Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ten Songs About New York

Our guy Coach over at the Next Music Blog came up with a list of ten songs about New York.  While I admire his attempt to be different, he blew it by saying "there’s no Frank Sinatra on this list because, quite frankly, I think he sucks."  Yeah, that will earn you my scorn every time.

Still, he scored solidly with the choice of Ryan Adams's "New York, New York."  The video alone makes it worth a place in any list, as it was shot just before September 11, 2001, and prominently features the World Trade Center.  But it's also a great song.

I also give him props for choosing "Rockaway Beach" by the Ramones, and "Marching Bands of Manhattan" by Death Cab for Cutie.  If I'm choosing a Beastie Boys song, it's going to be "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."  But U2's "Angel of Harlem?" never did it for me.  Ever.

Incidentally, the New York Daily News also did a list of ten songs.  Not impressed.

Here are my ten (in no order), starting with the most obvious one...
- "New York New York" (FRANK SINATRA!)  Um, no, not Liza's version.  There's only one Sinatra, and he doesn't suck.  He's simply, with The Beatles and Elvis, the definitive musical entertainer of the 20th Century.  But oh yeah, he sucks.  Whatever.  This is THE song.  I've sang this song after too many victories.  You can just hear it in your mind as you cross the Hudson.

- "New York State of Mind" (Billy Joel)  Oh that's right, he sucks also.  Please.  This song oozes with a New York vibe, albiet 70's style.

- "Empire State of Mind" (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys) The current king of the crop from the "New Sinatra."  Although he STILL hasn't made the Yankee cap more popular than a Yankee can.

[HD] jay-z feat Alicia Keys performance Empire... by Daily1705
The Phillies never stood a chance.

- "Miami 2017 (I've Seen The Light Go Out on Broadway)" (Billy Joel)  The live version just kicks my butt every time.  This version, at the Concert for New York in 2001, floored me.

- "Take the 'A' Train" (Duke Ellington) This is New York without lyrics.

- "New York Groove" (popularized by Ace Frehley)  When Harold and I did our softball video in 2001, this is the song we used to close with.  Quick, poppy, and fun.

- "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" (Elton John) I just love this song, as unhappy as it is.  It's real, and that's New York at it's finest.  We've covered this song before. many to choose from.  We have seven.  Let's continue.  I'll go with...

- "New York Minute" (Don Henley) Hey, it's my list, and this song still grabs me with how quickly things go - in a, you know...

- "New York, New York" (Ryan Adams)  I can't ignore it.  I just can't.  The video does it for me, to go along with the song.

- "Jungleland" (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band)  This one might be a stretch but again, it's my list.  Beginning with "The Rangers had a homecoming, in Harlem late last night" it qualifies as a New York song.  Granted, we never really know if Jungleland is in New York or New Jersey, but it doesn't matter.  Bruce was going to make his way onto this list, if not for this then for "New York City Serenade", "Meeting Across the River" or something.

Those are my ten, for tonight.  I could have worked in The Ramones, Simon and Garfunkel, even the Stones.  There are a lot of songs about New York (take a look at this list).  Tough to not include things like "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, or "On Broadway" or "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and so many others.  Heck, there could be simply ten Billy Joel New York songs.

Just like the City itself, it isn't easy to narrow it down.

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