There are a lot of New York themed songs out there, aren't there? Songs with New York in the title, or at least very prominently in the lyrics. I've never been to New York City (though I was very close to becoming a New Yorker once!) so I can't really comment on whether it lives up to its reputation in songs. The Big Apple certainly has an interesting history and has continued to grow into a home of multiculturalism and performing arts (Broadway!). The words "New York" and its derivatives are constantly being used as a symbol of some special kind of lifestyle – what it is precisely, I can't say. But I can share ten of my favourite, fabulous New York tunes!
Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down by Alicia Keys
The original one is by Jay-Z with Alicia Keys singing the chorus, but I happen to prefer this version. The vocals in the beginning are chilling, and I love the atmosphere in general. Treats New York as a city where you can fulfill your dreams.
New York by Paloma Faith
I really love the sound of this song, but to this day I can't figure out what "New York" stands for here. Is it the actual city or, literally, "another lady"? The music video only adds to the confusion!
I Love New York by Madonna
The queen of pop sings about New York as "the only city that makes me glad". I'd like to know why!
New York State Of Mind by Billy Joel
Has been covered numerous times, by Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand to name a few. Such a nice and mellow tune, with some beautiful piano and sax. And Billy Joel's voice, of course.
Englishman In New York by Sting
I start tapping my foot the moment I hear the first beats of this wonderful classic piece. Deals with culture clashes I guess, though eventually the melting pot will without a doubt consume the Englishman.
New York City Serenade by Bruce Springsteen
A ten-minute jumble of many parts and lyrics that kind of don't match, but it's really beautiful, which a word that I usually don't associate with Bruce Springsteen, though I do associate many other positive adjectives with him.
The Only Living Boy In New York by Simon & Garfunkel
I think it's so sweet that Paul Simon wrote this to Art Garfunkel when the latter was in Mexico and Simon felt lonely. It's a beautiful piece, once again. I guess it is possible after all to feel lonely in the city that never sleeps.
There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York by Sammy Davis Jr.
This is from the musical Porgy and Bess which I really know nothing about. Anyway, it's a nice song with a great swing! Presents New York in the usual light of the destination of "high life".
A Nightingale Sang In New York by Bing Crosby
I'm so happy I found a New York song by Bing Crosby because he's like one of my favourite people in the Universe. My Christmas is never complete without his White Christmas and O Come All Ye Faithful, but no matter what that man is singing, it sounds perfect. I don't know why this is called A Nightingale Sang in New York on Spotify and A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square everywhere else.
New York, New York by Frank Sinatra
Of course, you can't talk about music and New York without mentioning this famous piece by Frank Sinatra (who also sings about "Chicago, Chicago"). Jay-Z knows that too, as he pays tribute to Sinatra and his famous line "if I can make it there, I'm gonna make it any God damn where" in Empire State Of Mind
Maybe I should go find out songs about London next... Yesterday, a friend and I bought plane tickets to London and tickets to Queen's Theatre to see Les Misérables and we've been celebrating ever since! I'm so happy to be going to London again! My pilgrimage to New York and Broadway will have to wait a little longer, but it will happen.