These Foolish Things
Lester Young Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Oh! Will you never let me be?
Oh! Will you never set me free?
The ties that bound us
Are still around us
There's no escape that I can see
And still those little things remain
That bring me happiness or pain
A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces
An airline ticket to romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
A tinkling piano in the next apartment
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant
A fair ground's painted swings
These foolish things remind me of you
You came you saw you conquer'd me
When you did that to me
I knew somehow this had to be
The winds of March that make my heart a dancer
A telephone that rings but who's to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you

First daffodils and long excited cables
And candle lights on little corner tables
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The park at evening when the bell has sounded
The "Ile de France" with all the gulls around it
The beauty that is Spring's
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you

Gardenia perfume ling'ring on a pillow
Wild strawb'ries only seven francs a kilo
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses
The waiters whistling as the last bar closes
The song that Crosby sings
These foolish things remind me of you
How strange how sweet to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me
The scent of smould'ring leaves, the wail of steamers
Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers




Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you

Overall Meaning

The song These Foolish Things is a ballad about a narrator who is trapped in a love that brings about pain and sadness. The song starts off with a plea for freedom, begging the loved one to let the singer go. Despite the desire to be set free, the singer admits that they are bound by ties that are unbreakable. The song then goes on to list little things that remind the singer of their loved one, things like cigarette stains on cups and a ticket to a romantic place.


The list of things that remind the singer of their loved one continues and takes on a nostalgic tone. The song mentions a tinkling piano in the next apartment, candlelight on little corner tables, and the beauty of spring. The list ends with a mention of things that the singer doesn't necessarily like, but they still remind them of their loved one, such as the scent of smoldering leaves or the wail of steamers. While the singer acknowledges that they are foolish, and that these things only remind them of a love that they should forget, they still seem to cling to them.


Overall, the song is about the lingering memories of a love that has ended, and the singer's inability to move on from those memories. The little things in life that we all experience can often hold a lot of meaning and bring about emotions that we thought we had moved past.


Line by Line Meaning

Oh! Will you never let me be?
Are you ever going to release me from this emotional attachment?


Oh! Will you never set me free?
Is there no way that I can ever move on?


The ties that bound us
The emotional bond that we shared


Are still around us
It still exists and is present in our lives


There's no escape that I can see
I am struggling to find a way out of this heartache


And still those little things remain
The small details of our relationship are still with me


That bring me happiness or pain
These things elicit both positive and negative emotions in me


A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces
A memory of the intimacy we shared


An airline ticket to romantic places
The places we had planned to go together


And still my heart has wings
My emotions still soar when I think of you


These foolish things remind me of you
The small, seemingly insignificant things that spark a memory of you


A tinkling piano in the next apartment
The sounds that evoke memories of time spent together


Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant
The clumsy yet heartfelt expressions of love that we exchanged


A fair ground's painted swings
The shared experiences of joy and happiness


You came you saw you conquer'd me
You won my heart completely


When you did that to me
It was clear that we were meant to be together


I knew somehow this had to be
Our love was inevitable


The winds of March that make my heart a dancer
The changing of seasons represents the eternally evolving nature of our relationship


A telephone that rings but who's to answer?
The unanswered questions and confusion that still remain


Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
You still have a hold on my heart and thoughts


First daffodils and long excited cables
Happy memories of early spring and conversations with each other


And candle lights on little corner tables
The romantic ambiance we created together


The park at evening when the bell has sounded
The peaceful and serene moments we shared


The "Ile de France" with all the gulls around it
The beautiful image of the ocean and its surroundings that we both loved


The beauty that is Spring's
The beauty of nature and new beginnings that we appreciated together


The smile of Garbo and the scent of roses
The references to beauty that we both enjoyed


The waiters whistling as the last bar closes
The happy moments we shared in public spaces


The song that Crosby sings
The music that we both enjoyed


The scent of smould'ring leaves, the wail of steamers
The sensory experiences that evoke memories of our time together


Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers
The memory of us walking around in love




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS
Written by: Harry Link, Holt Marvell, Jack Strachey

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

John Lawrence Reynolds

...and all those other guys - Getz, Sims, Cohn and so on - picked up this sound, made their careers out of it and, as Pres said once, never even thanked him. Beautiful.

6ick6ick6ity

Bird thanked him and thats all that matters because he was Jazz...those guys u listed are great players ive listened to stan getz & paul desmond play smoother then lester could ever dream but jazz has innovators and imitators...getz and desmond will never be seen as players who invented a new sound but rather as great players who took lesters sound to new levels.

J. Maurice Rojas

Oh Lord this is so good! Thank you for uploading it! I just discovered this on a sunday night blues show and I HAD to find the youtube link! Thank you thank you thank you!

bernie

" Lester created his own melodic improvisation on foolish things dispensing entirely with Harry links and Jack Tracy's famous tune. Lester is at his most poignant on this track. There is a pure distilled lyricism and interior Beauty, May one say a wisdom? In his playing here, that is hard to find in his earlier work. Note the brief examples transcribed here especially the Luminous arpeggio crowning high D in his second bridge and the plaintive pleading Inception of the last eight bars." This is a passage I quoted from the book called The Swing era written by Gunther Schuler who spends a lot of time with Lester in his chapter "the great soloists "on page 557

Jose Luis Alonso

Un oasis, música que se disfruta.

Fab

Truly a gift

Laurent James

Il y en aurait trop à dire.

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