No Joke! The 20 Biggest Tunes for 'Fools'
Another April Fools' Day is upon us, and although many "fools" will be busy pulling lame pranks on Monday (Apr. 1), the fools with a thirst for chart history should explore this list of the 20 biggest songs with the word "fool" in the title. From Aretha Franklin to the Doobie Brothers to the one and only Jewel, these songs were -- no joke -- big Billboard hits despite fooling around just a teensy bit. Check out the 20 all-time biggest tunes for "fools," and let your inner music "fool" run wild!
The ranking of this list is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
"The Fool on the Hill," Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66<br>Hot 100 Peak: 6 (1968)
We start off with a Latin/jazz/bossa nova legend. The 72-year-old has released more than 50 albums in a career that dates back more than 50 years. This song, a Beatles cover, became his second of three Billboard Hot 100 top 10s.
"What Kind of Fool," Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb<br>Hot 100 Peak: 10 (1981)
'70s/early '80s chart royalty didn’t get much bigger than this. Streisand tallied five No. 1s in that period and, with his brothers in the Bee Gees, Gibb scored nine. Streisand and Gibb connected for two top 10 duets in 1981: this song and prior single "Guilty," which reached No. 3.
"Don't Want to Be a Fool," Luther Vandross<br>Hot 100 peak: 9 (1991)
The perfect holiday for the late R&B legend is probably Valentine's Day, given his wealth of sultry love songs. This one fits for today, though! It became his second top 10 of 1991, following "Power of Love/Love Power."
"Foolish Little Girl," The Shirelles<br>Hot 100 Peak: 4 (1963)
The vocal group gave us Motown-era classics like their No. 1s "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" in 1961 and "Soldier Boy" in 1962. This song became their sixth and final top 10 a year later.
"Everybody Plays the Fool," Aaron Neville<br>Hot 100 Peak: 8 (1991)
After notching his first Hot 100 top 10 in 1967 with "Tell It Like It Is," Neville didn't return to the region until 1989 on his duet with Linda Ronstadt "Don’t Know Much." "Everybody Plays the Fool" became his third, and most recent, top 10 two years later.
"Nobody's Fool," Kenny Loggins<br>Hot 100 Peak: 8 (1988)
Loggins was a soundtrack king in the '80s, scoring smashes from "Caddyshack," "Footloose" and, in 1988, "Caddyshack II." This song from that sequel became the most recent of his five career solo top 10s.
"She's a Fool," Lesley Gore<br>Hot 100 Peak: 5 (1963)
Then 17, Gore blasted in with the 1963 No. 1 "It's My Party." By the end of the year, she added two more No. 5 hits: "Judy's Turn to Cry" and this song. Her brother Michael Gore has enjoyed his own chart success, notably co-writing and producing Irene Cara's 1980 No. 1 smash "Fame."
"Kissing a Fool," George Michael<br>Hot 100 Peak: 5 (1988)
For the follow-up to four No. 1s from his debut solo album "Faith," Michael took an adventurous turn, releasing this ballad perhaps better suited to a piano bar than pop radio. His popularity, as well as the song's hook, however, helped spur another hit from Billboard's top album of 1988.
"(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I," Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires<br>Hot 100 Peak: 2 (1959)
Shouldn't any list of great songs include at least one by the King? This song is one of Presley's record 80 top 40 Hot 100 hits. Its placement here also serves as a fitting tribute to Jordanaires member Gordon Stoker, who passed away last week at 88.
"Why Do Fools Fall in Love," Diana Ross<br>Hot 100 Peak: 7 (1981)
The song was introduced by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers in 1956, two years before the Hot 100's inception; it led two of Billboard's R&B charts that year. Ross isn't the only big-name act to cover it: so have the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli and even singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell.
"Fool #1," Brenda Lee<br>Hot 100 Peak: 3 (1961)
This song is one of her impressive 12 top 10s that Lee enjoyed between 1959 and 1963. Clearly, she's beloved for more than just her holiday standard "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
"Everybody Plays the Fool," the Main Ingredient<br>Hot 100 Peak: 3 (1972)
Here's the only song on the list to appear twice: before Aaron Neville took it to No. 8 in 1991 (see No. 16 above), this Harlem group introduced the tale of taking a (misguided, ultimately) chance on love, sending it to No. 3 in 1972.
"Chain of Fools," Aretha Franklin<br>Hot 100 Peak: 2 (1968)
With 73, the Queen of Soul boasts the most Hot 100 hits by a female artist. Seventeen have reached the top 10, including this song, which won the Grammy Award for best female R&B vocal performance in 1969. Franklin monopolized the category with wins in each of its first eight years (1968-75).
"Poor Little Fool," Ricky Nelson<br>Hot 100 Peak: 1 (two weeks) (1958)
A stat that avid chart-watchers know well: the song holds the distinction of being the first Hot 100 No. 1 upon the chart's Aug. 4, 1958, launch. In the ensuing five decades, 1,022 more hits have since reigned.
"Fooled Around and Fell in Love," Elvin Bishop<br>Hot 100 Peak: 3 (1971)
The blues/rocker scored his biggest hit with this song about unintended deeper feelings eventually seeping in. Still a chart force, he's collected three top 10s on Billboard's Blues Albums survey since 2005.
"Foolish Beat," Debbie Gibson<br>Hot 100 Peak: 1 (one week) (1988)
Gibson's first No. 1 gave her unprecedented chart history: then 17, she became the youngest artist to write, produce and perform a Hot 100 No. 1. How did she celebrate the success? She graduated high school the next day.
"What a Fool Believes," the Doobie Brothers<br>Hot 100 Peak: 1 (one week) (1979)
Few groups have mixed rock and soul as deftly, and memorably, as the Doobies, who sent 27 songs onto the Hot 100 in 1972-89. The latter style won out upon the addition of lead singer Michael McDonald in 1976. His solo career, meanwhile, includes three '80s top 10s. (Or, maybe you know him best for his "South Park" contribution.)
"Everybody's Somebody's Fool," Connie Francis<br>Hot 100 Peak: 1 (two weeks) (1960)
Francis was an early '60s Hot 100 dominator, with this song marking her first of three No. 1s. Her 53 Hot 100 hits remain the fifth-most among women in the chart's entire history. Much more importantly, she's an esteemed humanitarian; her charity Haven from the Storm is set to conduct a telethon for Veterans on Memorial Day.
"Foolish," Ashanti<br>Hot 100 Peak: 1 (10 weeks) (2002)
The song shares the mark for the longest-reigning Hot 100 hit by a woman in her first chart visit as a lead artist. (It's tied with the quite-different "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone in 1977.) Ashanti rung up a whopping 10 top 10s between 2002 and 2004. Having added acting roles to her resume, she's due to release her first album in five years in June.
"Foolish Games," Jewel<br>Hot 100 Peak: 2 (1997)
The piano ballad tops our tally, having become a Lilith Fair-era radio staple (backed with her previous hit "You Were Meant for Me"; the double-sided single spent 65 weeks on the Hot 100). Currently charting on Adult Contemporary with new single "Two Hearts Breaking," Jewel can be seen in the Lifetime movie "Ring of Fire," in which she stars as June Carter Cash. It premieres on May 27.