Sued51's Blog

{May 12, 2012}   A Fan’s History of 80’s Boston Bands: F is for Fools…Really?

When I look at the list of bands The Fools played with — The Neighborhoods, Private Lightening, The Rings (some bands I plan to cover later in the alphabet), I find it hard to believe I never saw them. But then, I made a conscious decision not to — that’s the point of this post — I was opinionated and judgmental in my youth. Eric and Jane didn’t like them either — that mattered to me. Also, I hated their name: for me it conjured up images of drunken “fools” stumbling all over the stage. It also seemed like when I met some of their fans, they were not my favorite people (again, drunken “fools”).

But was it just me? The Fools were huge back then. Like The Atlantics, they were signed by a major record label (EMI) and toured with national bands. Their song, “It’s a Night for Beautiful Girls,” was a big hit, but I was never crazy about it. Why? My musical tastes have broadened as I have aged and as I have seen more bands. I wonder if I didn’t sell them short…Maybe I should have given them a chance…Maybe I missed out on something??? (Writing this blog I discovered that Steve Cataldo, who I liked in the Nervous Eaters, was originally in The Fools; I didn’t know that.) Given their history and the fact that they are still playing, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I would have liked them if I had been open to it.

Before I decided that I couldn’t cheat three letters in a row (E, F, and G), I had planned to write about Frankie Goes to Hollywood here, one of the most enjoyable shows I saw in my years working at the Orpheum. That’s pretty symbolic in itself. The person I became in my later twenties did not let being judgmental (or being judged) stop her from enjoying a good show.


ELaw says:

in retrospect they do have a few good songs and one legitmate great song, called, “Nite Out” that a band i managed for a while , the Johnnies/New Frustrations covered. i recently saw someone else cover that song but i cant remember who……as a novely song, “Psycho Chicken” is good for a couple of laughs.


sued51 says:

Yes, retrospective is interesting…I feel like I have become much more open to different music over the years. Not completely…but I’ve come a long way…


wal man says:

I once saw the Fools three times in one week and figured out how they played tons of their songs! Back when the drinking age was 18 (or all you had to do was LOOK 18) these bands were playing almost nightly in Boston and were so tight musically. My personal favs were: “Spent the Rent!” which they usually opened with then there was “A Night for Beautiful Girls” which, since I was a big reggea fan, I thought was a cool tune. One note on that tune: That lead “Harmonica” solo was not a harmonica at all! Mike was just making “Wah wah” sounds into a harmonica mic with heavey effects! Still sounded cool. They also did a version of “Secret Agent Man” that worked well. They were a very polished act and toured the New England coast frequently and it showed in their set. They went off the deep end a little with all those parody country tunes after “Life Sucks and Then You Die” hit but that passed.

wal –


sued51 says:

Thanks for reading and commenting. I had so many opportunities to see them if I had only been open to it! I know there were times when I came to see the band that was playing with them, only to go play pool (if it was the Channel), or go outside (since they used hand stamps then and you didn’t have to stay in the club). Now I kind of feel I missed out on a piece of music history…


sued51 says:

P.S. I realized after that fact that I could have written about the wonderful Boston band FACE TO FACE ( But then again, I never saw them live…


Wal says:

Saw Face to Face a couple of times at this place in Brockton, “Scotch & Sounds” which used to be by the Westgate Lanes bowling alley. They were a real good band that became a national act with some great hits, two of which were “Under the Gun” and “Ten, Nine, Eight”. Unfortunately for them being on a major label, they never moved more than 35,000 records and were never able to get ahead of their recording advances. Because of that I don’t think they made much in the way of money at the time even though they put out 3 albums. Hopefully their stuff has ended up on some movie soundtracks since those days and they’re getting something in the way of royalties.

Scotch & Sounds, even though it wasn’t concidered an “in Boston” club booked all of the major Boston acts and many from New York too. Just a 25 minute ride out of town. Saw the Ramones there, David Johanson (before he became Buster Poindexter), Sam Kinison, Joe Perry Project, Til Tuesday, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, Jon Butcher Axis and my favorite band from Boston ever, Berlin Airlift. Good club, lots of people and some crazy, crazy nights.


sued51 says:

Thanks for your comment.
I never went to Scotch and Sounds. Sounds good though…as far as suburban clubs, I was more of an Uncle Sam’s gal.
I liked Face to Face; I bought their first major label album, but I never saw them live.


Brian K says:

Found a singer named Phoebe Ryan on Spotify. It said a woman named Frankie was similar. Checked her out for a sec. But halfway thru one tune what I really wanted to do – what I craved, actually – was to listen to the REAL Frankie. For the first time in probably 20 years. So I found Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Listened. Reminisced. Remembered the Orpheum show. Did a search for Frankie Goes to Hollywood at the Orpheum. And I found you. All these years later. What a great show it was. Wish I could go back in time. For that show and for so many other reasons.

Liked by 1 person

sued51 says:

Funny how the “tangled” Web works. 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I also wish I could go back in time…:-) Those were the good ol’ days…


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