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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Manhattan

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1925

With its very witty lyric, "Manhattan" (not "I'll Take Manhattan") was written for the parody stage revue Garrick Gaieties--the first collaboration of Rodgers & Hart (in fact, this was the first hit song for the famous duo). In the show, the tune was introduced by Sterling Holloway, best known today as the voice of Winnie-the-Pooh. Although the song was typically recorded in abbreviated form, below are the full extended lyrics from the original production.

Lyrics:

Summer journeys to Niag'ra
And to other places aggravate all our cares.
We'll save our fares.
I've a cozy little flat in
What is known as old Manhattan.
We'll settle down,
Right here in town.

We'll have Manhattan,
The Bronx and Staten Island, too.
It's lovely going through the zoo.

It's very fancy
On old Delancey Street, you know.
The subway charms us so,
When balmy breezes blow,
To and fro.

And tell me what street
Compares with Mott Street in July,
Sweet pushcarts gently gliding by?

The great big city's a wondrous toy
Just made for a girl and boy --
We'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

We'll go to Greenwich,
Where modern men itch to be free,
And bowling green you'll see with me.

We'll bathe at Brighton,
The fish you'll frighten when you're in.
Your bathing suit so thin
Will make the shellfish grin,
Fin to fin.

I'd like to take a
Sail on Jamaica Bay with you,
And fair Canarsie's lakes we'll view.

The city's bustle cannot destroy
The dreams of a girl and boy --
We'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

We'll go to Yonkers,
Where true love conquers in the wilds,
And starve together, dear, in Childs'.

We'll go to Coney,
And eat bologny on a roll.
In central park we'll stroll,
Where our first kiss we stole,
Soul to soul.

And South Pacific
Is a terrific show, they say.
We both may see it close some day.

The city's clamor can never spoil
The dreams of a boy and goil --
We'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

We'll have Manhattan,
The Bronx and Staten Island too.
We'll try to cross Fifth Avenue.

As black as onyx
We'll find the Bronix Park Express.
Our Flatbush flat, I guess,
Will be a great success,
More or less.

A short vacation
On Inspiration Point we'll spend,
And in the station house we'll end.

But civic virtue cannot destroy
The dreams of a girl and boy --
We'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy!

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Bobby Short
The Supremes
Blossom Dearie
Tony Bennett

2 comments:

Pierre Fournier said...

Dinah Washington does a great Manhattan.

B-Sol said...

Ah yes, forgot about that one. Her voice is so perfect for it.

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