The Fool On The Hill

Album: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
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  • Paul McCartney wrote this song. It's about a man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom.

    An event which prompted this song happened when Paul was walking his dog, Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared. A friend of McCartney's, Alistair Taylor, was present with Paul during this strange incident, and wrote of this event in his book, Yesterday.

    Both Paul and Alistair could not imagine what happened to this man. He had seemed to vanish in thin air. The nearest trees for cover were too far to reach by walking or running in a few seconds, and the crest of the hill was too far as well to reach in that short time. What made the experience even more mysterious, was that just before this man first appeared, Paul and Alistair were speaking to each other of the beauty they observed of the view towards London and the existence of God. Once back home, they spent the morning discussing what had happened, trying to make some sense of it. They both agreed that this was something others were infer occurred as a result of an "acid trip," but they both swore they had not taken or used any drugs. When Paul filmed the sequence for this song in the film, it shows him on a hilltop overlooking the town of Nice. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Gavin - Hampden, MA
  • Paul played this for John Lennon while they were writing "With A Little Help From My Friends." John made him write down the words so he wouldn't forget.
  • This is a very curious song musically as well as lyrically, as it shifts between major and minor keys. Dan Wilson, a songwriter whose credits include Adele's "Someone Like You" and Chris Stapleton's "When The Stars Come Out," explained in a Songfacts interview: "I think that song is musically just incredible. And mysterious. The way it goes from minor to major to minor just kills me every time.

    Why it isn't a funny kind of silly song in my heart is just a mystery to me, also. The lyrics are like a nursery rhyme. It's so simple and there's nothing to it, yet I find it deeply sad and affecting and almost tragic, like it's some kind of tragedy of human nature being explained or channeled in a super-simple song that toggles from minor to major and back again."
  • This began as a solo composition with Paul McCartney at the piano. Flutes were added last.
  • This was not a hit for The Beatles, but a 1968 cover version by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 went to #6 in the US. In America, this was the highest-charting Beatles cover until 1975, when Elton John took "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" to #1.
  • This was used in the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour.
  • The Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart) reunited to perform this song on the CBS special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, which aired on February 9, 2014 - exactly 50 years after The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Comments: 61

  • Curious from UsaDid he find his dog? That's the most important part of the story!
  • Juan from Colombiathe covers might be good. but the original is far better in every sense
  • George Simpson from Dallas TexasWho is the fool? You are for not recognizing the fool knows things you will never know.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAs a child, I knew the cover of this song by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 far better than the original, so I've always preferred it.
  • Pedro from PortugalI agree with Virginia, this is an incredible song. An interesting story. Once I was walking and in a second-hand little shop, I saw a Double-Single vinyl. Was MMT the album, but as a double single. Well I bought it, and for me this is the best song there. Masterpiece.
    Btw, do. you think the 2x single is valuable?
  • Virginia Abreu De Paula from Montes Claros BrazilI disagree it was not a hit. Of course it was a hit. the whole record with MMT songs were highly appreciated. It was not released as a single, so it could not be in the charts by itself. But it was in the charts anyway.
  • Steve from UsaThe voice does sound very much like George in spots. I think it is just a coincidence. Both men were from Liverpool. True, George had a stronger working class accent then John and Paul but it is Paul singing.
  • Raj Mumbaikar from MumbaiI thought all these years that this indicated the astronomers Copernicus and Galileo, who were silenced (or an attempt was made) by the Church.
  • James from San Diego, CaIt reminds me of the Scripture in I Corinthians 1:27 - But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the
    weak things of the world to shame the strong. (Interesting to think that Paul and his friend could have had a brief encounter with God that day on their walk.)
  • Staley from Dallas, TxThis is one of my favorite Beatles songs (I respect their talent, but I'm not a huge fan), but I actually like the Brasil 66 version better.
  • Greg from New Lexington, OhThis song is actually about a dog. at least that's what I get out of it and I'm pretty sure that Paul owned a sheep dog and wrote this song about that dog but I am not positive it just depends on how you choose to hear the song I guess.
  • George from Belleville, NjThis was McCartney's song all the way,and what a song.This is another world class ballad.I read that this is one of the most covered songs in pop music.The melody is so simple yet so deeply moving that it gives the feeling of far away places.A brilliant piece of pop song writing.One of my favorite songs.It never fails to move me every time I listen to it.
  • Walrus from West Texas, Txthe fool on the hill is George
    from the fool on the hill:
    "But the fool on the hill,
    Sees the sun going down,
    And the eyes in his head,
    See the world spinning 'round."

