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If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody

"If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" is a song written by Rudy Clark and first recorded by James Ray in 1961. Ray's recording on the Caprice label, arranged by Hutch Davie and produced by Gerry Granahan,[1] reached number 10 on the US Billboard R&B chart. and number 22 on the Hot 100 in early 1962.[2]

"If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody"
Fool of Somebody.jpg
Single by James Ray
B-side"It's Been A Drag"
Format45 RPM
LabelCaprice CAP-110
Songwriter(s)Rudy Clark
Producer(s)Gerry Granahan

In 1962, the Beatles began to perform the song at their gigs, with John Lennon singing lead and playing harmonica.[3] Paul McCartney said that George Harrison had a copy of Ray's record.. "and we did a version of it because we thought it was such a wacky waltz. No one had a 3/4 number. And an R 'n' B waltz, that was new! The London bands used to gather round when they'd hear us do it in Hamburg. Lots of bands all hanging, having a beer when we were on, and I consciously remember them all hanging round for that one....".[4] Ray's single was reputedly included in John Lennon's jukebox, the subject of a 2004 compilation album.[5]

Manchester beat group Freddie and the Dreamers heard the Beatles play the song at the Cavern in Liverpool in September 1962, and soon began to incorporate it into their own act.[6] The group recorded it with producer John Burgess, and their version reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1963, the first hit of their career.[7] It was also the opening track on their eponymous debut album.

In late 1965, the song was covered by soul singer Maxine Brown. Her version, on the Wand label, reached number 63 on the Hot 100.[8] The song has been recorded by many other musicians, including Brian Poole and the Tremeloes (1963), Timi Yuro (1963), Eddie Floyd (1967), Aretha Franklin (1969), Ben E. King (1970), Bobbie Gentry (1970), and Lou Rawls (1990).[9]


  1. ^ Dik de Heer, "Gerry Granahan", Black Cat Rockabilly. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 365.
  3. ^ Everett, W. (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul. Oxford University Press. p. 116. ISBN 9780195141054. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  4. ^ Interview with Paul McCartney, Observer Music Monthly, 18 September 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  5. ^ Spencer Leigh, "With a Little Help From My Friends: How John Lennon developed his songwriting genius", Goldmine, 11 November 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening) Wednesday 12 September 1962", Beatles Bible. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  7. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 298. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 88. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  9. ^ "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody", Secondhand Songs. Retrieved 27 April 2019.