You Enjoy Myself

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"You Enjoy Myself"
Song by Phish
from the album Junta
GenreJazz fusion, funk rock, progressive rock, jam
Songwriter(s)Trey Anastasio

You Enjoy Myself, commonly abbreviated to "YEM" is a Phish song written by Trey Anastasio. It is the band's most frequently played song, having been featured — as of August 2012 — at about 35% of their 1,566 shows.[1] The song is also one of the oldest in Phish's catalog, having been first performed live on February 3, 1986. Keyboardist Page McConnell revealed on Nightline with Ted Koppel that "You Enjoy Myself" was his favorite Phish song.[2]

The song was featured on Phish's first album Junta, although a shorter, a cappella version appeared on their 1986 self-titled debut commonly known as The White Tape. "You Enjoy Myself" is a staple of the group's popular live performances, and while the version that appears on Junta is under ten minutes long, live versions (especially after 1995) have regularly exceeded 25 minutes in length.[3] The longest live version of the song to date, performed on October 31, 1995 during the band's Halloween show in Rosemont, IL, clocks in at over 40 minutes. The show was officially released as Live Phish Volume 14.

Like "The Divided Sky," another largely instrumental song from the same era, "YEM" is a classically structured piece, and fans have dubbed each section of the song with names like "Pre-Nirvana," "Nirvana," "The Note," "The Second Note" and "The Charge".[4] When the song is performed live, one section features Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon jumping on trampolines in tandem. It is also known as one of Anastasio's most astute, complex and masterful compositions, weaving throughout different keys and themes. It begins with a spacy, arpeggiated intro in B flat major, weaves through a "Nirvana" segment and eventually culminates in a funky progression where the lyrics and jam begin.

One feature of the song beloved by fans is the so-called "vocal jam" occurring after the instrumental portion of the song has ended and extending over several minutes. This segment is absent from the studio recording but is a consistent part of live performances. The vocal jam features the four members of Phish performing a capella and harmonizing, but typically avoids singing of melodic lines, favoring instead techniques such as vocal percussion and rhythmic repetition of short syllabic sequences. Sometimes a few discernible words are woven into the jam, often referencing songs or jokes occurring earlier in the show.

The song was ranked #85 in the list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time of Rolling Stone.[5]


The song's title was influenced by a German man named Jurgen while Anastasio and Fishman were in Florence.[6]

Halfway through the song are the only clearly comprehensible lyrics in the song: "Boy! … Man! … God! … Shit!," followed by a line whose meaning has perpetually been subject to discussion until it was settled by an issue of Guitar World. After many interpretations including, "Wash your feet then drive me into a frenzy", it was revealed to be "wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze" in a Guitar World issue that included the tablature for the song.

One possible explanation for this line is that "Uffizi" is a pun on an Italian-accented pronunciation of the words "your feet." The Uffizi is a museum the pair visited in Firenze, or Florence, Italy. At a spring near the Uffizi, it is reported that they washed their feet. One theory is that the quoted Italian hailed from this area — in which case the meaning of the song as a whole becomes clearer.

Others believe that Fishman and Anastasio picked up a hitchhiker while in Italy, and the man kept saying "Wash uffitzi, drive me to Firenze." meaning "Would you please drive me to Florence?"

A rumor has it that the song was influenced by an experience Anastasio and Fishman had while swimming in the Mediterranean, and Fishman got a bit too far out to sea. Anastasio was a bit alarmed, and the main introduction to the song was composed as a consequence.

In an issue of Rolling Stone, Trey stated the intro was inspired by Robert Fripp.

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  1. ^ "You Enjoy Myself". Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  2. ^ Rosenberg, Howard L. (2008-01-05). "Nightline Playlist: Page McConnell - ABC News". Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  3. ^ Song History [1] Accessed: August 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". 1995-10-31. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone - The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2018-01-09.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Retrieved 2011-01-24. "The hypnotic arpeggios, cathartic hard-rock solos and wah-wah'd funk of the epic 'You Enjoy Myself' defined the ambitions — and the whimsical live jams — of Phish in their Nineties prime. But for Trey Anastasio, the song's guitar parts evoke an even earlier time: The idyllic summer of 1985, when the 20-year-old guitarist composed the tune on the half-size Time electric guitar and battery-powered Mouse amp he brought along on a trip to Europe. Anastasio and Phish drummer Jon Fishman spent their days busking and their nights partying and sleeping in a Ford Fiesta. 'I was coming up with these little bits, but I never really sat down to write anything', says Anastasio. 'We'd be sitting around the bonfire with, like, 20 people, watching the stars and listening to the waves crash, and I'd be strumming along. I'd play something like the opening part of the song, and it would stick in my head. And the next week, we'd be standing on the street, and I'd come up with another part. I would just glue them together — the song is like a travel journal.' The intro was inspired by Robert Fripp, and the funk section was 'some convoluted attempt to sound something like James Brown', says Anastasio. 'What I really liked about that song — and this sounds weird, considering what kind of song it is — is that it had a lot of soul.’"
  6. ^ The Phish Companion, 2nd Edition, page 306.

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