Monday, November 19, 2012

Story Songs: On Broadway

I must admit that I love songs that inspire, and one of my favorites is "On Broadway."

Wikepedia provides excellent background on the song written by Barrry Mann and Cynthia Weil, in colloboration from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller -- two of the great songwriting teams in pop music history.
The tune was first made popular by The Drifters, one of the legendary groups of the 1960s, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard chart in 1963. George Benson, a great jazz guitarist and vocalist, did even better, taking it to No. 7 in 1978.

For me, the song is about determination and refusing to give up, despite the odds:

"They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway (on Broadway)
They say there's always magic in the air (on Broadway)
But when you're walkin' down that street
And you ain't had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off and you're nowhere (on Broadway)"
But the singer has a strong resolve to make a name for himself despite what others are telling him:
"Ha! They say that I won't last too long on Broadway (on Broadway)
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home, they all say (on Broadway)
But oh! They're dead wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can play this here guitar
And I won't quit till I'm a star on Broadway (on Broadway)"
I think the message in the song is believe in yourself and not to get discouraged by detractors. And sometimes we can find our worst detractor simply by looking in the mirror.
And as the song proclaims, you can succeed with a positive attitude:
"I'm gonna make it, yeah (on Broadway)
I'll be a big, big, big man (on Broadway)
I'll have my name in lights (on Broadway)
Everybody, everybody's gonna know me, yes (on Broadway)"
"On Broadway" lyrics


  1. This one has a personal meaning to me. My brother was a musician forever searching so many years ago for his own identity. He did take that Greyhound bus back home and never got his life together again. He died too young. Bittersweet memories for me, but loved both of the most popular versions.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I guess the thing I like is shooting for your dreams. Most of the time we don't hit the stars, but what's important is that one tried. I would rather try to do something and fail than wonder "what if?"

  2. oh my! I love that song! is one of my favourites!!! I agree with you Michael we most at least try :D hope you have a happy week :) xoxo

  3. I hope you have a happy week as well, Elizabeth.