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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Real New York, New York, by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green, from On the Town (1944/1949)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Most people today hear “New York, New York,” and think of a crappy song that John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote for Liza Minelli in the terrible, eponymous Martin Scorcese movie, which co-starred Robert de Niro, in a typical Scorsese role as a low-life trombonist.

In 1978, Frank Sinatra began covering that song on his tour, and did what only the greatest singers can do—transcend his material. Today, most people don’t even know that Sinatra was covering a song written for Minelli. They figure the song has been written for ‘Ol Blue Eyes.

When I was a kid, everyone knew this song, which was the signature tune for the city. The musical On the Town opened on Broadway on December 28, 1944, and ran for 13 months, which in those days counted as a big hit. As the song tells us, the show is about three sailors whose ship docks in New York harbor, and who get a 24-hour pass, and who resolve to cram a world of living into that single day:
Gotta pick up a date,
Maybe seven or eight,
On my way,
In just one day.

In the stage show, the three sailors were played by Cris Alexander, John Battles, and Adolph Green. In the 1949 movie, they were played by Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and—drumrollbecauseit’stheanswertoatriviaquestion… Jules Munshin.
 

When I came to New York City 30 years ago, after five years in West German exile, and well-to-do white transplants told TV news reporters they “love the energy” of the city, they were speaking in pc euphemisms. “Energy” meant the black and Hispanic thugs and psychopaths who ruled the streets of a city with an IQ of about 96. However, way back when, New York was a city that had a collective IQ of around 102, immeasurable talent, and was the cultural and artistic capital of the world. It was a place of seemingly limitless possibility.

The Jewish-dominated City College of New York was producing future Nobel Laureates, real ones, and the Jewish-dominated legitimate stage was busting out with brilliance.

The show in question was composed and choreographed by a couple of 26-year-old Jewish youngsters, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), respectively. In 1957, when they collaborated on West Side Story, it seemed like the sky was the limit. Alas, Bernstein gave in to a life of sexual debauchery and political adventurism, and lived off his “residuals.” I’ll say this for him, though: He was the most gracious luminary I ever met, at least until I crossed paths with the likes of Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter, over 30 years later.
 

New York, New York
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Words by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun.'
New York, New York, it's a helluva town!

CHIP:
The famous places to visit are so many,
Or so the guidebooks say,
I promised Daddy, I wouldn't miss on any,
And we have just one day,
Got to see the whole town,
From Yonkers on down to the Bay.

GABEY, CHIP, OZZIE:
In just one day!

New York, New York, a visitor's place,
Where no one lives on account of the pace,
But seven millions are screaming for space,
New York, New York, it's a visitor's place!

OZZIE:

Manhattan women are dressed in silk and satin,
Or so the fellas say,
There's just one thing that's important in Manhattan,
When you have just one day,
Gotta pick up a date...

CHIP:
Maybe seven...

OZZIE:
Or eight
On your way.

GABEY, CHIP, OZZIE:
In just one day!

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun'.
New York, New York, it's a helluva town!!
 


New York, New York, in the Movie Version of On the Town (1949)
 


 

Uploaded on October 29, 2009 by Jacob Wingfield.
 
The Legendary Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin perform New York, New York from the 1944 musical and the 1949 MGM musical film On the Town. The music was written by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The best known line of this song is, "New York, New York, a helluva town. The Bronx is up but the Battery's down." For the film version, the word "helluva" was changed to "wonderful" to appease the Production Code offices.
 

[Previously, in this series:

“Frank Sinatra: My Shining Hour (Video, from Trilogy: Past Present Future)”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing Arlen & Mercer’s Come Rain or Shine”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Quintessential Version of Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer’s ‘One for My Baby (and One More, for the Road)’”;

“Hear Frank Sinatra Sing the Classic Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer Torch Song, ‘Blues in the Night’”;

“Frank Sinatra: Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s Stormy Weather (Video)”;

“Frank Sinatra Live! Medley of The Gal That Got Away and It Never Entered My Mind, Performed in 1980 at Carnegie Hall (Great Quality Video of a Grand Performance!)”;

“Frank Sinatra: Here's That Rainy Day (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke)”;

“Frank Sinatra’s Revelatory, 1962 Performance of Kern and Fields’ The Way You Look Tonight”;

“Paul Robeson?! Hear Frank Sinatra Give the Definitive Interpretation of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Ol’ Man River (1963)”; and

“The Greatest Song Ever Written? Hear Frank Sinatra Sing Rodgers & Hammerstein's Soliloquy.”

2 comments:

Mark Caplan said...

For the film, the lyrics were changed to "The Bronx is up, AND the Battery's down." At least that's what I hear them singing.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Bernstein was a predatory homosexual.