"Fools Gold/What the World Is Waiting For" is a non-album double A-side by The Stone Roses. It was released in the UK, U.S., Australia, Germany, Japan, and Spain. "Fools Gold" and "What the World Is Waiting For" are also available on the compilation Turns Into Stone. "Fools Gold" is also available as the final track on the US release of The Stone Roses self-titled LP, as well as the Very Best of The Stone Roses compilation.
"Fools Gold" became the band's biggest commercial hit at the time. It was their first single to reach the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and stayed in the Top 75 for 14 weeks, peaking at #8.
The dance-oriented song showcased the rhythm section of Mani on bass and Reni on percussion. John Squire also shone on guitar with its various wah-wah pedal effects. Finally, Ian Brown sang the vocals in a unique whispered delivery. He would also perform with this technique for the track "Something's Burning". The bassline was "inspired" by "Know How" by Young MC, which is a sample from the Shaft theme song, performed by Isaac Hayes. The lyrics reference Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the Marquis de Sade.
The drum track, though played by Reni, was recorded as he played in time to a sample of Bobby Byrd's rendition of "Hot Pants" at the insistence of Squire, angering the drummer at the apparent lack of belief in his talent. This was later said to have contributed to Reni leaving the band.
Despite its overwhelming success, the band did not intend to release "Fools Gold" as an A-side. Promo kits originally contained "What the World Is Waiting For" as the A-side, with "Fools Gold" on the B-side. When the press began raving about the song's funky bassline, the band was confused since "What the World Is Waiting For" was a simple guitar based track. The Roses realized the press was referring to "Fools Gold" and they promptly released the songs as a double A-side.
After Reni left the band in 1995, "Fools Gold" was essentially retired from the live set, since replacement Robbie Maddix could not emulate Reni's complex drumming loops.
In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Fools Gold" at number 32 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.
Australian radio station Triple J voted "Fools Gold" number 76 in its Triple J Hottest 100 of all time in July 2009.
As usual, the cover was designed by John Squire and it was called "'Double Dorsal Dopplegänger". It consisted of a painting of dolphins on a splattered background, photographed through a pane of frosted glass. The piece was exhibited at Squire's 2004 art exhibitions.
The "Fools Gold" music video featured The Stone Roses performing outdoors and walking across the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote, Canary Islands, one of Squire's favorite holiday spots.
Melody Maker magazine interview (9 December 1989): "The song 'Fools Gold' is about greed. Have you seen 'Treasure Of The Sierra Madre' with Humphrey Bogart ? Three geezers who are skint and they put their money together to get equipment to go looking for gold. Then they all betray each other. They all end up dead, don't they ? That's what the song is about. It's dead right man. But that song is history for us now."
* Run-D.M.C. sampled the bassline and drum beat of Fools Gold for their hit "What's It All About?" in 1990. Ian Brown eventually met Reverend Run in 1999 and in an interview with Q magazine Ian recalled their meeting: "I met Reverend Run and said to him 'You may not know me but you sampled us years ago' and then he did the riff from Fools Gold! Surreal!"
* Fools Gold was "mashed-up" with If Your Girl Only Knew by Aaliyah for the bootleg "If Only Your Girlfriend Was Stoned"
* A Fools Gold sample is used in the 1990 Bananarama song Only Your Love.
* Fools Gold is used in the computer games FIFA Football 2004 and NBA 2K8 as well as the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack, playing on Alternative station Radio X.
* A remix of the song appeared on the soundtrack for the BMX oriented video game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX
* The song appears in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels when Big Chris (Vinnie Jones) says "it's been emotional"
* A sample of the song appears in the loading screens of the tennis game Top Spin 3
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