Other people’s songs: You go to my head

Previously in this series…

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

Dylan’s version of this pop and jazz standard appeared on disc 3, track 7 of Triplicate.

Aaron: Composed by J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie, it has been this described as a “minor masterpiece”.

Noted jazz critic Ted Gioia had this to say, “’You Go to my Head’ is an intricately constructed affair with plenty of harmonic movement. The song starts in a major key, but from the second bar onward, Mr. Coots seems intent on creating a feverish dream quality tending more to the minor mode. The release builds on the drama, and the final restatement holds some surprises as well. The piece would be noteworthy even if it lacked such an exquisite coda, but those last eight bars convey a sense of resigned closure to the song that fittingly matches the resolution of the lyrics.”

I’m hoping Tony can help us out with what all that means!

Tony: So no pressure on me then!   The coda comment is interesting.   The critic is writing about the last four lines

Though I'm certain that this heart of mine
Hasn't a ghost of a chance in this crazy romance
You go to my head
You go to my head

and codas were fairly common in popular music before the days of rock n roll when what we normally got was just verse after verse or verse and chorus.

It’s a very poignant ending, saying I know this is going to end in disaster, and I’m going to get hurt, but I can’t stop.  I suspect a lot of us have felt that and then cast the thoughts aside because the relationship is so exciting.  We’ll take it at any cost.

I rather like the line before the coda…

You intoxicate my soul with your eyes

and had I had the talent to come up with a line like that I’d have stopped there.  Now that is a line and a half.   But I’ve never been sure of Bob’s voice being suited for this type of music.

Aaron: Bryan Ferry – had a UK Top 40 hit with his version in 1975.

The opening lines are

You go to my head
And you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne

and with the melody jumping around, here we get the instruments doing the same.  I think the inventiveness of the arrangement is a brilliant accompaniment to Brian Ferry’s exquisite voice.  Sorry Bob, I think you were outgunned in every way.

I think this arrangement works much better with the coda, but then the impact of the coda is lost in the endless repeat of the last line.  I know they wanted to make the song longer, but it is a great shame to do that.

Aaron: Chuck Berry – this was included on his final album “Chuck” in 2017… the same year Triplicate was released.

Tony: The version Aaron supplied from the USA won’t play in the UK so I’ve added a second link that does work where I am.

Tony:  This the one I prefer – which surprises me.  But having the two vocalists and adding the rock-blues beat, and the piano – it is so relaxed it just seems to work perfectly.  They don’t feel the need for the coda.  And with that version, nor do I.  The “intoxicate my soul with your eyes” line is good enough for any ending.

Absolutely love that version.  I’d never guess it was Chuck.


One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *