Song Lyric Sunday – Elevator Music

This week we are searching for Elevator Music for Song Lyric Sunday! Our friend Maggie, from Cave Walls, has provided the fun prompt. The first thing I thought of was something by Kenny G but then there wouldn’t be any lyrics to share with you here!

I went searching for ideas and found it fascinating that elevator music was a big deal in the 60s. Who knew? It was not high on my list of music! Anyway I do remember that bossa nova style music was popular at that time and I thought of this version of Fool on the Hill by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs and it is performed beautifully here. Too good for an elevator maybe. It was interesting to read how active Mendes still is and of all the collaborations he’s had with current artists. I hope you enjoy it.

The Song

Paul McCartney wrote this song. It’s about a man who is considered a fool by others, but whose foolish demeanor is actually an indication of wisdom.

An event which prompted this song happened when Paul was walking his dog, Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared. A friend of McCartney’s, Alistair Taylor, was present with Paul during this strange incident, and wrote of this event in his book, Yesterday.

Both Paul and Alistair could not imagine what happened to this man. He had seemed to vanish in thin air. The nearest trees for cover were too far to reach by walking or running in a few seconds, and the crest of the hill was too far as well to reach in that short time. What made the experience even more mysterious, was that just before this man first appeared, Paul and Alistair were speaking to each other of the beauty they observed of the view towards London and the existence of God. Once back home, they spent the morning discussing what had happened, trying to make some sense of it. They both agreed that this was something others were infer occurred as a result of an “acid trip,” but they both swore they had not taken or used any drugs. When Paul filmed the sequence for this song in the film, it shows him on a hilltop overlooking the town of Nice.

Paul played this for John Lennon while they were writing “With A Little Help From My Friends.” John made him write down the words so he wouldn’t forget.

This is a very curious song musically as well as lyrically, as it shifts between major and minor keys. Dan Wilson, a songwriter whose credits include Adele’s “Someone Like You” and Chris Stapleton’s “When The Stars Come Out,” explained in a Songfacts interview: “I think that song is musically just incredible. And mysterious. The way it goes from minor to major to minor just kills me every time.

Why it isn’t a funny kind of silly song in my heart is just a mystery to me, also. The lyrics are like a nursery rhyme. It’s so simple and there’s nothing to it, yet I find it deeply sad and affecting and almost tragic, like it’s some kind of tragedy of human nature being explained or channeled in a super-simple song that toggles from minor to major and back again.”

This began as a solo composition with Paul McCartney at the piano. Flutes were added last.

This was not a hit for The Beatles, but a 1968 cover version by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 went to #6 in the US. In America, this was the highest-charting Beatles cover until 1975, when Elton John took “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” to #1.

This was used in the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour.

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Artist

Sérgio Santos Mendes (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈsɛʁʒju ˈsɐ̃tuz ˈmẽdʒis]; born February 11, 1941) is a Brazilian musician. He has over 55 releases, and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song “Real in Rio” from the animated film Rio.

Mendes is a unique example of a Brazilian musician primarily known in the United States, where his albums were recorded and where most of his touring took place.

Mendes is married to Gracinha Leporace, who has performed with him since the early 1970s. Mendes has also collaborated with many artists through the years, including The Black Eyed Peas, with whom he re-recorded in 2006 a version of his breakthrough hit “Mas que Nada”.

Mendes was born in Niterói, Brazil, the son of a physician. He attended the local conservatory with hopes of becoming a classical pianist. As his interest in jazz grew, he started playing in nightclubs in the late 1950s just as bossa nova, a jazz-inflected derivative of samba, was emerging. Mendes played with Antônio Carlos Jobim (regarded as a mentor) and many U.S. jazz musicians who toured Brazil.

Mendes formed the Sexteto Bossa Rio and recorded Dance Moderno in 1961. Touring Europe and the United States, Mendes recorded albums with Cannonball Adderley and Herbie Mann and played Carnegie Hall. Mendes moved to the U.S. in 1964 and cut two albums under the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’65 group name with Capitol Records and Atlantic Records.

Mendes became full partners with Richard Adler, a Brooklyn-born American who had previously brought Bossa Trés plus two dancers, Joe Bennett and a Brazilian partner, to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. He was also accompanied by Jobim; Flavio Ramos, and Aloísio de Oliveira, a record and TV producer from Rio who used to be a member of Carmen Miranda’s backing group Bando da Lua. The Musicians Union only allowed this group to appear on one TV show and make one club appearance (Basin Street East) before ordering them to leave the U.S. When the new group Brasil ’65 was formed, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank and other West Coast musicians got Mendes and the others into the local musicians union. Adler and Mendes formed Brasil ’65, which consisted of Wanda Sá and Rosinha de Valença, as well as the Sergio Mendes Trio. The group recorded albums for Atlantic and Capitol.

