty's not too happy about what's going down in this seething song from his debut album. He receives threatening phone calls, does some math and figures his relationship probably won't be lasting too much longer. No surprise that he's talking about getting out as the song fades.

 
Foghat Fool for the City
12

'Fool for the City'

Foghat
 
 
From: 'Fool for the City' (1975)

The opening title track from Foghat's fifth album (the one with 'Slow Ride') throws a twist on the whole fool-for-your-love thing. There's love here, all right, but it's not for a woman; it's for city life. "Air pollution, here I come," exclaims Lonesome Dave Peverett, with arms, and presumably lungs, wide open.

 
Styx Fooling Yourself
11

'Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)'

Styx
 
 
From: 'The Grand Illusion' (1977)

Tommy Shaw wrote 'Fooling Yourself' about Dennis DeYoung, who was growing increasingly uncomfortable with Styx's fame in light of 'Lady''s Top 10 showing. The song is basically a pep talk wrapped in squiggly synthesizer solos and flip-flopping time signatures. It temporarily kept DeYoung in place, but he left the band seven years later.

 

Next: See the Top 10 Fools Songs

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