Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop – 1976

Elvin Bishop, Fooled around and fell in love coverCatchy tune, great vocals, cool song, but it wasn’t Elvin Bishop who sang the 1976 hit that’s credited to him.

owning up

Okay, I’ll admit it – the first time I heard this song I loved it. And, over 35 years later, I still love it. I think it’s just so cool and so catchy.

 elvin the blues man

Elvin is often thought of as a one hit wonder. Certainly, Fooled Around and Fell in Love often appears on such lists. In terms of charting hits it’s probably a true assessment. However, Elvin has long been an admired player on the blues circuit throughout the US.

Elvin’s music career began in Chicago where, in the early 1960s, he met Paul Butterfield. Together they formed The Butterfield Blues Band.

He later left the band to pursue a solo career. Moving to San Francisco he often performed at The Fillmore with artists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and B.B. King.

 not even elvin

Here’s the thing though, Elvin didn’t even sing Fooled Around and Fell in Love. He wrote it and immediately sensed he had a hit record. He was concerned, however, that his gravelly voice didn’t really do it justice and so he asked his background singer Mickey Thomas to sing it.

In Elvin’s words:

My voice is very plain. It’s better suited for Blues. It’s been good for me, because it’s made my song writing strong, because to really get over with a voice like mine, which is not a thrill in itself – the quality of the voice – you have to have a strong story and really good words to capture people’s imagination. And that tune, I gave it a try. The producer, Bill Szymczyk, said, ‘We need one more piece of material here. You got anything else lying around?’ I said, ‘Well, there’s this tune I wrote the other day.’ Well, not the other day. I’d actually tried to get a couple of other people to sing it, but somehow it didn’t work out. I said, ‘How about this ‘Fooled Around and Fell In Love’?’ We cut a track; it was a really nice track. I tried singing it, and I said, ‘That’s not buttering my biscuit, my vocal on this. Why don’t we give Mickey a shot at this?’ And the producer said, ‘Well, that’s big of you.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t think so. It’s just common sense, you know?’ And Mickey just tore it up.”

It was a great move for Mickey. A couple of years later Marty Balin left Jefferson Starship and Mickey was asked to replace him. Two years later Elvin’s drummer, Donny Baldwin (remember that name) joined Jefferson Starship also.

When Paul Kantner left the band in 1984, Mickey became the leader of the, now called, Starship. They produced some wonderful music until Grace Slick left (again) in 1988.

Shortly after the band was forced to cancel a tour and they never really recovered from that. The tour was cancelled because Mickey was viciously attacked in a bar fight and required serious facial reconstruction surgery. The guy who attacked him was, remember I said to remember the name – Donny Baldwin, the band’s drummer.

a piece of elvin trivia

In August 2007, Elvin’s daughter Selina and ex-wife Jennifer Villarin were murdered in August 2000, apparently as part of a scheme to extort $100,000 a couple named Ivan and Annette Stineman.

fooled around and fell in love fax

  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love appeared on Elvin’s 1975 album Struttin’ My Stuff.
  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love was released as a single in 1976.
  • Mickey Thomas, background singer in Elvin’s band is the lead vocalist.
  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love reached #3 on the US singles chart in May 1976. It achieved gold status on June 23, 1976.
  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love has been covered by T.G. Sheppard who reached #21 on the country charts with it. Rod Stewart also covered the song on his 2006 album, Still the Same… Great Rock Classic of Our Time.
  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love has appeared in three movies: Boogie Nights (1997), Invincible (2006) and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008).
  • Fooled Around and Fell in Love lyrics.

fooled around and fell in love video


2 Responses to Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop – 1976

  1. Wozza says:

    Yeah this is a great great song. I can remember blasting this really loudly in my new bedroom at Ramelton Rd. Dad had stipulated sound proofing my room with bats in all the walls! It worked if I didn’t open the windows!! I can remember the neighbours about a street away later telling me they loved this song too!!!!

    BTW as you know JA,JS and Paul Kantner/Slick/Freiberg/Balin/Hot Tuna are all huge presences in my collection. Starship are also there but only as I’m a completist. Too much 80’s production and those horrible 80’s drum sounds courtesy of Mr Baldwin. I do love We Dream In Color though – from an album with Starship minus Gracie.


  2. Greg.K. says:

    I agree about JA et al. Once Jefferson left the band it was all downhill.
    What I didn’t know was that Elvin was a part of Paul Butterfield’s band.

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