Chain of Fools

For the 2000 film, see Chain of Fools (film).
"Chain of Fools"
Single by Aretha Franklin
from the album Lady Soul
B-side "Prove It"
Released November 1967
Format 7" single
Genre R&BSoulRock
Length 4:03 (Original unreleased recording)
2:47 (Released version)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Don Covay
Producer(s) Jerry Wexler[1]
Certification Gold
Aretha Franklin singles chronology
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
"Chain of Fools"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

"Chain of Fools" is a song written by Don Covay. Aretha Franklin first released the song as a single in 1967 and subsequently it appeared on many of her albums.


Asked by Jerry Wexler, producer with Atlantic Records, to create songs for Otis Redding, Covay recorded a demo of "Chain of Fools", a song he had written in his youth while singing Gospel with his brothers and sisters. The recording featured Covay singing and playing guitar, overdubbed with himself singing background. Listening to the demo, Wexler chose to place the song with Aretha Franklin rather than Redding.[2]


It reached number one on the U.S. R&B chart, staying there for four weeks, and went to number two on the pop chart in January 1968.[3] It won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and later a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. In 2004, this song was ranked #249 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4] The trademark tremolo guitar licks at the introduction were played by Joe South.[1] The song was edited for LP & 45; the original long version appeared on the quadrophonic LP The Best of Aretha Franklin in 1973 (later released on a quadrophonic DVD by Rhino in 2010), and on the 1995 Rhino remastering of Lady Soul. Live recordings have appeared on the albums Aretha in Paris (1968) and VH1 Divas Live (1998, with Mariah Carey).

It is musically noteworthy in that it's composed completely in a minor mode (Aeolian), and is one of the few hit songs based on just one (minor) chord.

It is claimed by some that "Chain of Fools" is an unauthorized rewrite of the gospel song "Pains of Life", recorded by Reverend Elijah Fair & The Sensational Gladys Davis Trio (an obscure gospel group from Houston, Texas), but without evidence showing that the gospel song was recorded first, this can only be conjecture.[5]


Chart positions

Charts Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues 1
RPM Magazine (Can.) Top 100 4

Cover versions


  1. 1 2 Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 52 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 8] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles.
  2. Ed Hogan (1967-06-23). "Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 215.
  4. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  5. "Chain of Fools". thebluze. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  6. Steffen Hung (2007-04-16). "Carola [FI] - Chain Of Fools". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  7. "Carolaa seitsemällä kielellä | Elävä arkisto". (in Finnish). Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  9. "Fantasia (4) – I Believe (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  10. "Soul Man - EP di Luca Ronka su Apple Music". 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2016-09-30.

External links

Preceded by
"I Second That Emotion" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues number-one single
January 20 - February 10, 1968
Succeeded by
"I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.