    from while my guitar gently weeps:
    "I look at the world and I notice it's turning
    While my guitar gently weeps "

    George was into Hinduism and it has thousands of Gods
    from fool on the hill:
    "Head in a cloud,
    The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
    But nobody ever hears him,
    or the sound he appears to make,
    and he never seems to notice," (George talking to the other beatles about Hinduism (thousand voices) and nobady seems interested)

    listen to the fool on the hill and while my guitar gently weeps back to back to back with the understanding that George was wanting more album time, but was quiet about it and not very pushy...while my guitar gentle weeps is George chastising the other beatles (John and Paul specifically)
    "I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
    While my guitar gently weeps
    I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
    Still my guitar gently weeps
    (they all seem to be at George's place with George's love asleep to one side and he is telling them, THAT is the kind of love you could have instead of your wild ways)

    I don't know why nobody told you
    how to unfold you love
    I don't know how someone controlled you
    they bought and sold you

    I look at the world and I notice it's turning
    While my guitar gently weeps
    With every mistake we must surely be learning
    Still my guitar gently weeps

    I don't know how you were diverted
    you were perverted too
    I don't know how you were inverted
    no one alerted you

    I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
    While my guitar gently weeps
    I look at you all
    Still my guitar gently weeps

    I look from the wings at the play you are staging
    While my guitar gently weeps
    As I'm sitting here doing nothing but aging
    Still my guitar gently weeps
    (all the interviews and press conferences John and Paul were doing "the play they are staging")

    the fool on the hill is Paul and John's answer to George's "holy words" (we don't wanna hear it)
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvThis is what one of my friends call me, the Fool on the Hill, even though we don't live on a hill.
  • Lovely Lauren from Atlanta, GaIf you want to get in to interpretations of the song here's a thought (or 5): The song was written towards the end of 1967. What happened that year? Paul and Jane Asher broke off their engagement. The Beatles discovered Eastern Religion, etc., their beloved manager Brian Epstein died of an overdose, the Beatles formed Apple Corps. in order to take charge of their own finances after having been screwed out of TONS of money that they had rightfully earned over the past 5 years ... AND the artist group THE FOOL painted the famous psychedelic wall for the Apple Boutique as well as several other artistic endeavors for the Beatles and many other prominent British bands/musicians.... Just my input.

    For those of you who insist on arguing that Paul does not sing the song:
    Are you seriously going to speculate about that which you obviously have little knowledge about and are going on some kind of unscientific hunch? Are you the same kind of people who like to argue for the sake of arguing? There's no DOUBT it's Paul. Paul wrote 97%ish of the song, there's a solo video of him singing on a hill in France, and if you know anything about the Beatles you know that the vocals in the song can belong to none other than Paul McCartney - with his tender, beautiful middle-class Liverpool accent and tone.

    "sorry bud, a person deaf in one ear and unable to hear out the other could tell that it is Paul. There is no question about it."
    - Chewy, Atlanta, GA
    Thank You Chewy!!

    "Didn't Paul wear a raincoat in the movie Magical Mystery Tour, just like the man he saw?"
    - Cheyanne, Allegan, MI
    The reason Paul wore a raincoat during the filming of the video from MMT - when he's singing and skipping down the hill - is because it was cold and rainy in France on the day they filmed that scene.

    "This is my autobiographical song. In every way."
    - Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
    Thank you Peter Griffin. I must say, I am a big fan.

