That Revolving Door, A Return to the ‘60s and ‘Fool On The Hill’

WIAA: Alyson, oh Alyson…?

ALYSON: Yes, I am here WIAA, it’s just that I don’t even know how to start with this one. As I treat you as my web-diary as well as a place to share some of my favourite songs, I feel duty bound to pass comment on some of the political upheaval we’ve been faced with as a country over the last few weeks, but I’m sure everyone’s sick and tired of it by now.

WIAA: I have no idea what you’re talking about Alyson.

ALYSON: Ah, that would be because you’re a page on a blogging platform and as long as I can afford to keep paying your subscription fees, you needn’t worry your pretty little head over political infighting, leadership contests and the ‘crashing’ of the economy.


WIAA: It all sounds a bit worrying Alyson.

ALYSON: It’s more than that WIAA, it proves that the ‘systems’ we have in place are no longer fit for purpose and the new Prime Minister who will be in post by this time next week is quite possibly not going to make any better a fist of it than the previous four, yes four, we’ve had over the last six years. It’s all going horribly wrong WIAA, all over the world, and there are some REALLY big issues that need dealt with, but that involves REALLY big change which seems to be impossible to bring about.

WIAA: What about sharing a calming song, Alyson?

ALYSON: Good idea WIAA. Back when I was researching Sérgio Mendes for a previous post, I stumbled upon this cover from 1968. If you’re feeling a bit stressed and anxious by what’s going on in the world just listen to this, Fool on the Hill by Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66. I think I need to add it to my sidebar category ‘Balm For The Soul’, as it certainly acts as a balm for me. I just love the girls in this clip, their dresses, their hair, the way they carry themselves and that soft, understated style of delivery they have. Reminds me of the soundtracks to many a late ’60s film, such as The Graduate or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Fool on the Hill by Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66:

But of course, we all know that Fool on the Hill is a Lennon & MacCartney composition and just to be clear I didn’t choose the song because I was alluding to any particular ‘fool’ of today. I’m not that clever. It was a Paul song, and it probably related to a character such as the Beatles’ meditation teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – a solitary figure who was not understood by others but was actually quite wise, apparently. Let’s compare and contrast.

Fool on the Hill by the Beatles:

I seem to have shared more Beatles’ songs this year than in any other year since starting this blog. The Get Back documentary series that aired earlier this year made me fall in love with them all over again, after a good few years of deciding their music had become a bit over-familiar to my ears.

As for Sérgio’s sound, there is nothing like listening to Mas Que Nada on a cold and dreich Scottish Saturday (like today) to raise the mood. His version of Fool on the Hill is not so much a mood-raiser but a mood-calmer. Either way I have become a bit of a fan of the Brazilian maestro who is apparently still with us, so good for him. He is a contemporary of the Beatles but had a very different start in music, first training as a classical pianist at his local ‘conservatoire’. The Cavern Club and its ilk were not for him, but by 1968 here he was covering songs written by these Liverpool lads.

For any of my followers from outside the UK, no need to worry about what’s going on in our country. It’s all good, we know what we’re doing, and a new PM will be in place by this time next weekend sorting everything out. Britain is open for business and it’s all going to be grand. Yes… (big gulp), it’s all going to be grand.

Until next time…

The Fool On The Hill Lyrics
(Song by John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

Well on the way, head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

He never listens to them
He knows that they’re the fools
They don’t like him

The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

22 thoughts on “That Revolving Door, A Return to the ‘60s and ‘Fool On The Hill’”

  1. Back when “Fool on the Hill,” by SM and Brazil ’66 was BIG on the American pop charts, many of us bought the album. The one you show in your post.

    And then, a funny thing happened. We opened the cover to it’s full size. SM and the group are shown posed as though they were sitting at a beach, until one opened the cover and discovered that they were superimposed over a nude female! Some parents went ba-zonkers! (mine, fortunately, didn’t care.) Rumor had it that the picture was of the wife of Herb Alert, the owner of A&M Records, Lani Hall. I think our “rumor was wrong, Lani’s coloration (Brunette) doesn’t fit the image. More apt would be Janis Hansen, the other lady singer, and a blond.) Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass were also chart toppers at the time, and that rumor, within my group of friends, made everything more appealing.

    As for “Mas Que Nada,” that one is best for any day and any time, not just for your stereotypical English “driech and cold Saturday.” Just listened to the clip you shared of the song, and it’s an overcast and cool day here in Middle Tennessee. It suddenly seemed sunny and warm, and for a moment, the cares I had, drifted away.

    Thanks Alyson!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gosh, I honestly thought they were sitting on a sand dune on that album cover so thanks for the added info. I can imagine that American parents back in the day went a bit bonkers over it but glad yours didn’t. Doesn’t sound as of it was salacious in any way. I knew Herb Albert worked with Sergio back then which obviously made for a great partnership as his group did really well in the US in the ‘60s.

