As the weather gets colder, people seek comfort. Some find that that comfort in a blanket, others warm clothes; the lucky ones, in the arms of another. Lucky or not, Bud Powell’s “You Go To My Head” gives you all the warm feelings of newfound love. Which is why it’s one of my favorite tracks to get me through the fall and winter months.
the back story
Powell’s “You Go To My Head” was released in 1952, appearing on his album The Amazing Bud Powell. This song was a cover of Larry Clinton & His Orchestra’s composition of the same name. Despite it being a cover, there are few resemblances in Powell’s version to Clinton’s. Powell’s song holds licks and adornments from a quaint drum set that only served Powell’s piano notes that feel like decorations over a fire. They dance and leap, leaving a scented aroma for the listener to peacefully follow.
Although it doesn’t have lyrics, Powell’s “You Go To My Head” follows a romantic narrative of a person who can’t stop thinking about their love. This is also alluded to in the track’s title, “You Go To My Head”, depicting that this significant other is always on the person’s mind. You can find this story in Clinton’s original lyrics.
Somehow, without using any lyrics, Powell is able to portray these same feelings to the listener with just a piano and a few other instruments. The rampant shift in his piano’s notes, like rolling down a hill, flutters through the audience’s ears and fills their heart with a childish excitement. An excitement that only they know; one that is solely personal to them.
It sounds even Better In the fall
Powell’s piano immediately rolls in melodies at the start of “You Go To My Head”. Soon after he begins, the percussion and a distant cello fill the track’s empty space. These two other instruments in combination sound like the grainy texture and bouncing pin from an old record player, filling the audience’s mind with a cozy nostalgia.
This coziness, this love, which is so synonymous with fall’s changing leaves, make it an ethereal track for the new weather. It fills our heart better than a frothing mug of hot chocolate as we ooze in a leisurely recline, thinking of what we love. From there, our thoughts drift and our body relaxes, comforted in the arms of Powell’s “You Go To My Head”.
What song reminds you of love this fall?