Music plays an important role in a wanderluster’s voyage through life – for me, I’ve always had a travel song for each place that means something special to me. Today’s post takes us through the best songs inspired by New York, one of the most exciting and thrilling cities in the world.
No other city in the world has inspired as many songs as New York, from the crooning New York, New York by Old Blue Eyes to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ most recent smash hit New York State of Mind. Here’s a selection of just a few, including the classics plus one or two you might not have heard before!
Flickr photo by Dande Chiaro
New York, New York (Liza Minelli/Frank Sinatra)
The definitive New York anthem! Immortalised by the great Frank Sinatra but originally written and performed by Liza Minelli for the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same title.
An Open Letter to NYC – (Beastie Boys)
A slightly more upbeat tribute to the city that never sleeps! This track samples Sammy Davis Jr. singing “New York’s My Home.”
New York (U2)
According to Bono this track is a sort of tribute to both Frank Sinatra and Lou Reed. Included on the band’s 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the lyrics to New York were altered slightly after the September 11th attacks in 2001.
Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
Reed’s best-known song is about various individuals’ journeys to, and around, New York. Included on the album Transformer, the track was produced by David Bowie.
New York City’s Killing Me (Ray LaMontagne)
Reclusive folk songster Ray LaMontagne while on a New York holiday sometimes performs in the dark so people can’t see him! He is so shy he also refuses to make music videos as he prefers to leave them to the “beautiful people.” Perhaps New York holidays are not for him.
Englishman in New York (Sting)
This song from Sting’s 1987 album …Nothing Like the Sun is famously about the eccentric writer Quentin Crisp. Although well-known, the single did not chart well, reaching number 51 in the UK charts and even lower in the US.
New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)
The third best-selling solo artist in the USA, Billy Joel had to have a New York tune of his own! This song gets played frequently at New York sports events, and was inspired by Joel’s move back to New York from LA.
Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z / Alicia Keys)
A worldwide hit for Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind spent five weeks at number one in the US’s Billboard Hot 100 and broke the top ten in many other countries. Alicia Keys also recorded her own version of the song Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down in order to better express her own feelings toward the great city.
Fairytale of New York (The Pogues)
Regularly voted the best Christmas song of all time, The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is a slightly less saccharine-sweet festive anthem than most. Released in 1987, the song is a drunken man’s reminiscences about Christmases past, including a less-than successful relationship!
Harlem Shuffle (The Rolling Stones)
Although not written by The Rolling Stones, theirs is a great version of this R&B track by Bob & Earl. The slightly bizarre music video from 1986 features animation by Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi.
- 10 Travel Songs to Inspire your Summer Playlist
- 7 Alternative Summer Destinations
- 8 Quick Tips for Shoestring Travelers in Europe
- Green Travel: 7 Luxury Eco-Retreats
- Top 6 Scenic River Rides
- 5 Great Cities for Castle-hopping
- 10 Unique Transport Modes Around the World