On This Day (May 15)…”Fools” On Tape

I can see what’s wrong with me
It’s in my head…

Lyrics to “Fools”. Retrieved from here.

Deep Purple apparently recorded “Fools” on this day in 1971. Louie Austin was the sound engineer for this session.

This song was released on Fireball just under two months later in July of 1971. It was the second-to-last track on the album, as well as the longest on the album at just under eight and a half minutes. The song remained in a slow, steady 4:4 rhythm and was played entirely in b minor, with a fairly simple riff begun by tonic-mediant-subdominant (B – D – E) played by the three melodic instruments. This, incidentally, was a progression earlier used in “Blind” on Deep Purple, as well as providing the backbone the next year for “Smoke on the Water” on Machine Head. This song is also one of the earliest times that Deep Purple dealt with themes of misanthropy and a dark future, things which have repeatedly cropped up in their recent work.

Overall, this song is one of the reasons that I absolutely love Fireball. The emotional depths found within “Fools” sets it alongside “Child in Time” as one of the more pathos-laden songs from Mark II’s tenure. While it’s a fairly simple song, it has a great deal of depth.

The lineup which recorded the song never attempted it on stage for unknown reasons. It finally made its live debut at the turn of the millennium with the Mark VII lineup. The live version and the studio version are radically different thanks to guitarist Steve Morse’s entirely new solo section. I talk more about that version here.

Live at Montreux, 2000. Note the cast on Morse’s hand.

The song was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in London. Deep Purple had recorded at least part of every album beginning with The Book of Taliesyn up to this point using this studio.

Exterior of the studios in May of 2009. Retrieved from here.

This studio predominantly did film work, but was also notable for its many rock ‘n roll clients. Here are some of the albums which have come from this studio over the years.

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