      I think I shared Mas Que Nada last year during another stressful time as it never fails to raise my spirits. The mist didn’t lift here today at all so just the day for it.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a favourite in our house for a while now. A go-to clip if we need a bit of soothing after watching the news!

      Can’t believe you know about that cat – Larry is his name – our revolving door at No 10 is making us a laughing stock around the world. But as I said, by next weekend it’ll all be coming up roses, nothing to worry about, all good…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Fool on the hill – one of my favourite Beatles tracks – however, not The Beatles’ version! Singers Unlimited recorded an absolutely sublime version of it for their ’72 album ‘Acapella’. As the name suggests, just the four harmonies brilliantly arranged by Gene Puerling – an absolute genius who probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gosh, another version that is just so mellow – you can just feel the stresses of the day disappear! I’m always amazed how such a capella singing creates a wall of sound and you don’t even notice after a while that there are no musical instruments at all. Thanks for dropping by Ian.

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  3. How lovely that Sergio Mendes video was. Really quite mesmerising.

    Curiously, I learnt earlier this week (while preparing quite a lengthy post) that Macca wrote The Fool On The Hill all on his lonesome.

    Don’t worry too much, Alyson… Boris will be back by this time next week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re being serious about the clip as I know you have broad tastes in music – might have wondered with some of the others. Mesmerising is the word. Coming up the end of the year I think I know what my favourite new song discovery is going to be for 2022 – 3rd year in a row it’s going to be something from 1968. I was born too late.

      As for the Boris situation – as we often say around here, ‘You couldn’t make it up’.

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      1. I was thinking you meant with the video clip – did you not find it mesmerising too – but no you probably mean about the Boris situation. Well I’ve just watched the news and it doesn’t look as if that’s going to be an issue any more, but like Arnie, I’m sure ‘he’ll be back’ at some point!

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  4. The mid to late 60s were a great time for development of what now is often referred to as ‘Yacht’ Rock. Led by A7M records (and Herb Alpert), the rock n roll of the early ’60s was softened by quality arrangements, vocal harmonies and some of the best session musicians on the planet. Herb Alpert ‘presenting’ Sergio Mendes ’66 (as presumptuous as that sounds), took it to another level. The South American flavouring created a sophistication that widened the record buying market. Moms and Dads started buying.
    As R Guy mentioned above, Lani Hall and Janis Hansen joined the successor band to Brasil ’65, Brasil ’66. In addition to providing glamour, they added strong vocals. Most leads for Brasil ’66 are by Hall with the possible exception of Hansen on “The Look Of Love”. A review of the early A&M discography in addition to Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, shows a roster of Burt Bacharach, the Baja Marimba Band and the Tijuana Brass being complimented by imports such as Procul Harum and Joe Cocker.
    Alpert hit the ‘top’ when he send Richard Carpenter off to work on the Bacharach David song “Close To You”, that launched the Carpenters to global acclaim.
    While Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 may only be one or two lines on the history of A & M records, their recordings help you get from the purely instrumental sound of the Tijuana Brass to the Carpenters et al.
    As for the political overtones of “The Fool On The Hill”, please don’t be too hard on your countrymen.
    Canada’s Conservative Party has just elected its third leader in less than four years. It may be a global phenomena. Perhaps the ideology of the ‘right’ requires you to ‘eat your young’ from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for dropping by with all this extra info Damian. Between you and R Guy, the background to the featured song has been thoroughly explained. I have often revisited songs from the ‘Yacht Rock’ genre around here (a few this year in fact – might have to set up a new sidebar category) as I do like lush arrangements and vocal harmonies. As you say, Herb Alpert took it all to a new level adding a South American flavour. This music wasn’t for the hippie kids but it suited their mums and dads who would have bought the albums/LPs for their new must-have gadget – a full-size piece of furniture containing a record deck/radio and tape machine.

      I like the girls in the clip and now I know their names – Lani Hall and Janis Hansen replaced by Karen Philipps. Good that they have had a mention. I am just old enough to remember when Close To You by the Carpenters came out – what a beautiful song and the start of big things for them. Quite a journey for A&M as you say.

      Yes, I was in two minds about mentioning the political upheaval as it’s a bit embarrassing having the rest of the world look on and laugh, but as you say we are not alone, and such happenings are going on in many other countries. Some really big, difficult problems that need to be addressed but where to begin with the systems we all have in place. Tough one and glad I’m not the one who is going to be the next PM of any country.

