These Foolish Things (album)

These Foolish Things is the debut solo studio album by Bryan Ferry, who at the time was still Roxy Music's lead vocalist. The album was released in October 1973 on Island Records in the UK, and Atlantic Records in the United States. It was a commercial and critical success, peaking at number 5 on the albums chart in the United Kingdom. The album is considered to be a departure from Roxy Music's sound, because it consists entirely of cover versions, mainly of standard songs. The album achieved Gold status by the BPI in the United Kingdom in May 1974[2]

These Foolish Things
Studio album by
Released5 October 1973 (1973-10-05)
RecordedJune 1973 (1973-06)
Bryan Ferry chronology
These Foolish Things
Another Time, Another Place
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic link
Christgau's Record GuideA–[1]

Most of the tracks on the album were personal favorites of Ferry's, and spanned several decades from 1930s standards such as the title track through 1950s Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.[3]

Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of their favorite cover albums.[4]


When Ferry was asked about the album, he said "It's a very catholic selection, I've given up trying to please all of the people all of the time. Some will like it for one reason, some for another. And some will presumably dislike it for the wrong reasons though I hope the general point of it will be understood. It's amusement value. I think."[5]

Critical reception

Reviewing for AllMusic, critic Ned Raggett wrote of the album "Throughout Ferry's instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist."[6] And the critic, Robert Christgau wrote of the album "Ferry both undercuts the inflated idealism of the original and reaffirms its essential power. Along the way, he also establishes "It's My Party" as a protest song. And just in case we're getting any highfalutin ideas, the title track reminds us that pop is only, well, foolish things, many of which predate not only Andy Warhol but rock and roll itself."[7] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide review states "These Foolish Things pits Lesley Gore against Bob Dylan, and not just for effect. Ferry views pop as a kind of continuum, extending through all sorts of Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building craftsmanship and incorporating visions as radical as Dylan's and as banal as Gore's. Within such a sensibility discerning what deserves to be dismissed as "trash" and what deserves elevation as "art" is not a simple problem. And such designations are so often determined by context that their order can be reversed almost at will. By altering tempos and singing every song with the deadpan emotional blankness he largely avoids with Roxy, Ferry exposes these issues as effectively as any pop singer in history."[8]

Track listing

1."A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" (Bob Dylan cover from the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1962))Bob Dylan5:19
2."River of Salt" (Ketty Lester cover from the album Love Letters (1962))Irving Brown, Bernard Zackery, Jan Zackery1:48
3."Don't Ever Change" (cover)Gerry Goffin, Carole King2:15
4."Piece of My Heart" (Erma Franklin cover from the 1967 single)Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns3:06
5."Baby I Don't Care" (cover)Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller1:50
6."It's My Party" (Lesley Gore cover from the album I'll Cry If I Want to (1963))Walter Gold, John Gluck Jr., Herb Weiner2:00
7."Don't Worry Baby" (The Beach Boys cover from the album Shut Down Volume 2 (1964))Brian Wilson, Roger Christian4:13
8."Sympathy for the Devil" (The Rolling Stones cover from the album Beggars Banquet (1968))Mick Jagger, Keith Richards5:50
9."The Tracks of My Tears" (The Miracles cover from the album Going to a Go-Go (1965))William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr., Warren Moore, Marvin Tarplin3:04
10."You Won't See Me" (The Beatles cover from the album Rubber Soul (1965))John Lennon, Paul McCartney2:32
11."I Love How You Love Me" (The Paris Sisters cover from the 1961 single)Barry Mann, Larry Kolber3:02
12."Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" (Four Tops cover from the album On Top (1966))Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder3:06
13."These Foolish Things" (cover)Jack Strachey (music), Eric Maschwitz (lyrics)5:41



  • Producers – Bryan Ferry, John Porter and John Punter.
  • Engineers – Steve Nye and John Punter
  • Assistant Engineer – Andy Arthurs
  • Cover Design – Nicholas De Ville
  • Photography – Karl Stoecker


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