Fools Gold

Album: The Very Best of The Stone Roses (1989)
Charted: 8

Songfacts®:

  • This masterful synthesis of rock and funk pioneered indie-dance and the re-mix dance craze of New Wave groups such as Primal Scream.
  • This song about greed originally debuted as the B-side to "What The World is Waiting For." It was flipped to the A-side for the single's second pressing due to public demand and was the biggest selling independent single of 1989 in the UK. It has charted in Britain on three separate occasions since, a 1992 re-issue peaked at #73, another re-issue in 1995 reached #25 and a 1999 re-mix again got to #25.
  • "Fools Gold" was built around a loop from James Brown's "Funky Drummer." It was guitarist John Squire who actually discovered the track. He recalled in Q magazine: "We were signing copies of our single, 'She Bangs The Drums,' in a Manchester record shop called Eastern Bloc. The owner said we could pick a couple of albums as a thank you and I picked out a breakbeats album because I liked the cover and I wanted to see what it was all about. That's where I heard the 'Funky Drummer' loop that we built 'Fools Gold' around."
  • Squire added in the same interview: "The construction of that single was completely different to anything we'd written before. It wasn't something that was knocked out and arranged on an acoustic guitar, then taken into rehearsals and kicked around with a drummer and a bassist. I just put it on a portastudio and started playing guitar over it. The main riff was partly inspired by Johnny Cash's rockabilly plucking sound, that muted guitar sound you get when you just play on the bass strings."
  • Run DMC sampled Fools Gold's the bassline and drum beat for their 1990 single "What's It All About," (#48 in the UK). Bananarama's 1990 #27 hit in the UK "Only Your Love" also sampled this.
  • In 2007 this was voted by BBC Radio 5 listeners as the song that best summed up the city of Manchester.
  • Singer Ian Brown told Q magazine April 2009 that the verses, which hinted at trouble within the Stone Roses camp, were inspired by the 1948 Humphrey Bogart film The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. He explained: "In the film the friends go up a mountain looking for gold. But as they go on, they start turning on one another. That's how it felt once the Roses started getting successful. Suddenly everyone was after their piece of gold."

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