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    1. He’s a larger-than-life character which is why you know of him but for him to come back after 6 weeks’ holiday in the Caribbean just can’t be right and would be disastrous, I feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s very ‘dreich’ here today too. What a lovely Scottish word – I’m curious to know how it should be pronounced (from a native speaker such as you, not from a Google automaton!)
    The revolving (revolting?) door – honestly, what a mess. And re. the threatened return of Boris – I can’t believe people have such short memories. Unfortunately I think the word ‘partygate’ is such a frivolous sounding term that it seems to gloss over and lessen what it actually meant at the time, the context of law-abiding people suffering in lockdown, grieving alone, etc. while all that was going on, and the lies upon lies upon lies that followed. Argh. Anyway, I’ll get myself off the subject before I implode with despair. Sergio Mendes and the Beatles provide a soothing tonic, thanks for that!
    – Also I had to look up the SM & B’66 album cover in full after reading R Guy Slater’s comment (of course) Very subtle, I bet that surprised quite a few folk!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s dreich again here today – very misty – and you know what, my hair problems of this time last year have returned! Soft, limp hair that just hangs – it must be the time of year what with the sudden cold and damp. Combine all that with middle-aged hair that has changed texture and it’s a nightmare to deal with. Here we go again until next Spring. Argh…

      As for the word (you at least spelt it properly whereas I did not – changed now) – it is a good one and hard to explain how to pronounce it. If you know how to pronounce the word LOCH, with the ch at the back of your throat, it’s just like that with a DREE sound at the beginning.

      I too found an image of the album cover after R Guy mentioned it – very clever how they did it and quite tasteful and artistic I thought. Not a sand dune after all!

      We’ll see what the next week brings starting with the deadline tomorrow lunchtime. Re Boris, I find it hard to believe people have such short memories but all they seem to care about is winning the next election which is far too short-term. As I’ve said above, we’ve still got a system that doesn’t lend itself to solving the long-term problems we have – Adult social care, climate change, massive gulf between rich and poor, houses treated as assets and not homes etc, etc. It’s not going to be easy for whoever gets the big job next week.

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  6. A great song – Fool on the Hill is pure McCartney; Lennon, not for the first time, is credited in name only.

    Next week is going to be a pivotal week in British politics; I’m trying not to think about it as it upsets me too much. I can’t believe what these c**ts have done to my country (and yours).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always liked the song but this version by SM & the gang is just beautiful – I want to go back to 1968 and not be stuck in this never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis. Would love not to think about it all but not easy for someone like me. Must try harder.

      (Did a minor edit on your comment as I ticked the box for this being a U-rated blog – I agree wholeheartedly though).

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  7. Wholeheartedly agree that Get Back put a new narrative in for The Beatles, and one that even got me re-watching 1995s Anthology just to see the differences in the know story between then and now. Still seems hard to believe that in 1995 there seemed to be very little Beatle conversation going on in the world (I think I was 12 (in 1982) before I’d actually heard their music, and that level of Beatles media remained until Anthology opened the gates again.
    For Beatles covers, if you haven’t heard it Booker T & The MGs released McLemore Avenue – an album primarily based on Abbey Road, but with other Beatley treats thrown in.
    Here’s the medley of Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End / Here Comes The Sun / Come Together
    (nearly 16 minutes well spent I think)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Watching the remastered Get Back doc series really brought these four lads alive again for me and as has been said, it almost looked as if it could have been filmed the other week as it was just so sharp and nothing like the grainy footage we were used to seeing of them in the past. (The styles of the time were strangely timeless too and could have almost been contemporary.) We got to know them as people again and how they went about writing these great songs (albeit a bit tetchily at times) – made me want to revisit their classic albums, watch more docs and read books about them. Big bonus was Paul at Glastonbury – it didn’t matter that the voice isn’t what it was, it was a two and half hour joyful experience. He ended with Golden Slumbers, so nice to hear another version of it in your clip – so many Beatles covers of every possible persuasion it seems. I’m loving this Sergio Mendes one of Fool on the Hill but as a music blogger, if you chose to purely specialise in Beatles covers you would never run out of material.

      I’ve just checked out the 1995 Anthology series but have never watched it – Will put that right soon. A generation on from their heyday and at the height of Britpop, the world was ready for it obviously. I do vaguely remember them from first time around but only when the Red and Blue greatest hits albums came out in 1973 did I really get into them, plus the films were often shown on telly during the school holidays. 2022 has been another shitty year for all sorts of reasons but one good thing has been that the Beatles have been back in our lives – good timing indeed.
      Thanks for dropping by.

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  8. The Sérgio Mendes version of Fool on the Hill is a rather lovely time capsule. That style of easy listening, usually female fronted, pop takes me back to the Saturday night variety shows that used to be on the TV when I was a kid in the 1960s – Mike Sammes Singers etc.

    As for the Tory shenanigans, I’m afraid that if I started, you’d have to asterisk out most of my thoughts too. What an utterly contemptable bunch of self-serving b******s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘A rather lovely time capsule’ is exactly what it is. Had I been 20 years younger and trying to be ‘cool’, I doubt if I would have had the courage to share such a clip, but fortunately, as we get older, we also get wiser so I have no qualms about sharing such fodder now. Balm for the soul as I said.

      Things/PMs have changed already since I wrote this post on Saturday. The life of this blog has coincided with a turbulent time for our country and no sign of it getting any better sadly.

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