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"Theme from New York, New York"
Song by Liza Minnelli

from the album "New York, New York" Original Soundtrack Album

Released 1977
Recorded September 19, 1977
Genre Traditional pop
Length 3:26
Label Reprise Records
Writer Fred Ebb
Composer John Kander
Producer Sonny Burke
"New York, New York" Original Soundtrack Album track listing
"MacArthur Park"
(14)
"Theme from New York, New York"
(15)
"Summer Me, Winter Me"
(16)

"Theme from New York, New York" (or "New York, New York") is the theme song from the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York (1977), composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb. It was written for and performed in the film by Liza Minnelli.It Was suggested to him by Howard Huntridge an English Television producer during a meeting at Caesars Palace Las Vegas in 1977.

Contents

History

In 1980, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra, for his album Trilogy: Past Present Future (1980), and has since become closely associated with him. He occasionally performed it live with Minnelli as a duet. Sinatra recorded it a second time in duet with Tony Bennett for his 1993 album Duets.

The first line of the song is

Start spreadin' the news, I'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it: New York, New York.

The song concludes with the line

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere,
It's up to you, New York, New York.

Minnelli's original recording of the song uses the following closing line

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere,
Come on come through, New York, New York.

It should not be confused with the song "New York, New York", from Leonard Bernstein/Adolph Green/Betty Comden's musical On the Town, which features the lyric "New York, New York, is a helluva town / The Bronx is up and the Battery's down..."

Composers Kander and Ebb stated on the A&E Biography episode about Liza Minnelli that they attribute the song's success to actor Robert De Niro, who rejected their original theme for the film because he thought it was "too weak."

The song did not become a popular hit until it was picked up in concert by Frank Sinatra during his performances at Radio City Music Hall in October 1978. Subsequently, Sinatra recorded it in 1979 for his 1980 Trilogy set (Reprise Records), and it became one of his signature songs. The single peaked at #30 in June 1980, becoming one of his final hits on the charts. Sinatra made two more studio recordings of the song in 1981 (for his NBC TV special The Man and His Music) and 1993 (for Capitol Records). From the latter, an electronic duet with Tony Bennett was produced for Sinatra's Duets album.

The lyrics of the Sinatra versions differ slightly from Ebb's original lyrics. Notably, the phrase "A-number-one," which does not appear at all in the original lyrics, is sung twice at the song's rallentando climax. (Ebb has said he "didn't even like" Sinatra's use of "A-number-one").[1] The phrase is both the first and fourth on a list of four superlative titles the singer strives to achieve — "A-number-one, top of the list, king of the hill, A-number-one" — where Ebb's original lyrics were closer to "king of the hill, head of the list, cream of the crop, at the top of the heap."

Appearance in popular culture

The song has been embraced as a celebration of New York City, and is often heard at New York-area social events, such as weddings and bar mitzvahs. Many sports teams in the New York area have played this song in their arenas/stadiums, but the New York Yankees are the most prominent example. It has been played over the loudspeakers at both the original and current Yankee Stadiums at the end of every Yankee home game. At first, Sinatra's version was played after a Yankees win, and the Minnelli version after a loss. Minnelli also raised some controversy when, in 2001, she demanded that the Yankees play her version after a win, or not play it at all. The Yankees took the latter option, and played Sinatra's version after all wins and losses.

As of the 2005 season, at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark following Staten Island Yankees games, the Sinatra version is heard regardless of the game's outcome, and was formerly done at Shea Stadium at the end of New York Mets games after the September 11 attacks. Previously, Mets fans believed that the song was a "Yankee Song," and began booing it when it was played. It actually first had snippets of the song played after World Series home runs by Ray Knight and Darryl Strawberry during Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. The song is also sometimes played at New York Knicks games. The Sinatra version is played at the end of every New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. It was played at the opening faceoff of Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals at the Garden.[2]

The song was the musical basis for Jimmy Picker's 1983 Academy Award winning animated short, Sundae in New York, with a likeness of then-mayor Ed Koch somewhat stumbling through the song, with clay caricatures of New York based celebrities (including Alfred E. Neuman) and finishing the song with "Basically I think New York is very therapeutic. Hey, an apple a day is..uh..great for one's constitution!" and burying his face in a big banana split with "THE END" written on his bald head.

Since 1997, the song has also been performed during the post parade of the Belmont Stakes horse race, either as an edit of the Sinatra version or a live trackside performance by singers such as Linda Eder or Ronan Tynan. It replaced "Sidewalks of New York" as the horse race's signature song, although the latter tune is still sung by the on-track crowd before the race.

The song is also played a few seconds after the ball drop in Times Square every New Year's, after "Auld Lang Syne".

The theme from New York, New York has also been played during Columbia University and New York University commencements.

Queen also recorded the song, and it was used in the soundtrack for the film Highlander. Queen's version was never released.

Despite Sinatra's version becoming more familiar, original singer Minnelli had two of the tune's most memorable live performances – during the July 4, 1986 ceremony marking the rededication of the Statue of Liberty after extensive renovations, and in the middle of the seventh inning of a New York Mets game that was the first pro sports event in the metro area after the September 11, 2001 attacks. She also sang it in the Olympic stadium during the 1984 Summer Olympics, accompanied by 24 pianos and strobe lights.

In the Arrested Development episode "Queen for a Day" Minnelli's character Lucille Austero wearily referenced the general confusion over the song's origins when she said, "Everybody thinks they're Frank Sinatra" after hearing Tobias Fünke's rendition in a gay bar heavily populated by drag queens.[3]

The song is featured in the movie Gremlins 2, with Tony Randall singing as the Brain Gremlin.

The song is played after fireworks for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

The song is also sung by the characters Alex and Marty in the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar.

On November 22, 2009, in her performance of Empire State of Mind along with rapper Jay-Z at the 2009 American Music Awards, Alicia Keys performed the opening lines of the song.

Covers

See also

Queen cover a piece of New York New York ..in the movie Highlander 1986

References

  1. ^ NPR : 'New York, New York', Present at the Creation
  2. ^ Hockey Night in Canada: Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. [television]. CBC. 1994-06-14. "And Bob (Cole), they're hollering out all the artillery just for you, Sinatra, before the opening faceoff. It can't get any better than that for an excitement standpoint."  Dick Irvin, Jr. told Bob Cole just before the opening faceoff when Sinatra's song was played over the PA system.
  3. ^ "Queen for a Day". Writer (Brad Copeland), Director (Andrew Fleming). Arrested Development. FOX. 23 January 2005. 9 minutes in.

External links

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