Song facts: The Fool on the Hill
On September 25th 1967, The Beatles recorded The Fool on the Hill; a new Paul McCartney song for the Magical Mystery Tour Film and EP. According to Paul he was writing about someone like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
"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." - Paul McCartney
A demo was recorded by McCartney on September 6th 1967, which can be found on The Beatles' Anthology 2 album, but the bulk of the song was recorded on the 25th and 26th. When Paul played the song for John during a writing session for With a Little Help from My Friends, he was very impressed and suggested Paul write the words down so he wouldn't forget them.
"Now that's Paul. Another good lyric. Shows he's capable of writing complete songs." - John Lennon
- Paul McCartney – vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, recorder, bass, penny whistle
- John Lennon – harmonica, jew's harp
- George Harrison – acoustic guitar, harmonica
- Ringo Starr – drums, maracas, finger cymbals
- Ray Thomas – harmonica
- Mike Pinder – harmonica
- Christopher Taylor – flute
- Richard Taylor – flute
- Jack Ellory – flute
McCartney flew to Nice, France on October 31st to film a promotional sequence for the song. This promo video was used in the Magical Mystery Tour film.
"I just ad-libbed the whole thing. I went, 'Right, get over there: let me dance. Let me jump from this rock to this rock. Get a lot of the sun rising. Get a perfect shot and let me stand in front of it.' I just had a little Philips cassette to mime to and roughly get the feeling of the song. There was no clapper because there was no sound... It was very spontaneous, as was the whole of Magical Mystery Tour. Later, when we came to try to edit it all, it was very difficult because I hadn't sung it to sync.
We shouldn't have really had just one cameraman, it was anti-union. That was another reason to go to France. The unions wouldn't have allowed it in Britain, nor probably in France, but they didn't know we were doing it." - Paul McCartney