    And in the end: I am the Fool {or, at least, one of many}.
  • Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiI doubt that this song was directed at any one person. I think it's more about the phenomenon of how independently thinking and acting people in general often appear to be "foolish" by those who are slaves to the herd mentality, even though the former are often very wise indeed.
  • John from Long Beach, CaA guy on YouTube, WS64, wrote this, "Paul about the song:
    'Fool on the Hill' was mine and I think I was writing about someone like Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn't taken too seriously ... I was sitting at the piano at my father's house in Liverpool hitting a D 6th chord, and I made up 'Fool on the Hill.' "
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyI've always felt that Peter Gabriel's hit song "Solsbury Hill" was a retelling of this story, or Gabriel's interpretation of what had happened on the hill, that day.
  • Taylor from New Glasgow, NsI always thought that the song was about Galileo Galilei. The fool (as regarded by everyone else at the time) on the hill was Galileo doing his work. He was told that the sun was moving, but deep down he knew it was Earth that was moving. No one wants to talk to him, because he was regarded as a mad man.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Caa masterpiece of a pop song....
  • Kaela from Mesa, Az, Azok, ready- here's what me and my dad came up with (it might be wrong but, its OUR opinion):
    "day after day, alone on a hill..." a man is just... there :)
    "a man with a foolish grin :3 is keeping PERFECTLY STILL" because he's dead.
    "he never gives an answer" cuz he's dead
    "the fool sees the sun going spinning.." as he is dying
    "Well on his way, Head in a cloud," he's in heaven
    "The man with the empty mind is talking perfectly loud but nobody seems to hear him" empty mind:his spirit went to heaven, nobody hears him: he's in heaven.
    kk so i dont know if thats right but thats what we came up with. this was QUITE a while ago, back when we were all obsessed w/ the "paul is dead" thing.
    google it.

