In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.
We’ve heard plenty of stories of singers, or songs, crossing over from country audiences to the pop mainstream. Stories of pop singers who went country aren’t so common, and these days, they tend to involve late-career self-reinventors like Darius Rucker. But Connie Francis, at the peak of her fame, made the transition from pop to country — or a very pop version of country, anyway — and it proved to be a smart move.
Francis was an unlikely country star — an Italian kid from New Jersey who regularly cut records in German and Yiddish. (A polkafied German-language version of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” hit #1 in Germany.) Francis had made her name with down-the-middle late-’50s dance-party hits like “Stupid Cupid” and “Lipstick On Your Collar.”
“Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” moved her gently away from sock-hop fare. It’s fast enough that it’s not quite a ballad and ruminative enough that it’s not quite a dance song. The organ on the intro sounds more like “Baby Elephant Walk” than like country music. The lyrics nod toward world-weary wisdom while Francis’ delivery sounds distinctly teenage. It’s all slightly awkward, but there’s a nice plaint in her voice, and it really sells the song.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s a ridiculously charming Loretta Lynn cover of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”: