#13: A Fool Never Learns by Andy Williams

City: Halifax, NS
Radio Station: CHNS
Peak Month: February 1964
Peak Position in Halifax ~ #2
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #41
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #13
YouTube: “A Fool Never Learns
Lyrics: “A Fool Never Learns

Howard Andrew “Andy” Williams was born in Wall Lake, Iowa, in 1927. In 1938, he was part of a quartette of siblings called the Williams Brothers. They appeared as guests on radio stations in Des Moines (IA), Cincinnati (OH) and Chicago. When he was 17, he joined the United States Merchant Marine and served during World War II. In 1944, the Williams Brothers sang backing vocals on Bing Crosby’s “Swinging On A Star”. In the mid-40s, the Williams Brothers appeared in the 1944 films, Janie and Kansas City Kitty, and the 1947 films Something in the Wind, Good News and Ladies Man.  Andy Williams and two of his brothers also appeared in the 1946 movie The Harvey Girls. 

In 1947, Andy was part of a nightclub act: Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. They made their debut in Las Vegas and became an overnight sensation. Within a year, they were the highest-paid nightclub act in the world, breaking records wherever they appeared. In his memoir, Moon River and Me, Andy Williams revealed that he became romantically involved with Kay Thompson while on tour despite the age difference (he was 19 and she was 38).

In 1953 Andy Williams got a record deal with RCA. Though none of his RCA singles became hits, he got a spot on Tonight Starring Steve Allen. In 1956, his recording of “Canadian Sunset” landed in the number-two spot on the Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart in October of the year and #1 in Halifax. That year he sang the movie theme for Baby Doll. His cover of a Charlie Gracie tune titled “Butterfly” peaked at number-one on the Billboard pop chart in 1957, and Vancouver (BC) on March 17/57. While “I Like Your Kind Of Love” was a Top Ten hit in the summer of 1957, and #3 in Vancouver. His next effort, “Are You Sincere?” also made the Top Ten in the USA in April 1958. His Top 20 hit in the fall of he year was “Promise Me, My Love”, written by Kay Thompson. In 1959, Williams had several Top Ten hits: “Hawaiian Wedding Song”, “Lonely Street” and “The Village Of St. Bernadette”.

But in the following years, Andy Williams struggled to return to a Top 40 dominated with rock ‘n roll teen idols, a dance craze featuring The Twist, and the surf sound. On May 29, 1962, Williams sang “Moon River” at the Academy Awards. He had recorded the song on his album, Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes, released in March ’62. Although he never released “Moon River” as a single, it became his signature song. In 2018, Williams version of “Moon River” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2022 Andy Williams recording of “Moon River” was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress.

In 1963, he reappeared in the Top 40 with a #2 hit titled “Can’t Get Used To Losing You”. While “Hopeless” peaked at #13 and kept him on AM-Top 40 listeners’ radar.

A Fool Never Learns by Andy Williams

“A Fool Never Learns” is a song written by Sonny Curtis. In 1937, Sonny Curtis was born in a dugout in Meadow, Texas. His parents were cotton farmers contending with the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. He was a teenage pal and lead guitarist with Buddy Holly in Lubbock, Texas, in a pre-Crickets band called The Three Tunes. Sonny is his actual first name, not a nickname. Although Curtis had gone on the road with other musicians by the time Buddy Holly put together The Crickets in 1957, Curtis joined The Crickets after Holly’s death in 1959. Soon, he took over the lead vocalist role in addition to lead guitar. As the credits show, he was part of the band for the 1960 album In Style with The Crickets. On this album they recorded the original versions of two of Curtis’s best known songs, “I Fought the Law” (a hit for the Bobby Fuller Four in 1966) and “More Than I Can Say” (a hit for Leo Sayer sixteen years later).

Soon after Holly died, three of the The Crickets, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin and Sonny Curtis, began backing the Everly Brothers in concert and in the studio. On January 8, 1960, Curtis was a session musician for Eddie Cochran for his recording of “Three Steps To Heaven“. Sonny received his draft notice from the US Army and was away from the music scene from 1960 to 1962. During the two years he was in the military, he wrote one of his classic songs, “Walk Right Back“. It was recorded in 1961 by the Everly Brothers and topped the charts in the UK, went Top Ten in the USA.

Sonny Curtis also made an album in 1964 titled Beatle Hits Flamenco Guitar Style that included “Ballad for a Beatle.”

Once out of the US Army, Sonny Curtis released the single, “A Beatle I Want to Be”, in response to the Beatlemania in 1964. While the tune didn’t catch on in the America, it charted in Vancouver, peaking at #10.

“A Fool Never Learns” is a song about a guy who has already had his heart broken by “a girl” he’s fallen in love with before. But, he decides to “hang around, wait around, in hopes you’ll love me again someday.” By sticking around, he hopes to woo her back and do this foolish thing, letting all his vulnerability show.

