You Go to My Head

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"You Go to My Head" is a 1938 popular song composed by J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie.[1] Numerous versions of the song have been recorded, and it has since become a pop and jazz standard.

"You Go to My Head"
Published1938 by Remick Music
Composer(s)J. Fred Coots
Lyricist(s)Haven Gillespie

Melody and lyricsEdit

Alec Wilder terms Coots' melody a "minor masterpiece".[2] According to Ted Gioia, “’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.” [3] Gillespie's lyrics begin: "You go to my head and you linger like a haunting refrain".

Recordings, use in film, and performancesEdit

Bryan Ferry's 1975 UK-charting cover of the song on Island Records

Larry Clinton recorded the song with his orchestra and with vocals by Bea Wain on February 24, 1938, and the song became a hit, eventually reaching #3 on the pop charts.[4] It inspired an answer song, "You Went To My Head" (by Joseph Meyer, Bob Emmerich, and Buddy Bernier) that was recorded by Fats Waller on March 11, 1938, and again by Duke Ellington (featuring a vocal by Ivie Anderson) on April 17, 1938. The song was later recorded in 1938 by Teddy Wilson with a vocal by Nan Wynn, by Billie Holiday.,[5] and by Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra. The Wilson, Holiday, and Gray versions all placed in the top-20 of the music charts in 1938.[4] The song is played in Laura (1944 film) and The Big Sleep (1946 film). The Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson version of the song is played in the movie Corrina, Corrina (film).

In 1953, Frank Sinatra sang the song before a live television audience of 60 million persons (broadcast live over the NBC and CBS networks) as part of The Ford 50th Anniversary Show.

On 23 April 1961, Judy Garland performed the song at the Judy at Carnegie Hall concert. Bryan Ferry recorded the song as a single with a video in 1975 reaching No. 33 in the UK charts.

Other versionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "You Go To My Head" at – retrieved on 8 June 2009
  2. ^ The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists 0198022883 Philip Furia - 1992: "One of the decade's great torch songs, 'You Go to My Head' (1938), was written by the unlikely-sounding team of Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots (their only other hit together was 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town'). Originally written in 1936, 'You Go to My ... Alec Wilder terms Coots' melody a 'minor masterpiece,' and Gillespie's lyric not only matches it with smoothly expanding phrases but artfully weaves an elaborate skein of imagery. Reaching back to Berlin's comparison of a ..."
  3. ^ Gioa, T. (2012, p. 468), The Jazz Standards: a Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ a b Ted Gioia: The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, Oxford University Press 2012, p. 469
  5. ^ [1] Archived June 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 468–469. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  7. ^ "Coming Forth by Day". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 January 2019.