Frank Sinatra recorded Theme from New York, New York, in 1979 for his album Trilogy: Past Present Future, which became one of his signature songs. But did you know he was not the original singer of the song?
Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” song was a cover. Liza Minnelli released the original in 1977.
Singing New York, New York
Frank performed in New York, New York, in public for the first time in October 1978 at a charity event at the Waldorf-Astoria. It had not taken off the previous year when it was the movie’s theme song. It was a show-stopper when Frank performed it live. In 1979, in Los Angeles, he made the recording still in use today. It came across as a new, defiant personal statement and an ode to a city.
In June 1980, New Yorkers flocked to Carnegie Hall in a frenzy of anticipation. Don Freeman, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Leader, recalled how, upon hearing the first tentative sounds of the song, the audience erupted.
The audience erupted into a thunderclap of loving recognition. Sinatra the wise showman allowed the applause and the cheers to reach a high decibel peak, and descend into a deliciously tense, expectant silence. Sinatra the artist would bring the audience along the heights again, but on his terms. He puffed on a cigarette, sipped from a glass of wine. And then he sang New York New York, Unforgettable.Don Freeman, San Diego Union-Leader columnist
New York, New York was written for Liza Minnelli, who had a minor hit with it, in Martin Scorsese’s unfortunate 1977 musical of the same name and is more correctly titled Theme from New York, New York. Sinatra opened in some early concert performances with the Bernstein-Comden-Green song to lead into the soon-to-be familiar John Kander-Fred Ebb intrigue.
As we all know, Frank Sinatra enjoys changing lyrics, and though not as much as he does for The Lady is a Tramp, he does it for New York, New York. (Source: The Frank Sinatra)
Who is Frank Sinatra?
Frank Sinatra rose to prominence as a big band singer and actor. He had a dazzling array of hit songs and albums in the 1940s and 1950s and went on to appear in dozens of films, winning an Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity. He died on May 14, 1998, in Los Angeles, California, leaving behind a massive catalog of work that includes iconic songs such as Love and Marriage, Strangers in the Night, My Way, and New York, New York.
Francis Albert Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, on December 12, 1915. Sinatra, the only child of Sicilian immigrants, decided to become a singer as a teenager after seeing Bing Crosby perform in the mid-1930s.
He’d already been a member of his high school’s glee club and had begun singing in local nightclubs. Sinatra’s radio exposure drew the attention of bandleader Harry James, with whom he made his first recordings, including All or Nothing at All, in 1940. Tommy Dorsey invited Sinatra to join his band in 1940. Sinatra decided to go solo after two years of chart-topping success with Dorsey. (Source: The Frank Sinatra)
Image from NewYorkTheater