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What A Fool Believes Sheet Music What A Fool Believes Sheet Music

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What A Fool Believes Sheet Music

Written by: Sherry Franks

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If you’re a fan of iconic melodies that have stood the test of time, then “What A Fool Believes” is sure to be on your list of favorites. This beloved song, written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, has become a timeless classic since its release in 1979.

“What A Fool Believes” is an irresistible blend of smooth pop-rock and soulful R&B, captivating listeners with its catchy hooks and heartfelt lyrics.

Whether you’re a musician looking to learn how to play this iconic tune or simply want to gain a deeper appreciation for its musical intricacies, this article will guide you through everything you need to know about the sheet music and the essence of “What A Fool Believes”. So, let’s dive in!

But first, let’s take a brief look at the background of this legendary song and gain a better understanding of its origins and significance in the music industry.


Brief Overview of “What A Fool Believes”

Released in 1979, “What A Fool Believes” quickly became one of the standout tracks for the American rock band The Doobie Brothers. Co-written by the band’s lead vocalist Michael McDonald and singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins, the song went on to achieve tremendous success.

The track tells the story of a man who is convinced that a former lover still harbors feelings for him, despite the fact that their relationship has long since ended. The lyrics explore themes of longing, delusion, and the complexity of human emotions.

“What A Fool Believes” struck a chord with audiences around the world, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning The Doobie Brothers a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1980. Its infectious melody, heartfelt vocals, and relatable lyrics have made it a timeless hit that continues to resonate with listeners to this day.

Not only did the song achieve commercial success, but it also played a significant role in shaping the sound of popular music in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The combination of McDonald’s distinctive soulful voice, Loggins’ songwriting prowess, and the band’s seamless harmonies created a winning formula that appealed to a wide range of music lovers.

Furthermore, “What A Fool Believes” helped establish Michael McDonald as a solo artist, propelling his career to new heights. His unique vocal style and songwriting abilities became synonymous with the smooth rock genre, and the success of this song solidified his place in music history.

Let’s now delve into the history and background of “What A Fool Believes” to gain a deeper appreciation for the song’s significance and enduring legacy.


History and Background of the Song

The story behind “What A Fool Believes” is an interesting one that sheds light on the collaborative process between Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins.

Originally, McDonald had written the chord progression and basic structure of the song, but he was struggling with the lyrics. That’s when Loggins stepped in and helped craft the lyrics, adding his own touch to the composition. The duo’s creative synergy resulted in a song that beautifully combined their musical talents.

McDonald’s soulful influence and Loggins’ knack for crafting catchy melodies merged seamlessly, creating a unique sound that was both introspective and accessible. The lyrics of “What A Fool Believes” delve into the vulnerability and longing of the human condition, striking a chord with listeners who have experienced the complexities of relationships.

The song was recorded by The Doobie Brothers and included on their album “Minute by Minute” released in 1978. Its release as a single in 1979 catapulted it to the top of the charts, solidifying its place as one of the band’s most iconic songs.

One interesting aspect of “What A Fool Believes” is the intricate harmonies that are a trademark of The Doobie Brothers’ sound. The band’s members, known for their vocal prowess, brought their own unique contributions to the song, enhancing its rich texture and depth.

In recognition of its artistic and commercial success, “What A Fool Believes” won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1980. This prestigious accolade solidified the song’s status as a timeless classic and further cemented The Doobie Brothers’ place in music history.

Over the years, “What A Fool Believes” has remained a staple in popular culture, appearing in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials. Its enduring popularity speaks to the song’s ability to resonate with people across different generations and musical tastes.

Now that we’ve explored the history and background of “What A Fool Believes,” let’s dive into a musical analysis of this iconic track to understand its structure, instrumentation, and key musical elements.


Musical Analysis of “What A Fool Believes”

“What A Fool Believes” is a masterclass in combining elements of pop, rock, and soul to create a captivating and memorable musical experience. Let’s delve into the key musical features that make this song so special.

One standout aspect of the song is its infectious melody. The opening piano riff immediately grabs the listener’s attention and sets the tone for the rest of the track. It is a melodic hook that remains stuck in your head long after the song has ended.

Throughout the song, the vocal harmonies play a crucial role in creating a lush and captivating sound. The Doobie Brothers’ signature harmony work shines, with Michael McDonald’s soulful lead vocals intertwining seamlessly with the supporting harmonies. The layered vocals add depth and richness to the song, enhancing its emotional impact.

The song structure of “What A Fool Believes” follows a classic pop format, with a catchy chorus that anchors the song. The verses build up to the chorus, creating a sense of anticipation and release. This structure helps to hold the listener’s interest and makes the song highly memorable.

The instrumentation of “What A Fool Believes” is carefully crafted to complement the emotional arc of the song. The use of piano, guitar, bass, drums, and synthesizers creates a balanced and dynamic sound. The piano forms the foundation of the song, providing a melodic and rhythmic backdrop for the vocals and other instruments to shine.

One notable element of the song is the incorporation of jazz-influenced chord progressions. The use of complex chords and extended harmonies adds a sophisticated touch to the song, elevating it beyond a typical pop-rock track. This harmonic complexity is one of the key factors that make “What A Fool Believes” so interesting musically.

The song’s tempo is moderate, allowing for the intricate vocal and instrumental interplay to shine through. This tempo choice also adds to the song’s relaxed and contemplative vibe, matching the introspective nature of the lyrics.

Overall, “What A Fool Believes” is a brilliant blend of catchy melodies, exceptional vocal harmonies, and intricate musical arrangements. Its ability to seamlessly combine different genres and musical elements is a testament to the songwriting and musical talents of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins.

