Greetings Manic Fans. Les here today to talk a little bit about New York, New York-the city so nice, they named it twice. While I’ve never lived in the “Big Apple,” I’ve visited it several times, and it’s an incredible city, my friends. There’s a lot to see and do and you’d be hard pressed to experience all it has to offer you in a week, let alone a whole year. Being the utterly fascinating place it is, it’s no wonder that many songs have been written about it. Today, I want to list my top 12 favorite New York, New York songs.

Why 12? Because I like to go one step beyond one step beyond.


Warning: You might end up spending a bit of money downloading these songs…

#12 “An Englishman in New York”-Sting

http://youtube.com/watch?v=d27gTrPPAyk

Why is this song at #12? Mostly because the song is barely about New York, itself. It’s mentioned in the first verse and in every chorus, but primarily, it’s about an outsider speaking his mind about being a man. Why is it on the list, then? Simple: I LOVE THIS SONG! Also, it was used in the Doctor Who episode: “The Angels Take Manhattan.” For me, THAT COUNTS!

 

#11 “Rhinestone Cowboy”-Glen Campbell

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8kAU3B9Pi_U

You might not think of this song right away when thinking of New York songs, but Glen captured in song an intriguing guy who’s a cowboy in a star spangled rodeo stage show on Broadway. The song describes his feelings of displacement and depression along with excitement at being a star getting cards and letters from strangers and offers coming over the phone.

 

#10 “On Broadway”-George Benson

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ok__l1Acuwg

While the Drifters did this song first, George made the song his own when he covered it. Using smart guitar riffs and his phenomenal scat, he sings a song about a newcomer with dreams of Broadway stardom and his determination to succeed.

 

#9 “New York Minute”-Don Henley

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YWNsXwbtizQ (shaky amateur video, but the sound is good)

A great song about how everything can change in a moments notice centers in the city that never sleeps

 

#8 “Empire State of Mind Part II”-Alicia Keys

http://youtube.com/watch?v=JxR74r2DNBM

Even though most of the music coming out right now is uninspiring and forgettable, I gotta give props to this song as one of the great exceptions that proves the rule. The imagery is great and the chorus is one of the tastiest earworms I’ve heard in a long time.

 

#7 “Empire State of Mind(Feat Alicia Keys)”-Jay-Z

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0UjsXo9l6I8

And, while I usually despise rap stars who blatantly steal music cuts from other artists(It’s just really lazy songwriting/recording….), in this case, Jay-Z took a great song and actually did something new with it. With a fatter drumbeat and some very tasty piano chords to liven up the verses, the song feels more urban-like with a sound that captures the richness and rhythm of the thriving city.

 

#6 “New York State of Mind”-Billy Joel

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ol0dPJdzm1M

Billy Joel cemented his position as a prominent favorite son of New York with this song. Bluesy and Jazzy, with Joel’s soulful delivery, the song tells about a man who’s been all around the world, but his heart lies in his hometown.

 

#5 “Brooklyn Roads”-Neil Diamond

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vIMr4CgauJA

Like Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind, Neil Diamond sings a song about a native New Yorker dreaming about his hometown. In this case, however, he’s remembering what it was like growing up as a child in the city and daydreaming as he looked out his window on those Brooklyn Roads.

 

#4 “NYC”-Annie-Victor Garber/Audra McDonald /Alicia Morton /Andrea McArdle

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vIMr4CgauJA

I love this number for the great way it describes the town from a lifetime resident to one who’s never seen it and the hopes of anyone who ever dreamed of making it big on Broadway. It’s excitingly fast paced and happy in its mood.

 

#3 “Why Should I Worry?”-Oliver & Company-Billy Joel

http://youtube.com/watch?v=tTFVhlpsuiA

“One minute I’m in Central Park….Then I’m down on Delancy Street….” This song kicks all kinds of ass, my friends. It tells about a streetwise New York character who’s dead broke but doesn’t care because he’s got “street savoir faire.” In his mind, he’s the king of the town, and the funk verses are just so cool you’ll tap your toe when it’s going and then stomp your feet when the chorus goes into double time.

 

#2 “New York, New York(It’s a helluva town)”-On The Town-Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshein

http://youtube.com/watch?v=x7CIgWZTdgw

Here’s a great piece about 3 Naval men with only 24 hours to spend on a New York Shore Leave. It captures the wonder of discovering the sights and the experience of a lifetime for the swabbies. It’s also a great snapshot of an era in American history.

 

And my #1 favorite New York, New York song is….

 

#1 Theme from New York, New York-New York, New York-Frank Sinatra/Liza Minelli

http://youtube.com/watch?v=OCah9Sblmu8 Frank Sinatra

http://youtube.com/watch?v=KLeC9RvrKrU Liza Minelli

C’mon! There’s no other possible #1 for this list. It will always be in the top 5 most requested songs in any piano bar in the world, and for a simple reason: It’s one of the best songs ever written. It’s full of meaning. It’s easy to learn, and it’s easy to sing along too. You can never hear the final chorus without envisioning a grand show in Radio City Music Hall with a huge line of Rockettes doing high kicks in time.

 

And so, that’s my top 12 favorite songs about New York, New York. Did I miss any of your favorites? I’d love to hear what New York songs you loved, my friends. Peace.

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