So many great New York City musical moments: Sinatra, the Beatles, Marian Anderson, the Ronettes, Leonard Bernstein, Billie Holiday, Dion and the Belmonts and Duke Ellington…and that’s just scratching the surface.

From the time I was three or four years old, thanks to my mother, I was listening to the radio. First it was what we now call the American Songbook, then it was Doo Wop, the Girl Groups, Rock, Jazz, and Classical. And then there were/are the venues….the Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, the Apollo, Central Park, 55 Bar and on and on.

I, like so many of us, live for good music…and I’m also very interested in the history of music, particularly in New York City.

Post a photo, a piece of music or a story and…please…add a couple of sentences or a paragraph or two that puts your post into an historical New York context. If you want to personalize a story, go ahead. Everyone loves a universal story…it may be your story, your parents, your grandparents, a friend or an old family acquaintance. So join me here at The Musical History of New York City.


I saw WWII through the eyes and ears of my mother and father’s generation. The images…the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the soldier and nurse in Times Square…and my parents’ stories and music—In the Mood and Moonlight Serenade on the jukebox of Popp’s Ice Cream Parlor in Woodhaven Queens. The music, images and stories painted a vivid picture of their experiences.

That was very different from the way I viewed my generation’s war. The images were far from uplifting–the young girl running and covered with napalm, the police captain putting a bullet in a young man’s head and body bags arriving at airports are the symbols I remember. And the songs that Americans connected to the images were decidedly “anti-war.” Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” The Doors, “Unknown Soldier,” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and many others filled the airwaves. And there were no heroic welcomings– fifteen of my local high school friends died in Vietnam.

The soldiers had their favorite songs too: Aretha Franklin’s, “Chain of Fools” and Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Goin On?” but I believe the most popular song among the fighting forces was a song that tells of the misery of living and working in an urban environment. But within the context of serving in a foreign country, thousands of miles from home, knowing that any moment might be your last, the words, “We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do,” took on an entirely different meaning: CLICK HERE FOR SONG

You can follow my “Musical History of New York City” HERE