The Rolling Stones

Fool to Cry

Composed by Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

Song Review by

Soulful ballads were something at which the Rolling Stones were already adept by the mid-'70s. Black and Blue had a few of them. "Fool to Cry" takes its cue from many of the '60s and '70s Stax Southern soul ballads, and the Gamble & Huff '70s brand of "Philly soul." Sexy-sounding, dripping with watery electric piano played by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards' modulating phase-shifter guitar, and Nicky Hopkins playing his usual upper-register piano flourishes, "Fool to Cry" has Jagger singing a soulful and unadorned vocal live into a hand-held microphone. He offers a heartfelt testament to his own foolish luck. The lyric seems genuinely personal, Jagger singing about his own family situation: "When I come home baby/And I've been working all night long/Put my daughter on my knee/And she says: 'Daddy, what's wrong?'/She whispers in my ears so sweet/And she says 'ooh, Daddy you're a fool to cry.'" Jagger goes on to offer other examples from his life, by which he seems genuinely dumbfounded: a man out of touch, wondering where his melancholy comes from; guilty that he has any moments of sadness when he realizes just what a lucky guy he is. From their 1976 Black and Blue LP, a record that achieved commercial success, spending 14 weeks on the charts and hitting number one, "Fool to Cry" went as high as number ten on the singles chart. But the record is widely regarded as being from an era where the Stones were turning in subpar efforts. True, they were highly confident, if not outright cocky, throwing out sometimes half-baked jams like "Melody," but a case could be made that some of these recordings show a band willing to take chances, experiment spontaneously, and spread their wings a little. "Fool to Cry" and most of Black and Blue was recorded over most of 1974, along with much of the material that became 1974's It's Only Rock 'N' Roll and 1982's Tattoo You. It has an astonishing in-your-face presence, with the vocals dry and central in the mix, and fluid, reggae-influenced guitar sounds. Black and Blue was also a record during which the band was auditioning new guitarists, before settling on Ron Wood. The American session ace Wayne Perkins plays on "Fool to Cry." As far as blue-eyed soul material goes, not much from the same era approaches the Stones' self-assured versions of soul music as shown on "Fool to Cry."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Black and Blue 1976 Capitol / Universal / Universal Music 5:05
No Image 1979 Rounder 5:01
Sucking in the Seventies 1981 Virgin 4:06
Rewind (1971-1984) 1984 Columbia / Rolling Stones Records 5:06
Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones (1971-1993) 1993 Polydor / Universal 4:07
Beggar's Banquet/Black & Blue 1999 Rolling Stones Records
No Image 2000 Rattlesnake Records 4:41
Forty Licks 2002 Virgin
LP Sleeve Box Set 2005 Toshiba EMI
The Rolling Stones Box Set 2009 Promotone 5:06
The Singles: 1971-2006 2011 Universal Music 5:05
GRRR! 2012 Universal Distribution 4:07
blue highlight denotes editor's pick