Now that we’ve explored the musical aspects of “What A Fool Believes,” let’s turn our attention to understanding the sheet music and how you can bring this iconic song to life through your own performance.


Understanding the Sheet Music

If you’re eager to learn how to play “What A Fool Believes” on your chosen instrument, understanding the sheet music is essential. The sheet music provides a detailed musical roadmap, guiding you through the composition and helping you recreate the iconic sound of the song.

The sheet music for “What A Fool Believes” typically includes the musical notation for the piano, guitar, vocals, and other instruments featured in the original recording. It provides the framework for each section of the song, including the verses, chorus, and any instrumental breaks.

When examining the sheet music, pay close attention to the key signature and time signature indicated at the beginning of the piece. The key signature determines the tonal center of the song, while the time signature indicates the rhythm and meter. Understanding these notations will help you align your performance with the original recording.

Next, focus on the written musical notations, such as notes, rests, and dynamics. These symbols guide you on how to play each note, when to pause, and how to convey the volume and expression during various sections of the song. Follow these directions closely to capture the essence and emotions of “What A Fool Believes”.

For instrumentalists, the sheet music may include specific notation for guitar riffs, piano fills, or other instrumental solos. These parts contribute to the overall texture and intricacies of the song. Pay attention to the details and practice these sections carefully to master the song’s unique musical elements.

If you’re a vocalist, the sheet music will provide the lyrics along with the melody line. Study the phrasing, dynamics, and articulation markings to bring out the nuances and deliver a compelling vocal performance. Consider listening to various interpretations of the song to gain inspiration and make it your own.

Remember, sheet music serves as a helpful guide but allows room for your interpretation and personal flair. Feel free to add your musical touches, improvisations, and vocal embellishments to make the song uniquely yours.

With a solid understanding of the sheet music, you are well on your way to mastering “What A Fool Believes”. However, playing the song well isn’t just about technical proficiency, it’s about capturing the emotions and soul of the music. Let’s explore some tips for playing this iconic song with heart and authenticity.


Tips for Playing “What A Fool Believes”

Playing “What A Fool Believes” requires more than just technical skill. It’s crucial to capture the essence of the song and convey its emotions. Here are some tips to help you bring this iconic tune to life:

  1. Master the groove: The song has a distinctive groove, blending elements of pop, rock, and soul. Pay attention to the rhythm and feel of the song, focusing on the syncopated patterns and the interplay between the instruments. Practice with a metronome or play along with the original recording to develop a solid sense of timing and groove.
  2. Emphasize dynamics: “What A Fool Believes” relies heavily on dynamic contrasts to create musical tension and release. Be mindful of the dynamic markings in the sheet music and use them to shape your performance. Experiment with subtle changes in volume and intensity to enhance the emotional impact of the song.
  3. Focus on vocal expression: If you’re singing the song, put emphasis on the storytelling aspect of the lyrics. Connect with the emotions of the song and use vocal techniques such as phrasing, breath control, and nuances in tone to convey the message effectively. Experiment with different vocal styles and approaches to make the song your own.
  4. Capture the piano nuances: If you’re playing the piano part, pay attention to the subtle nuances in the sheet music. The piano is a key element in this song, and capturing its melodic lines, chord voicings, and rhythmic variations will greatly enhance your performance. Work on articulation, touch, and style to bring out the piano’s role in the overall sound.
  5. Add your personal touch: While it’s important to stay true to the essence of the song, don’t be afraid to add your own interpretation and musical personality. Experiment with different phrasings, embellishments, and improvisations to make the song unique to you.

Remember, the goal is not just to accurately replicate the notes but to capture the spirit and emotion of the song. Take your time to study the sheet music, listen to various interpretations, and practice patiently to develop your own rendition of “What A Fool Believes”.

By incorporating these tips and infusing your performance with passion and authenticity, you’ll be well-prepared to master “What A Fool Believes” and truly do justice to this timeless classic.

After exploring the musical and performance aspects of “What A Fool Believes”, we can conclude our journey by reflecting on the enduring popularity and impact of this iconic song.



“What A Fool Believes” holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers around the world. From its infectious melody to its soulful vocals and captivating lyrics, this iconic song continues to resonate with listeners decades after its release.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the history, musical analysis, sheet music, and tips for playing “What A Fool Believes”. We’ve learned about the collaborative efforts of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, the intricate musical elements that make the song stand out, and how to bring the composition to life through our own performances.

By understanding the sheet music and paying attention to the intricate details, we can unlock the true essence and emotions of “What A Fool Believes”. Whether you’re a pianist, guitarist, vocalist, or any other musician, this song offers a beautiful canvas for you to showcase your skills and creativity.

Remember, playing “What A Fool Believes” is not just about hitting the right notes; it’s about capturing the soulfulness, groove, and dynamics of the song. As you practice and perform, let your personal touch shine through, adding your own interpretation and style to make the song uniquely yours.

As time goes on, “What A Fool Believes” continues to be a beloved piece of music that has left an indelible mark on the music industry. It’s a testament to the timeless quality of well-crafted songs that can touch the hearts of listeners across generations.

So, whether you’re a fan of The Doobie Brothers, a devotee of soulful melodies, or a musician looking to expand your repertoire, embrace the magic of “What A Fool Believes” and let its music transport you to a place of nostalgia, joy, and heartfelt connection.

Now, it’s time to dust off your instrument, grab the sheet music, and embark on your musical journey with “What A Fool Believes”. Happy playing!

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