Foolish

Album: I'm Coming Home (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • If being kind to people is wrong, then Johnny Mathis doesn't want to be right. In this song, written by Philadelphia soul songwriters Thom Bell and Linda Creed, the velvet-voiced singer knows people will take advantage of his gentle nature, but he'll never apologize for being kind. The sentiment echoes Mathis' real-life personality, according to Bell, who also produced the album. "John is just a natural, sensitive guy," he explained in a PopMatters interview. "That was something Creed drew from John."

    One line in particular, "I'll lend a hand to any man. And if that's wrong then you can call me foolish," was inspired by a real-life incident. Bell recalled: "We were walking down the street in San Francisco. Mathis would see a street person and dig in his pocket to give him some money but his manager didn't allow him. If he had $1,000 in his pocket, he'd give it all away. Tears would come in his eyes. He's that sensitive. You can hear it in his voice."

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