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Top 5 Songs Referencing Broadway -- the Great White Way
Broadway is the pinnacle of success for American theatre in plays and the ever popular musicals. There are a number of pop songs referencing this show biz institution. One song in particular is the quintessential, while others tip their hats too.
There has been many a show tune written about New York City's beloved theater district, Broadway. It still remains a popular tourist attraction, despite the advent of 20th century inventions: radio, films, television, and internet to today's high-tech innovations of online entertainment and 3-D IMAX cinemas. Broadway's glorious history dates back even before the American Revolution.
The New York Evening Telegram newspaper coined the term "The Great White Way" due to the dazzling array of lights coming from all the theater marquees to advertise their shows. Broadway's 40 theaters stem from 42nd Street to 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan. In honor of Broadway here are five songs, all who have charted on Billboard's Hot 100 (singles) and the Billboard 200 (albums), that will make you want to see a Broadway show in your area, watch the television show "Smash," or visit New York City.
Nights on Broadway - Bee Gees (1975)
Known for their exceptional harmonies and falsettos, especially on this song, are the three brothers: Robin, Maurice, and Barry Gibb (Brothers Gibbs or BGs or B.G.s). The chorus of the song clearly references Broadway musicals. Supposedly the song is about a love lost and blaming it on Broadway and that crazy, crazy town (New York City). "Nights on Broadway" brings back memories for me of hearing it on the radio when I was in high school involved in dance and theater. Broadway's Constantine Maroulis ("Rock of Ages" "Jekyll and Hyde") performed this song while as a finalist on Season 4 of "American Idol" during the 1970s disco theme week.
Broadway - The Goo Goo Dolls (1998)
Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett (1967)
R B; artist Wilson Pickett had another big hit prior to this one on the all-genre Billboard pop charts titled "Land of 1000 Dances." "Funky Broadway" would be his second major hit. It's also the first song to feature the stem word "funk" in the title. The song would become the first of its kind in the funk music genre. This is the second song on the list to mention Broadway in its title, though it refers to another locale entirely. Broadway is a state of mind.
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - Genesis (1974)
It's the title track where Genesis band member Peter Gabriel was most passionate about when presenting the entire album in concert. Gabriel later left the band, according to reports, after the album's 1974 tour. This concept album is about a poor Puerto Rican boy from the Bronx named Rael. He decides to go on an adventure into New York City. In the track you will hear an obvious shout out to another famous Broadway song.
On Broadway - The Drifters (1963) and George Benson (1978)
Now we come to the quintessential pop song ever written about Broadway. It's the one also featured in "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" album track by Genesis. The descriptive lyrics speak for themselves, articulating passionately about the aspirations and reality of Broadway. Credit is certainly due to The Drifters for their doo-wop original version. However, George Benson slays it with his exquisite jazz styling's. You can't stop tapping your feet. This song was featured in the Season 2 premiere of "Smash" as a duet between former "American Idol" alums, Jennifer Hudson and Katharine McPhee.