THE FACT BEHIND BEATLES’ "THE FOOL ON THE HILL": Is The Man a God?


Paul McCartney wrote this. 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 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. (thanks, gavin – hampden, MA, for above 2)

This began as a solo composition with Paul McCartney at the piano. Flutes were added last.

Paul played this for John Lennon while they were writing “A Little Help From My Friends.” John made him write down the words so he wouldn’t forget.

This was used in the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour.

This was not a hit for The Beatles, but a 1968 cover version by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 went to #6 in the US.

Some Comments:

“Paul: ‘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.
‘ “- John, Long Beach, CA

I 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 naivet-In 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 unknunknown 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 this song.
Personnel
John Lennon – harmonica, maracas
Paul McCartney – lead vocal, piano, recorder, bass guitar
George Harrison – acoustic guitar, harmonica
Ringo Starr – drums, finger cymbals
Richard Taylor – flute
Jack Ellory – flute
Personnel per Ian MacDonald
Flautists also documented by Mark Lewisohn.Play with Latest Adobe Flash Player

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