Though his early singles with Brasil ’66 (most notably “Mas que Nada”) met with some success, Mendes really burst into mainstream prominence when he performed the Oscar-nominated “The Look of Love” on the Academy Awards telecast in April 1968. Brasil ’66’s version of the song quickly shot into the top 10, peaking at No. 4 and eclipsing Dusty Springfield’s version from the soundtrack of the movie Casino Royale. Mendes spent the rest of 1968 enjoying consecutive top 10 and top 20 hits with his follow-up singles “The Fool on the Hill” and “Scarborough Fair”. From 1968 on, Mendes was arguably the biggest Brazilian star in the world and enjoyed immense popularity worldwide, performing in venues as varied as stadium arenas and the White House, where he gave concerts for presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. The Brasil ’66 group appeared at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan in June 1970.

Mendes’ career in the U.S. stalled in the mid-1970s, but he remained popular in South America and Japan. His two albums with Bell Records in 1973 and 1974 followed by several for Elektra from 1975 on, found Mendes continuing to mine the best in American pop music and post-Bossa writers of his native Brazil, while forging new directions in soul with collaborators like Stevie Wonder, who wrote Mendes’ R&B-inflected minor hit “The Real Thing”.

In 1983, he rejoined Alpert’s A&M records and enjoyed success with a self-titled album and several follow-up albums, all of which received considerable adult contemporary airplay with charting singles. “Never Gonna Let You Go”, featuring vocals by Joe Pizzulo and Leeza Miller, equalled the success of his 1968 single “The Look of Love” by reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; it also spent four weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart. In 1984, he recorded the Confetti album, which had the hit songs “Olympia”, which was also used as a theme song for the Olympic Games that year and “Alibis”. The 1980s also saw Mendes working with singer Lani Hall again on the song “No Place to Hide” from the Brasil ’86 album, and as producer of her vocals on the title song for the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

By the time Mendes released his Grammy-winning Elektra album Brasileiro in 1992, he was the undisputed master of pop-inflected Brazilian jazz. The late-1990s lounge music revival brought retrospection and respect to Mendes’ oeuvre, particularly the classic Brasil ’66 albums.

The album Timeless, released February 14, 2006 by Concord Records,  features a wide array of neo-soul and alternative hip hopguest artists, including The Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, Black Thought, Jill Scott, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, India.Arie, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder and Pharoahe Monch.

The 2006 re-recorded version of “Mas que Nada” with The Black Eyed Peas had additional vocals by Gracinha Leporace (Mendes’ wife); this version is included on Timeless. In Brazil, the song is also well known for being the theme song for the local television channel Globo’s Estrelas. The Black Eyed Peas’ version contains a sample of their 2004 hit “Hey Mama”. The re-recorded song became popular on many European charts. On the UK Singles Chart, the song entered at No. 29 and rose to and peaked at No. 6 on its second week on the chart.

He makes an appearance dancing along for one of the segments Pharrell Williams’ 24 hour of happy.

Mendes served as co-producer on the soundtrack albums for two animated films about his homeland: 2011’s Rio and its 2014 sequel.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Sérgio Mendes among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Courtesy of a Wiki


Day after day
Alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin
Is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he's just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning 'round

Well on the way
Head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
Talking perfectly loud

But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning 'round

And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning 'round, oh oh oh, 'round 'round 'round 'round

He never listens to them
He knows that they're the fools
They don't like him

The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning 'round

Oh, 'round 'round 'round 'round, oh

Writer/s: John Lennon, Paul McCartney 

Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFin

  18 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Elevator Music

  1. July 22, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    It is so nice to read the events surrounding the song!

    • Christine Bolton
      July 22, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      Thank you! I’m happy you liked it ☺️

  2. May 16, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Ah so soothing just like elevator music should be 🙂

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 1:47 pm

      So happy you liked it Jilly ☺️🌺

  3. May 16, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Good choice, Christine. I think it’s stuck in my head now. LOL! Anyway, I really enjoyed the background info. Thanks for researching!

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks so much. I’m happy you liked it. I couldn’t t get it out of my head either 🤣

  4. May 16, 2021 at 11:29 am

    I really enjoyed this one 🙂 if they played this in the elevator I think I would really enjoy the ride!

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks Angie ☺️💕

  5. May 16, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Did Paul ever find Martha? Nice choice Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you Jim. I’m sure he did, silly dog ☺️💕

  6. May 16, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Loved the version and loved the information about the song. Great post which I think perfectly met the challenge. 🙂

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 8:47 am

      Thanks Kristian. I’m happy you liked it ☺️ I can’t wait to listen to all the others 👍

  7. May 16, 2021 at 5:26 am

    That sounds like elevator music!!! Great pick Christine!

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 7:11 am

      Thanks Mel ☺️💕

  8. May 16, 2021 at 1:21 am

    Definitely an elevator music version of a great Beatles song.

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 7:12 am

      Thanks Fan ☺️

  9. May 15, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Most of their stuff had that Muzak vibe. I like it!

    • Christine Bolton
      May 16, 2021 at 7:13 am

      Thanks John. I always liked their style ☺️

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