Today in KC’s Music History: “New York, New York” Released

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It’s one of those ironies of life that the writers of the song Kansas City were based in New York, while the composer of New York, New York, grew up in Kansas City.

The native in question is Broadway composer John Kander. The song is showcased in the film of the same name, directed by Martin Scorsese and released on June 21, 1977.

New York, New York was Scorsese’s first film after Taxi Driver. Starring Liza Minelli and Robert De Niro as a singer and saxophonist, it’s considered to be a critical and box office failure.

John Kander (at piano) and lyricist Fred Ebb.

Kander composed the song with his long-term partner, lyricist Fred Ebb. As a theme song from a failed movie, New York, New York might have faded into obscurity had it not been for Frank Sinatra. He included it in his concerts starting in the fall of 1978, and it appeared on the 1980 album Trilogy: Past Present Future.

Since then, the song has become synonymous with all things New York. It may be Kander’s most famous song in a career that has produced a bunch of them.

In addition to their work on New York, New York, Kander and Ebb created such Broadway works as Cabaret, Chicago, Woman of the Year and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Kander also has had a significant career composing for television and film, including Kramer vs. Kramer and Places in the Heart.


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