Theme from New York, New York (3:26)

Cover of Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years

From Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years and 24 other releases

“Theme from New York, New York” (or “New York, New York”) is the theme song from the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York (1977), composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb. It was written for and performed in the film by Liza Minnelli.

In 1980, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra, for his album Trilogy: Past Present Future (1980), and has since become closely associated with him. He occasionally performed it live with Minnelli as a duet. Sinatra recorded it a second time in duet with Tony Bennett for his 1993 album Duets.

It should not be confused with the song “New York, New York”, from Leonard Bernstein/Adolph Green/Betty Comden’s musical On the Town, which features the lyric “New York, New York, is a helluva town / The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down…”

Composers Kander and Ebb stated on the A&E Biography episode about Liza Minnelli that they attribute the song’s success to actor Robert De Niro, who rejected their original theme for the film because he thought it was “too weak.”

The song did not become a popular hit until it was picked up in concert by Frank Sinatra during his performances at Radio City Music Hall in October 1978. Subsequently, Sinatra recorded it in 1979 for his 1980 Trilogy set (Reprise Records), and it became one of his signature songs. The single peaked at #30 in June 1980, becoming one of his final hits on the charts. Sinatra made two more studio recordings of the song in 1981 (for his NBC TV special The Man and His Music) and 1993 (for Capitol Records). From the latter, an electronic duet with Tony Bennett was produced for Sinatra’s Duets album.

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