Saturday, July 07, 2018

Songs of '78: "Fool (If You Think It's Over)"

Chris Rea, an English musician who has had a long and productive career in the United Kingdom and throughout western Europe, released his debut album, Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?, 40 years ago this month, and this sweet bit of heart-break poetry was its lead single. It was the only song of his to receive anything like significant radio-play in the United States, thus earning this talented, idiosyncratic, introspective artist the "one-hit wonder" label, which is really disrespectful to a guy who has had multiple hit albums in his home country. Still, that's what I thought of him for decades--he was the writer of that cool, sly, surprisingly deep little soft-rock number, the one that crept around the corners of my consciousness, catching me unawares and throwing me back to my childhood when I'd hear it on the radio. Rea himself apparently is ambivalent about the song--it's nothing like the sort of music he's mostly committed himself to over the years, but then, how can you distance yourself from the one song much of your English-speaking audience knows you best for? Of course, given the subject matter of the song, maybe such ambivalence is appropriate. The past is the past--except when it isn't, right?

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