What does What A Fool Believes mean?

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Doobie Brothers: What A Fool Believes Meaning


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Song Released: 1979

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What A Fool Believes Lyrics

He came from somewhere back in her long ago.
The sentimental fool don't see.
Tryin' hard to recreate
What had yet to be created
Once in her life.

She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say,
Only to...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 13th 2012 report

    Punctuation is important here. The key phrases are "What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away" and "What seems to be is always better than nothing."

    Translated, that means, "There's no point trying to reason with a deluded fool. He sees what he wants to see, and you'll never convince him that he's wrong. But hey, maybe he's HAPPIER with his delusion. For a lonely fool, a fantasy love may be better than no love at all."

    The song itself is telling a story of a woman who briefly meets a man she knew long ago. PERHAPS they had gone out a few times, or perhaps he was a casual acquaintance who loved her from afar. Either way, that man has always been madly in love with her, but she hasn't even thought about him in years.

    He approaches her and tries to reminisce about old times. She smiles politely, then makes a fast, phony apology ("Whoa, look at the time! I have to be going, but it was great to meet you- we must get together again real soon. Bye") and leaves.

    Any smart, sane person would see that she wants nothing to do with him, and that she just left him flat. But he's so blinded by love, he tells himself there's still hope, and that she may yet fall in love with him.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 24th report

    The interpretation for this song, a guy saw girl after a long time. It was unrequited love or the feeling was not mutual. Figment of the imagination. Maybe he thought the girl had an interest but he was only seen as a friend. Wikipedia interpretation - The lyrics tell a story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.

  3. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd report

    Longing for past love is a fools errand, but sometimes holding onto a fantasy dream can be comforting as one realizes anything is possible. Sure beats nothing!

  4. anonymous
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    Aug 1st report

    Most men are "hunters," in the sense that they, especially when younger, tend to view women as prizes to be won or conquered. This is why, for most of human history, women have been treated as objects rather than human beings, and why they have often been subjected to violence at the hands of jealous men. The song's lyrics are evocative of a more civilized society, but the dream harbored by the man is a remnant of this mindset. He is incapable of honest communication, apparently and makes assumptions about the present based on romantic dreams he has harbored from the past.

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 1st report

    This is what happens when you harbor romantic feelings for another person without really knowing them; you waste your precious time in dreams. The song also illustrates that romantic dreams are a refuge for the lonely, because our society runs on dreams and not honest communication.

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 31st report

    I was that guy forty years ago, couldn't love deeply but thought I could. A woman and I met and loved mutually. My take on the matter was far more powerful than hers, it seems. When she left I was devastated, then I heard this song which has always cut kinda deep. What A Fool Believes. I'm that fool with a deep residue of imagined love to this day.

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 27th report

    He loved her and he let his head run away with the fantasy that there was something there for her too. But it was all a fantasy. “He never made her think twice.” “Trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created.” It sounds pathetic. I guess it is. I know. You learn a bit and you grow a bit. Takes time to let go. I do disagree, though, that living in fantasy is better than living in truth. There’s no growth to be gained in not facing the truth. Cheers!

  8. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2021 report

    Micheal MacDonald in an interview said it depicts a fellow who was, in his youth, deeply in love with a young woman who liked him only in a platonic way.
    Then, years later, they bump into one another and the old flame is re ignited in him.
    But she doesn’t feel any such flame; realizes he still feels that way about her... and quickly steps away, so as not to embarrass him or cause her discomfort.

    Sounds like a scenario that we can all recall from our past... back in our “long ago...”

  9. matthewkennethgray
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    Nov 8th 2020 report

    I've looked at all the responses and interpretations here, and I think you all hit the nail on the head with this one. It's Unrequited and Unresolved love for her that kept his head in the game for her but her thought was it was NEVER love that matched his, in fact, he was just someone he spent time with and barely remembers. Totally sad but it does remind me of like, when you believe in something so strong inside you and it gets squashed by women who had no intentions but to just hang out as friends... He was in the Forgotten Friend Zone I suppose.

  10. Chelle
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    Jun 10th 2020 report

    I relate to that mans thoughts and feelings.. maybe I was wrong...I never meant anything...such a person yes but was I significant in his life...sadly no.

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 29th 2020 report

    She is heading for the door and he gets up as she is getting ready to apologize for having to leave.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Nov 11th 2019 report

    There's more than a few of those these days but shy away by so many stuff poor into woman's life, let's take time to listen to people...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. kooljohn176
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    Jan 31st 2019 report

    An extinct kind of a good and honest man that ''fell in love'' with the one that he ''believed'' was specially created for him, to be loved by him, but no matter how hard he tried she never 'honestly' loved him for who he was. A very sad song story where he had to let her go slowly with a lot of emotional and phycological pain.

  14. anonymous
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    Oct 31st 2017 report

    Its about a old romance. That he took more serious then she did, that part of he rises to her apology, meaning she is saying I'm sorry you feel this way but I no longer do. It seems he still cant for get her, but she thing I was nothing. I was in the same boat.

  15. anonymous
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    Feb 18th 2017 report

    Exactly like a.b from jerusalem-israel... She will come back sooner or later after all those years and she knows it.....becuse of her......shhhhh.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  16. anonymous
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    Mar 23rd 2016 report

    Back in the days when men respected women, if a woman made an excuse to leave his company, the man would rise from a seated position and bow to her. Often he would kiss her hand, if they were old friends. Then she would leave.

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