  • Brent from Kitchener, OnI have Paul McCartney singing "Fool on the Hill" in rough DEMO form on cassette tape. It's just him singing and a piano - nothing else. Also, he stumbles through the lyrics, and you can tell he hasn't even finished writing them yet. Also, the song falls apart at the end. I got this tape from a Capitol Records rep in New York in 1980 something. I found it in box in my furnace room - I had forgotten I even had it.
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxThe Flutes are likely Irish Penny Whistles - like those used in Titanic - but I am sure someone somewhere can tell us for sure.
  • Tay from San Deigo, Cai am often called a fool
    i have no idea why
    it may be because i see
    the world with a different pair of eyes
  • Tay from San Diego, CaThis is not about Jesus! Its about people who are thought to be fools!
  • Tay from San Diego, Cato the people who think george sings this are WRONG! its paul who sings this, you can tell by his voice. and this song is about misunderstood people.
  • Tay from San Diego, Caim a fool. people told me that a lot and i would just smile. i know im smarter then them when it comes to Life. so i like to believe paul wrote his about me. im NOT saying he did but i like thinking it.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiThis is my autobiographical song. In every way.
  • Peter from West Granby , Cti must honestly say that i believe that the song fool on the hill is merely a metaphor for humanity in general...we are close minded and we have ears for no one...only a few people (the fools) are true to themselves and others... and other people mock them, insult them, misunderstand... they all misunderstand....... i am a fool
  • Allie from A Little Ol' Town In, MiI love how carefree this song sounds. If you think about it, the lyrics really make sense, maybe we are the fools and the people who we call foolish are the sane ones. HMMM think about that one.=)
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaI read Paul say in an interview that he was inspired to write this song by the story of a man who lived for years in the mountains in Italy during World War II, and when the man finally came down from the mountains he was surprised there had been a war! He he had missed the entire war! Even though he was basically living in the middle of it! And Paul liked that peaceful naiveté.
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandIf you've ever been a victim of the crowd or the butt of jibes and sneers, you'll relate to this song. If you ever been left out, uninvited, you'll know that they're the fools.... what a great song for misfits everywhere. Who wants to fit in the box called normal anyway? Normals do, and they're legion. You'll find them at the bottom of the hill, laughing like hyenas.
  • Chloe from Agoura Hills, CaThis is one of my favorite Beatles songs ever!!!!! It reminds me of a kid named Ben who goes to my school and gets teased by alot of people because he's very tiny and skinny.But I know him and he's actually very smart and just ignores what people say about him.The line"He never listens to them, he knows that their the fools"describeds him perfectly
  • Mischael from Nashville, TnI seem to recall a story of one of India's famous sages (Ramana, perhaps?) who lived on a hill, where many, many folks made pilgrimages to seek spiritual advice. Reportedly, one Western newspaper man climbed the hill for a story, and chided the sage with, "Why don't you come down from here and join the Real World!" He replied, "You ARE the Real World!" Mischa Z, Nashville, TN
  • Anonymous from Phoenix, AzThis was in fact the first session that Yoko Ono attended. There is even proof in these pictures:
  • Curtis from Edmonton, AlI had to sign up just out of compulsion to open all of your eyes. This song is about a philosopher, plain and simple. In fact the comment. "... man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom", is actually the problem depicted by Socrates in Plato's Republic and his example of the cave.
  • Joe from Montvale, NjPaul plays recorder on this tune and there is also backward's harmonicas fading in and out of this song.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaName one other song that Lennon and McCartney wrote that George sang lead on. Also, in the MMT booklet
    that accompanied the album, under the song title for "Fool on the hill" there is a cartoon of Paul standing on a hill singing. So clearly its YOU Buzz, who are the idiot.
  • Buzz from Towntown, Mi"That is definitely George Harrison. Listen to how he says "Day after day, alone on a hill"" Why don't you just listen to one Harrison song and admit ur an idiot.
  • Izzy from Buffalo, Nychewey, this song is NOT ABOUT HITLER! but thank you for not saying 'the hebrews' or 'jewish people', but instead said 'jews', and even capitalized it! im jewish and i HATE it when people call jews the first two mentioned. k on to buisness. i always thought of this song as being a poor, ragged man, sitting alone. people dont like him because he is mentally ill was what i thought. that makes sence, with then 100 or whatever voices talking in his head. he could be scitsofrenic(not that means he is a bad person), and the line they could tell what he wanted to do, might simply mean he wanted to get food and shelter that they weren't willing to offer. the lines '...sees the sun going down and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round', are very easy to interpert. seeing the sun going down means that he jsut sits there, while everyone is to busy to realize whats going on. and the line 'the eyes in his head see the world spinning round' can mean that he is a deep thinker. my moms cousin who had skitsofrenia was a poet and a self-proclaimed philosopher. he was really funny, and was a deep thinker, and wrote beautiful poetry.
    the line 'he knows they're to fool' can refer to him knowing that even though he has skitsofrenia, it doesn't mean there's anything seriously wrong with him, and that they are just paranoid.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaChewy is right. This is as 'Mccartney' as it gets.
    Maybe you should get your ears checked. Really.
  • Alisa from Franklin, WiThis is really great. The music video is done well with it too.
  • Dave from Lynbrook, NyThis is an amazing song by the by. If it is indeed about an encounter maybe with God, then in 'Glass Onion' where Lennon says, "I told you 'bout the fool on the hill", couldn't it be metephorically talking about a belief in a God, or a spiritual revalation. If not, I agree with Peter about individuality and breaking off from social norms. Side note to "The Prynce": if you are going to try and bash with Biblical references get it right. Jesus line in the Bible that translates, "My God My God why have You forsaken Me" does not mean Jesus realized He was wrong, or He thinks God has not listened to Him, but instead is a quote from Psalm 22. Thus He was praying at the last moments. I am not saying what religion is correct, just that you totally misinterpreted a Biblical quote. Anyways, no worries! Beatles = amazing!
  • Joe from Trumbull, CtIn the song 'Glass Onion', which was written solely by Lennon, he says "I told you 'bout the fool on the hill". All the songs referenced in 'Glass Onion' were Lennon songs - except for Fool on the Hill. I wonder if maybe Lennon and McCartney wrote the song, but the ladder simply sang it. It makes sense that since Lennon said he told us about the song, that maybe there was some unknown contraversy within the band as to who actually wrote it. It was more like Lennon to use the flute in his songs, and the end is clearly a sort of psychadelic chiming by the flute resemblant to that in 'Strawberry Fields Forever' or even 'Blue Jay Way'. I don't distrust that McCartney wrote it, but it seems like the kind of song that Lennon and McCartney may have worked on together, as they rarely did in the post-Sgt.-Pepper era. I think it works great as the second track on 'The Magical Mystery Tour', and that the song is part of the masterpiece that is that album. But, it doesn't seem that the lyrics really comply with the stories mentioned above. That event probably inspired its writing, but its pretty obvious that the songs go much deeper than what was written in 'Yesterday'.
  • Ari from Atlanta, GaI'd say that it is a play off of the idea of Winthrop's christian city on a hill, "for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us".
  • Brian from Marlton, NjYeah... That's definitely Paul singing. George Harrison usually only sang lead vocals on the songs he wrote.
  • Chewy from Atlanta, Gasorry bud, a person deaf in one ear and unable to hear out the other could tell that it is Paul. There is no question about it.
  • Anthony from Plymouth, MnI can't believe I'm the first to make the comment that George Harrison is the one singing fool on the hill. Isn't this kind of a strange anomaly as it is credited to McCartney? I know it's hard to buy, but listen to it with an open mind. That is definitely George Harrison. Listen to how he says "Day after day, alone on a hill"
  • Chewy from Atlanta, GaI grew up believing this song was about Adolf Hitler. It all adds up if you think about it. He was definently a man of a 1000 voices with his head in the clouds. He had his plan and stuck to it. During WWII he lived on a hill and that was why he is the 'fool on the hill'. He knew everyone was against him with his whole plan on killing the Jews and what not...'he never listens to them, he knows that they're the fool'. And of course everyone loathed the man...'they don't like him'.

