On Broadway (song)

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For other uses, see On Broadway (disambiguation).
"On Broadway"
Drifters On Broadway.jpg
Single by The Drifters
from the album Under the Boardwalk
B-side "Let the Music Play"
Released 1963
Format 7"
Genre Soul
Length 3:05
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
The Drifters singles chronology
"Up on the Roof"
"On Broadway"
"Rat Race"
"On Broadway"
Single by George Benson
from the album Weekend in L.A.
Released 1978 (1978)
Genre Smooth jazz
Label Warner Bros.
Producer(s) Tommy LiPuma
George Benson singles chronology
"The Greatest Love of All"
"On Broadway"
"Lady Blue"

"On Broadway" is a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in collaboration with the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.


Weil and Mann were based at Aldon Music, located at 1950 Broadway, New York City, and the song as written by Mann/Weil was originally recorded by the Cookies (although the Crystals' version beat them to release) and featured an upbeat lyric in which the protagonist is still on her way to Broadway and sings "I got to get there soon, or I'll just die". The song was played as a shuffle.

When Leiber/Stoller let it be known that the Drifters had booked studio time for the following day and were a song short, Mann/Weil forwarded "On Broadway". Leiber and Stoller liked the song but felt that it was not quite right and the four held an overnight brainstorming session which culminated in the better-known version of the song, now with a rock oriented groove and with a more bluesy feel which matched the new lyric in which the singer was now actually on Broadway and having a hard time. A young Phil Spector played the distinctive lead guitar solo on The Drifters' recording.[1] The personnel for the Drifters recording is Joe Newman, Ernie Royal - trumpets; Billy Butler, Bill Suyker, Everette Barksdale - guitars; Russ Savakus - bass; Gary Chester - drums; and Phil Kraus, Nick Rodriguez, Martin Grupp - percussion. The instrumental arrangement was written by noted arranger Gary Sherman.



  1. ^ Mick Brown. Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, p.96
  2. ^ Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, A Piece of the Rock Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 53. 
  4. ^ "Kramer: The Brill Building > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 17, 2015. 

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