Cover Versions

Fool if You Think It’s Over

Fool if You Think It’s Over

Song: Fool (if You Think It’s Over)
Artist: Elkie Brooks
Original artist: Chris Rea


Most pub quiz goers know the name of the first song featured when MTV started. It was,
of course, the prophetic Video Killed the Radio Star by Buggles.
But do you know what song signalled the return of Radio Caroline in 1983 after it had
been off-air for 41 months? Even the most devout quizzer probably wouldn’t know, so I’ll
put you out of your misery. It was Elkie Brooks’ version of Fool if You Think It’s Over.
The Brooks’ rendition had been released a year earlier in 1982. However, the original
was written and recorded by Chris Rea in1978. Rea drew inspiration for the track based
on the experience of his younger sister Paula who had been devastated by the break-up
of a relationship. He had intended for it to be recorded by Al Green.


The UK launch of the single was unsuccessful at first, but it gained much greater
traction in the US. It reached No 12 in the Billboard Hot 100 and topped its Easy
Listening chart. The US success led to an appearance on the UK’s Top of the Pops
(TOTP) show which helped it to reach No 30.
Despite these successes, Rea was driving to his home in Middlesborough for Christmas
at the end of the year when he considered ditching his (he thought) failing singing
career to concentrate on the family restaurant business. Fortunately, for the pop world,
there was a letter on the hallway mat containing a large royalties cheque for Fool and
he abandoned the idea.
That drive would, of course, inspire his hit Driving Home for Christmas which nearly
always features in any list of top Yuletide tracks.
The Elkie Brooks version, which slightly “shades it” for me, would out-do the Rea
original in UK chart terms by reaching No 17, aided, perhaps, by two TOTP
appearances.
The song featured on her Pearls album which I consider to be one of the best by a
female artist. It included pearls such as Lilac Wine and Don’t Cry Out Loud.
Brooks has experienced real highs and lows in her private life. At one time she lived in a
mansion in Devon but later, after discovering that her accountant had not paid her
taxes, she spent time in a mobile home. Eventually the mansion was sold and Brooks
was able to clear her debts.

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