    The main chorus...'his eyes in his head, see the world spinning round'. Hitler's plan was to rule the world. One would assume, every night he would sit in his home upon the hill basking in his own beautiful self-image of being a king of the world. He would see the world beneath him spinning.
  • Peter from Los Angeles, Ca"...a man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom..." is what happens to smart (sensitive, deep etc.) people who are surrounded by ignorant (insensitive, shallow) people. You can change your perceptions, usually through experience. But you are what and where you are now. If you are an outcast, then your curse may be lonliness, but a benefit may be the result of this experience, social position: individuality. People with such individuality "see the sun going down" - are capable of objectively seeing things that people "fortunate" enough to be more social, surrounded by people, may not be able to see as well.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScIt might be my favorite on 'Magical mystery tour' as well. Although, i love 'Blue Jay Way" also. I can see why the song would be ablut Jesus.
  • Cheyanne from Allegan, MiDidn't Paul wear a raincoat in the movie Magical Mystery Tour, just like the man he saw?
  • Kevin from New York, NyJohn,

    How do you know what Jesus said? A bunch of people wrote a book about his life. As we all know sometimes people make mistakes. Heck I could sit down and write a book about how Lennon is god or somthing. Just becuase someone writes it does not mean it's true.
  • John from Washington, DcI have no reason to believe that it occured any way but as Paul says, since he knows, why would he lie? I also believe that God stepped in and had something to do with the lyrics matching so well with the Truth of the Gospel. That's the choice we all must make. Either Jesus is Who He says He is or he was a madman. I'm a believer!
  • Liliana from Huntley, Iloh my gosh, I was thinking about Jesus as being the fool on the hill too... that's why I decided to look here and see what it said about it. i'm glad someone else noticed the connection too. we'll never know if this was intentionally done but the lyrics eerily match this.
  • The Prynce from Dillon / Hamer, ScIt's about Jesus and his last hours hanging on the cross. A somewhat anti-Christo song especially shockingly to be by Paul. Some people think that Jesus was a fool who had himself convinced that he was dogmatic and wouldn't break from his own delusions until the moment he said God had forsaken him. He was "Well on the way" to his own death with his "head in the clouds" which means he refused to listen to anything that was different from his own thoughts "The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud" as he was hanging, he still spit his rheteric the same as always.

    Just detach yourself from the normal Christian line of thought and read the lyrics and it will shock you how it coinicides so well.

    -=The Prynce
  • Louie from Sumerduck, VaThey used a Mellotron quite a lot and it had a very impressive flute tape/track. It's possible a Mellotron was used... I think the intro to Strawberry Fields is a Mellotron.
  • Jen from Cornwall, EnglandApparently this song was written after an LSD trip in which Paul saw a man on a hill, and looked and again and he was gone... feeling a bit guilty for making yet another drug reference...Hmm. Anyhow the Beatles rock...Ciao!
  • Catherine from Glasgow, EnglandI have to agree with Paul looking so cute! One of the many things that amazes me about the Beatles is how did they manage to stay looking so great all the time even in those pepper suits??
    This is a lovely song and i think it has a deeper meaning. Don't judge people by apperances only.
  • James from Birmingham, AlI think those are recorders, rather than flutes.
  • Veronica from West Covina, CaI love this song! It could possibly be my favorite for the Magical Mystery Tour. Also I must say Paul is so cute in the movie when he does this song.
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