There are 8 million stories in New York City, so not surprisingly, there are nearly as many songs. Over the years, countless rockers, rappers, crooners, Broadway belters, and noisemakers of all shapes and colors have found inspiration in the five boroughs. The city represents rebirth and possibility but also heartbreak and desperation. It’s a land where high-rises overlook projects and bankers and breakdancers bitch about the same subway delays. There’s no shortage of things to write about, and what follows are our picks for 15 of the best songs born on these streets.
There’s a reason this swanky tune about a small-town striver with big-city dreams never goes out of fashion. It’s NYC to a T—a champagne-fizzy success fantasy that only a Jersey native like Frank can truly understand. “It’s up to you,” Sinatra croons, like he’s catching his reflection in a storefront window en route to a meeting that could change his life.
Peak Position: No. 32, Billboard Hot 100
Peak Date: June 14, 1980