In 1980 Sonny Curtis 1980 wrote “The Real Buddy Holly Story” in response to the inaccuracies in the movie, The Buddy Holly Story. It was one of over a dozen songs that took him onto the Billboard Country chart as a solo artist. That year Leo Sayer did a cover of Curtis’ tune, “More Than I Can Say“. It earned Curtis considerable royalties as Sayer’s version spent five weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1980-January 1981.

“A Fool Never Learns” peaked at #1 in Montreal, #2 in Halifax (NS), and Denver, #4 in Cedar Rapids (IA), Wausau (WI), Syracuse (NY), Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee (WI), #5 in Des Moines (IA), and Lexington (NE), #6 in Corpus Christi (TX), Baltimore, Grand Rapids (MI), Los Angeles, and Cleveland, #7 in Atlantic City (NJ), and Hamilton (ON), #8 in Spokane (WA), Sacramento (CA), Philadelphia, and Cincinnati (OH), #9 in Buffalo, Reading (PA), and Winnipeg (MB), and #10 in Richmond (VA).

Williams had two national Top 30 hits in the USA between 1964 and 1970: “Dear Heart” and “Happy Heart”. “Dear Heart” was the theme song for the 1964 film, Dear Heart, and nominated for Best Original Song at the 1965 Academy Awards held on April 5, 1965. It lost to the Mary Poppins song “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee”.

In 1971, Williams treatment of the movie theme title for Love Story took him back into the Top Ten for the last time in North America. In 1974, his song “Solitaire” reached #4 on the UK pop charts. His 1967 vocal of “Music To Watch The Girls By” was used in the UK for a Fiat commercial in that country in 1999. As a result, Williams 1967 recording became a #9 hit in the UK in 1999.

In the early 1970s, when President Richard Nixon attempted to deport former Beatle, John Lennon, Williams was an outspoken defender of Lennon’s right to remain in America. In 1973, Andy Williams was included in the montage of caricatures on the cover of Ringo Starr’s Ringo.

From 1962 to 1971, The Andy Williams Show appeared on NBC. It won an Emmy Award in 1963 for Outstanding Variety Series. It won that same Emmy Award again in 1966 and 1967. While in 1963, Williams received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series. He lost to Carol Burnett for her TV appearance in Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: An Evening with Carol Burnett.  

Between 1971 and 1977, Andy Williams was the host seven consecutive Grammy Award ceremonies. On January 14, 1973, he performed at the halftime show of Super Bowl VII at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In 1963, Andy Williams recorded a The Andy Williams Christmas Album. From the album came “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”. The single became a seasonal hit. It landed in the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 2011. It has been a regular Top Ten hit since that time, with its biggest peak at #2 in 2018. The song has also made the Top Ten in Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the UK. It has also peaked at #11 in both Italy and Switzerland. As well, another track from the 1963 Christmas album, “Happy Holidays”, has reached #12 in recent years. Over the years Andy Williams was given the nickname, “Mr. Christmas,” for recording eight Christmas-themed studio albums.

Though a lifelong Republican, Andy Williams was close with Robert and Ethel Kennedy. He heard Senator Kennedy’s speech in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, after Kennedy won the state of California. RFK was assassinated minutes after leaving the ballroom stage. As the body of the slain senator was carried out of St. Patrick’s Cathedral at the end of the June 8, 1968, funeral, Andy Williams sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

Over the years, Andy Williams received six Grammy Award nominations. This included the singles “Hawaiian Wedding Song” (1959), “Danny Boy” (1962); and “Days of Wine and Roses” (1964). He also received nominations for these albums: Days of Wine and Roses and Other TV Requests (1963), The Academy Award-Winning “Call Me Irresponsible” and Other Hit Songs from the Movies (1964), and The Shadow of Your Smile (1967).

Over the decades, Andy Williams appeared in concert Canada once in Calgary, and once in Montreal, twice in Winnipeg, and on three occasions in Toronto.

Williams died in 2012 at the age of 84, from cancer. Subsequently, in 2018, Andy Williams was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

March 20, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Dave Laing, “Andy Williams obituary: Popular crooner who sold more than 100m albums in a career that spanned eight decades,” Guardian, September 26, 2012.
Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes,” Wikipedia.org.
Winners and Nominees,” Emmy Awards, 1963, Imdb.com.
Andy Williams – concerts – Canada,” setlist.fm.
Andy Williams: Hollywood Star Walk,” Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2018.
Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated: 1968 Year in Review,” UPI, December 31, 1968.
Sonny Curtis bio, Sonny Curtis.com.
The Crickets bios, The Crickets.com

A Fool Never Learns by Andy Williams
CHNS AM-960 Halifax (NS) Top Ten | February 2, 1964

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