In 1956 Frankie Lymon, aged only 13, sang 'Why do Fools Fall in Love? He wanted an answer to this question, but instead he got a Top 10 hit and became the first black artist to sell a million records. All Frankie really wanted was for someone to shed some light on this and the other perplexing questions he raised in the song. Why do birds sing so gay? Why do lovers await the break of day? Why does the rain fall from up above? Why do fools fall in love? By the age of 20, clearly frustrated by not getting any answers, Frankie had ended up a washed-up has-been whose only gigs were nostalgia shows. Seven years later he died of a drugs overdose.
Frankie was only the first in a line of performers who, in doing covers of his song, vainly attempted to get to the bottom of these conundrums. Like Frankie, they were so upset that no one was prepared to sit them down and go through some basic explanations, that they felt the need to stand in front of tens of thousands and belt the questions out at the top of his voices. Are the birds singing to attract a mate or is it more a case of them demarcating their territory? wondered The Beach Boys when they did a cover in 1964. Why does the moisture in the air just decide to form into drops and fall as rain? And what the fuck are clouds? pondered Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Unbelievably, as late as 1981, Diana Ross was still asking if there was anyone out there who knew if the reason young lovers were eager for daybreak was so they could once again gaze deep into each other's eyes and see the passion that would drive the procreation of their genes and hence their immortality. Diana Ross ended up with a huge chart hit with the cover and with it an equally huge financial success. But did she get any answer as to why fools fall in love? No she didn't.
Whilst I am tragically too late for poor Frankie Lymon, I want to help the others by finally providing some serious answers.
dimanche, juin 26, 2005
why do birds sing so gay?
Why do fools fall in love? and other philosophical and scientific dilemmas derived from the lyrics of popular music, answered by Gavin Pretor-Pinney.