Fool (If You Think It’s Over) by Chris Rea (United Artists, 1978)


Englishman Chris Rea has had many hits in the UK, but he is known as one hit wonder here in the States with this Top 15 hit. This tune was even nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year, so Chris’ future sure looked good in 1978. Gus Dudgeon, who produced many of Elton John’s early 70s hits, laid his hands on this one. But it seems that Chris & Gus did not get along, so much so that Chris rerecorded Fool in 1988 and has kept the original out of print. Supposedly he hated the original mix, but listening to the newer version, I don’t notice a difference except that the 1988 version is glossier. I wonder what the deeper story about that album experience is.

I always dug the drum machine little bossa nova groove that sits under this tune and gave it this cool shuffle. On the surface I always thought this was just a break-up song told from an onlooker’s point of view. But of course I dug deeper into the lyrics and now I have more questions.

Chris talks about witnessing “miss teenage dream” going through the heartache of getting dumped, reminding her only an idiot would “do that to you”. But rather than offer some other words of comfort, he adds, “Fool, if you think it’s over, it’s just begun.” as in, ‘get ready to have this happen multiple times.’ Needless to say he wasn’t invited to any counselor banquets.

Ok so Chris is a realist. And a downer. But what do you make of this?

I’ll buy your first good wine
We’ll have a real good time

Is he planning on getting this girl drunk? Does having ‘ a real good time’ include a ride to a hot pillow motel out on Route 9 for 45 minutes? Remember he’s already established that he’s talking to a teenager. Don’t know what the laws are in England, but it’s a felony over here, Chris. Man what is it with guys writing song about teenage girls in the 70s?

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6 Comments

  1. Jan

     /  December 11, 2011

    Chris wrote ‘fool’ about his little sister who just had her first big blowout. There is nothing lewd or lascivious about this song–happens to be my favourite.. If you listen to his many other songs, you will hear that he is a beautiful sensitive writer. In Canada we were robbed not being able to see him perform or even hear his music!

    Reply
  2. Interesting. I’ve never read that this was wriiten about his sister. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  3. Christie

     /  February 28, 2012

    I think we’ve been robbed in the states too one hit wonder I don’t think so.

    Reply
  4. RBB

     /  April 16, 2013

    Much prefer this slightly higher pitched and better orchestrated version to the 1988 one, which is the only one you’ll find for sale in most places.

    Reply
  5. Greg

     /  August 9, 2014

    Jan is right, it was written for his sister. The name of the album Benny Santini was the name that Chris’s agent wanted him to change his name to.

    Reply
  6. Sparkina

     /  April 29, 2016

    It was indeed about his sister. And “fool if you think it’s over, it’s begun,” means that THE ROMANTIC PART OF HER LIFE doesn’t have to be over if she doesn’t want it to be. That she’ll forget the idiot boy who broke her heart and meet a very nice gentleman worthy of her love

    Reply

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