Under the Boardwalk

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"Under the Boardwalk"
Single by the Drifters
B-side"I Don't Want to Go On Without You"
ReleasedJune 1964
RecordedMay 21, 1964
StudioAtlantic (New York City)
Songwriter(s)Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick
Producer(s)Bert Berns
The Drifters singles chronology
"One Way Love"
"Under the Boardwalk"
"I've Got Sand in My Shoes"

"Under the Boardwalk" is a pop song written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick and recorded by the Drifters in 1964. It charted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 22, 1964.[1] The song has since been covered by many other artists, with versions by Bette Midler, Sam & Dave, the Tom Tom Club, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joe Royal, The Beach Boys, Bruce Willis, Bad Boys Blue, John Mellencamp and Lynn Anderson all charting in the United States or overseas. The song ranked number 487 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004 and number 489 in 2010.


The lyric describes a tryst between a man and his beloved in a seaside town, who plan to privately meet "out of the sun" and out of sight from everyone else under a boardwalk. The instrumentation includes güiro, triangle and violins. The song's chorus switches from a major to minor key.[2] The opening line of the song references the Drifters' prior hit "Up on the Roof." Also, the violins are heard playing the riff of "Up on the Roof", before the chorus.


The song was set to be recorded on May 21, 1964, but the band's lead singer, Rudy Lewis, died of a suspected heroin overdose the night before. Lewis had sung lead on most of their hits since the 1960 departure of Ben E. King, including "Up on the Roof". Rather than reschedule the studio session, the lead on "Under the Boardwalk" was given to the group's other lead vocalist, Johnny Moore, who had returned to the group in April 1963. The personnel on that recording included Ernie Hayes on piano, Everett Barksdale, Bill Suyker and Bob Bushnell on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, Gary Chester on drums and George Devens on percussion.[3] The arranger was Teacho Wiltshire.[4] The last-minute move was a success, as the single, released on Atlantic Records, went to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and number one for three non consecutive weeks on Cashbox magazine's R&B chart.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

"Under the Boardwalk"
Single by the Rolling Stones
from the album 12 X 5 (US) and The Rolling Stones No. 2 (UK)
B-side"Walking the Dog"
ReleasedJanuary 1965 (AUS)
GenreRock and roll, rhythm and blues
Songwriter(s)Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"Route 66"
"Under the Boardwalk"
"The Last Time"
"Under the Boardwalk"
Single by Tom Tom Club
from the album Tom Tom Club
Songwriter(s)Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick
Producer(s)Steve Stanley, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz
Tom Tom Club singles chronology
"Genius of Love"
"Under the Boardwalk"
"The Man with the Four Way Hips"
"Under the Boardwalk"
Single by Bruce Willis
from the album The Return of Bruno
ReleasedMay 1987
Songwriter(s)Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick
Producer(s)Robert Kraft
Bruce Willis singles chronology
"Respect Yourself"
"Under the Boardwalk"
"Secret Agent Man"
"Under the Boardwalk"
Single by Lynn Anderson
from the album What She Does Best
B-side"Turn the Page"
ReleasedJuly 1988 (1988-07)
Songwriter(s)Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick
Producer(s)Michael Clark, Jerry Kennedy, Nelson Larkin
Lynn Anderson singles chronology
"Read Between the Lines"
"Under the Boardwalk"
"What He Does Best"

A cover of this song by the Rolling Stones was released the same year as the original version. Their version was released as a single only in Australia, South Africa and Rhodesia, and peaked at No. 1 in the first two (the song was the band's first No. 1 hit in Australia) and at No. 2 in Rhodesia. It appeared on their albums 12 X 5 and The Rolling Stones No. 2. In 2007, it was included on the album Rhythms del Mundo Classics.

In 1966, Los Apson released a Spanish-language version titled "Fue en un Café", which was a hit in Latin America, reaching the top 5 in Mexico.[7][8][9][10]

"Under the Boardwalk" has since been covered by many artists, including Bette Midler (number 26 in Australia), and the Tom Tom Club (whose version reached number 22 on the UK Singles Chart in 1982, becoming the first version of the song to chart in Britain). Versions by Billy Joe Royal, Bruce Willis (a number 2 success in the UK), and Lynn Anderson (number 24 on the Country chart) all reached the Billboard charts.

John Mellencamp released the track as the B-side of his single "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.". In Australia, the single effectively became a double-A side when the B-side "Under the Boardwalk" received significant airplay and both tracks were listed together on the singles chart, reaching number 18.[11] The track also reached number 19 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.

In 2022, after a raid on his house by police that was captured on security cameras, Afroman released a parody version of the song called "Lemon Pound Cake," mocking the police for their attention to a cake on the kitchen counter during the raid.

In pop culture[edit]

In 2001, children’s music artist Bill Harley parodied the song as “Down in the Backpacks” for his 2001 preschool music album of the same name and this track was frequently played on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live radio station.

Chart history[edit]

Rolling Stones cover

Chart (1965) Peak
Australia 1
South Africa 1
Rhodesia 2

Billy Joe Royal cover

Chart (1978) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 82

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1964-08-22/
  2. ^ Allmusic entry by Richie Unterberger
  3. ^ Gammond, Peter (1991). The Oxford Companion to Popular Music. Oxford University Press, New York. p. 165.
  4. ^ Peter Grendysa and Robert Pruter, Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974 booklet notes (CD edition), Atlantic Records, 1991
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 173.
  6. ^ "What She Does Best: Lynn Anderson: Songs, Reviews, Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Mexico", Cash Box. August 27, 1966. p. 77. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Martinez, Armando. "Mexico Single Hit Parade", Record World. August 5, 1967. p. 43. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Ruiz, Ivhan A. "Nicaragua Single Hit Parade", Record World. March 9, 1968. p. 39. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "Hits of the World", Billboard. August 26, 1967. p. 57. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "Forum - 1964 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1964-08-11. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  14. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search lever". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  15. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 9/05/64". Tropicalglen.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1964/Top 100 Songs of 1964". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1964". Archived from the original on June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Under the Boardwalk". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  20. ^ "Bette Midler – Under the Boardwalk". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 7, 2018.