Fool's Overture

Album: Even In The Quietest Moments (1977)
  • Running 10:58, this epic track was written by Supertramp's primary songwriters, Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, and Hodgson sang lead. The song started as a collage of musical ideas that Hodgson came up with, which they put together into a song about the fall of mankind. Says Hodgson: "History recalls how great the fall can be, while everybody's sleeping, the boats put out to sea. It was very much the way I was perceiving life, that people were in denial of the way we were heading and the way the planet was heading."
  • Hodgson has said that when he wrote the song, he could hear all the parts of an orchestra in his head. When he did start playing with orchestras in the '90s, it was a thrill for him to play this song. He has commented that he gets goose bumps each time he plays it in his symphony concerts.
  • On the Even In The Quietest Moments album cover there is a grand piano with sheet music opened above the keyboard. The title on the music is "Fools Overture," but the notes play "The Star Spangled Banner." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rob - Vancouver, Canada
  • This song incorporates Winston Churchill's famous "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech, made during WWII. The part sampled is, "We shall go on to the end... we shall fight on the seas and oceans... we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be... we shall never surrender."
  • Part of the song was used as the theme music for the Canadian news show W5 (who, when, what, where, why) in the '70s and '80s. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sarah - Canada, for above 2
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Comments: 15

  • Allan from CanadaI think it's all Churchill. "Called the man a fool:" he was a "hero" in the Boer War (escaping capture), First Lord of the Admiralty in WW1, but in the inter-war years he was relegated to the back benches, basically with no influence. Why was he a fool? His was the lone voice warning about Germany's rearmement and encouraging Britain to build up arms, but was derided as a belligerent warmonger, an out-of-date old soldier looking for the action of an older time.

    "Boats put out to sea" - Dunkirk? (catch the movie); "take to the skies" - Battle of Britain? "Up until the day he died" - despite his war service he was still thought of as a bit of a dinosaur, a throwback to a time gone by. So where has that spirit gone? Everyone's looking out for themselves; "live it up, let's go crazy." A series of unremarkable Prime Ministers (did Roger foresee the free-for-all Thatcher years?!), we need someone with backbone.

    I have played this album so many times, working all-nighters, and have had years to mull it over. Am I reading too much into this?
  • Thierry from FranceI don't know if anyone ever noticed that the theme played at 1:00 in the video above was taken from Gustav Holst's Planets, and more precisely Venus, the Bringer of Peace ( a very appropriate use for this song) at 2:21 in this video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKvG0RU4_fI . Sorry if this has already been said. Roger is not only talented but has a real great knowledge of any kind of music.
  • Joe from Toronto, OnNeo, you do realize that Neville Chamberlain was a conservative. And FDR was a liberal. You can't define everything with broad stroke labels. Or live your life in paranoia. I doubt that is what this song is about.
  • Neo from Waterville, MnWhether this song was some attempt to paint Neville (the cowardly lion) Chamberlain as some sort of positive figure or not, I cannot say. What I will say is that Winston Churchill was a God send and savior to the western world, for if he had not wakened the Chamberlain's of the time, evil would not have been defeated.
    That same evil exists and grows yet today and it seeks the same end as Hitler did ....world power and annihilation of the Jewish people. Liberals need to awaken from their slumber, nobody likes war, but evil exists and if not confronted, 2/3 of the world population will be victims. I chose Winston Churchill.....and that's who I think of when I hear this song.
  • Tom from Ottawa, OnI just wanted to add that the song was not meant to paint Chamerlain as fool, but to honor his memory. A noble man with noble intentions, he it was just in the wrong place and time in history
  • Tom from Ottawa, OnThe song is about Neville Chamberlain, who was derided as a fool for trying to appease the Nazi's during to lead up to WWII. Camberlain resigned after the fall of France and the Battle of Britain was about to begin. Churchill took over as Prime Minister. Chamberlain was dead within a few months from cancer
  • Roy from Milton, OnI think it's fairly obvious it's about Winston Churchill. In addition to his famous speech, a lot of the lyrics refer to the WWII struggle in England. "The island's sinking, let's take to the sky..." refers to London being heavily bombed and Churchill's fight using the RAF (which he was criticized for).
  • E.j. from Corona, CaI love Fool's Overture. I think the song is about Jesus Christ. Roger Hodgson is still touring around the world. I saw him recently here in California. He still can sing. He plays with a guy named Aaron McDonald who is an outstanding musician.
  • Steve from Ballwin, MoI always associated it with Jesus Christ as the Fool. "Called the man a fool, stripped him of his pride, everyone was laughing until the day he died. Though the wound went deep. Still he's calling us out of our sleep. We're not alone. He waits in silence to lead us all home..."
  • Drdos from St Louis, MoThis song is about when you have had enough of this world and you ride the whipering wind to the dream world within each of us. You must blow up the world of what is precieved to be self reality to see true reality. Most of the people in the world are asleep and few of us see our island sinking and if you do you may take to the sky within. It will only happen in quietest of moments. Remember that you silly fool for you didn't live that golden rule for once your through with this world there is another waiting there for those that want to see their souls again.

    Zen Power Dreamer
  • S.d. from Denver, CoJimbo, I can't say for certain, but I've always been convinced it's a metaphor the foolishness of war.
  • Donna from Boston, FlOne of the best! Brings back memories of days gone by. The 1970's had some really talented musical compositions. Supertramp is highly qualified as one of the greats!
  • Michael from Okla. City, OkAwesome song by Rodger Hojdson on acoustic guitar & vocals. Michael, OKC, OK, 4-24-08.
  • Jimbo from Sequim, WaTo whom do they refer to in the song? Is it an actual person? I've heard Einstein, Billy Mitchell, etc. suggested. Or is it some sort of metaphorical person? Help!
  • Rob from Vancouver, Canada'Crime of the Century' and 'Even in the Quietest Moments' were both big sellers in Canada. They didn't dent the American market until 'Breakfast in America'. Great Band. Put on a phenomenal live performance at Empire Stadium aroung '80 or '81.
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