Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)

Album: Rick Nelson Sings For You (1963)
Charted: 12


  • This popular song about throwing caution to the wind for the sake of love was written by Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom in 1940. It was widely covered throughout the next three decades, with soul singer Brook Benton taking it to #24 on the pop chart in 1960. But Nelson landed the highest hit at #12 with his rockabilly-inspired version, with the help of longtime guitarist James Burton.
  • One of the more popular versions upon its debut was Frank Sinatra's with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. As always, Sinatra was very specific about his phrasing. He explained: "The story of the song is in the first four lines: 'Fools rush in where wise men never go, but wise men never fall in love, so how are they to know?' But most fellows chop it up: 'Fools rush in (breath) where wise men never go (breath) but wise men never fall in love (breath) so how are they to know?' But if you do it that way, nobody follows the story."
  • Sinatra recorded this again in 1947 (Frankly Sentimental), with an Axel Stordahl arrangement, and in 1960 (Nice 'n' Easy), with a Nelson Riddle arrangement. Pianist/singer Michael Feinstein told the Los Angeles Times in 2012: "'Fools Rush In' is something [Sinatra] reinterpreted through the decades. It became much deeper. In his later recording, he goes for a high note that was almost off the charts. I hear that section of the song and it always opens my heart and makes me feel that moment of joy when one realizes another person has transformed their existence."
  • This has also been recorded by Jo Stafford, Julie London, Etta James, Lesley Gore, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Rosemary Clooney, and more. Doris Day recorded it as a duet with Andre Previn for their 1962 album, Duet.
  • This inspired the title for the 1997 romantic comedy Fools Rush In, starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek. Alex (Perry) decides to marry Isabel (Hayek) after a one-night stand leads to a pregnancy, but he's in for more than he bargained for when he meets her traditional Mexican family. The song, however, was not used in the movie.
  • Rick Nelson performed this when he hosted Saturday Night Live on February 17, 1979.
  • The lyric "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" is from Alexander Pope's 1709 poem "An Essay on Criticism." The line, or the shortened "fools rush in," would become an idiom describing people who act before thinking. The Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs specifies: "Foolish people usually do not understand when a situation is dangerous, so they are not afraid to do things that would frighten more sensible people."
  • Bob Dylan used the line "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" in his 1983 song "Jokerman."
  • Elvis Presley memorably opened his 1961 hit "Can't Help Falling In Love" with the lyrics "Wise men say, only fools rush in." A decade later he would record a cover of "Fools Rush In."
  • The indie duo She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) covered this in 2010.

Comments: 4

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDoes anyone know what kind of guitar James played on this recording? Loved the sound of it.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaOne of my fav tunes by Rickey. His dad was the one who wanted him to record this.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 14th 1960, Brook Benton performed "Fools Rush In" on the NBC-TV program 'The Perry Como Show'...
    At the time the song was at #26 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; nine days earlier on December 5th it had peaked at #24 {for 1 week} and it stay on the chart for 10 weeks...
    Six days later on December 20th Mr. Benton's covered version of "Someday You'll Want Me to Want You" entered the Top 100 for a one week stay, and that was at position #93...
    Between 1959 and 1978 he had thirty-six records make Billboard's R&B Singles chart; twenty-one made the Top 10 with seven reaching #1, "It's Just A Matter of Time" in 1959, "So Many Ways" in 1959, "Thank You Pretty Baby" in 1959, "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" w/Dinah Washington in 1960, "Kiddo" in 1960, "A Rockin' Good Way" w/Dinah Washington in 1960, and "Rainy Night in Georgia" in 1970.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 9th 1963, Rick Nelson performed "Fools Rush In" on the ABC-TV family sitcom, 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet'...
    At the time Rick's covered version of the song was at #26 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; just over three weeks later on November 3rd it would peak at #12 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 13 weeks...
    Earlier in the 1960s two other covered versions also made the Top 100; on December 5th, 1960 Brook Benton's version* peaked at #24 {for 1 week), then twenty-two months later on October 21st, 1962 Etta James would reached #87 {for 1 week} with her version...
    * Brook Benton's version would reached #5 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart.
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