New York City is one of the best cities in the world. Split off into five boroughs, each have their own distinct flavour and culture. As such a huge cultural influence it is no surprise that many great musicians call New York City home. We take a look at some of the best song ever written about the city that never sleeps.
'New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down' - LCD Soundsystem This was the last song ever played by New York locals LCD Soundsystem, when they performed their farewell concerts at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. The album it belongs to was dedicated to "the memory of Dr. George Kamen (1942-2006), one of the great minds of his or any generation." Dr George Kamen was a pioneer of group therapy and had opened a practice in New York.
'New York, New York' By Ryan Adams (2001) Prepared for release just before the September 11 terrorist attacks, the music video for the song features Adams performing in front of the city's skyline from Brooklyn including the World Trade Center. The music video and song were dedicated as a result to those who lost their lives and profits were donated to a charity for the victims families. The airtime the clip subsequently received helped Adams breakthrough to the mainstream, resulting in a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal.
‘Bleecker Street’ By Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were based out of the famous Greenwich Village in New York City, where Bleecker Street is the nightclub district. The club CBGB, which closed in 2006, was located at the east end of Bleecker Street. After the commercial flop of the album the duo broke up.
‘New York City’ - John Lennon (1972) After The Beatles broke up John Lennon move with Yoko Ono to New York City where they set up shop in Greenwich Village and became involved in local social activism. This song, written by Lennon, is about the first few months of the couple living in the city.
'No Sleep Till Brooklyn' By The Beastie Boys (1986) An ode to life on the road touring, No Sleep Till Brooklyn was literal for the band who barely got any sleep until they made it back off tour to their homes in Brooklyn, New York. The name of the song itself is a play on Motörhead's No Sleep 'til Hammersmith album.
'New York State of Mind' By Billy Joel (1976) When Joel returned from life in Los Angeles back to New York he had such an overwhelming sense of returning home that it became the inspiration for this song. Allegedly he was on on a Greyhound Bus on the 'Hudson River Line' when the idea for the song came to him.
'The Message' By Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (1982) A song about living in the ghettos of America's cities, it was greatly influenced by Grandmaster Flash growing up in the Bronx as a child. It belongs to an album frequently referred to as the greatest record in hip hop history that also carries the distinction of becoming the first hip-hop record ever to be added to the United States' National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings.
'Empire State of Mind' By Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys (2009) Originally written by Brooklyn natives Angela Hunte and Jane't "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic who were feeling homesick while on an overseas trip in February 2009, the duo sent a demo to Jay-Z (a New York local) who teamed up with fellow local Alicia Keys. It was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards.
'Walk on the Wild Side' By Lou Reed (1972) From his second solo album, Transformer, after leaving the Velvet Underground. This song was highly controversial when it came out considering it is about transvestites who come to NYC for prostitution. They would say to their potential customers, "Take a walk on the wild side!"
'New York, New York' sung by Liza Minnelli and later Frank Sinatra (1977) This song is the theme song from the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York. The song has been embraced by locals of New York City and it is often heard at celebrations and sporting matches, most notably by the New York Yankees.
If you're interested in New York culture, come along to one of The Boroughs events around the country, starring famous locals The New York Dolls. Find out more information here.
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