0 Love It

100 best NYC songs

Presenting the greatest tunes ever recorded about New York City. Hear them all and watch exclusive performances

For as long as there’s been a New York City, Gotham has inspired odes to its majesty and danger, its punk vitality and all-embracing spirit. Love it or hate it, if you’re a musician living here, sooner or later you’re going to write about it, and songs by such New York icons as Lou Reed, Jay Z and Julian Casablancas are at the core of the city's ineffable allure—they're part of what makes NYC the greatest city in the world. In that spirit that we've assembled our list of the 100 best NYC songs, searching far and wide for well-worn anthems and deserving obscurities alike, with one fundamental rule—a song has to be specifically about some aspect of NYC, be it good, bad or ugly. The result is a fascinating, illuminating and (we’re sure) potentially infuriating tally of the 100 best songs about the city we call home.

Listen to the best NYC songs on Spotify

RECOMMENDED: The New York guide to life

Music

Nos. 100-91: Le Tigre, Tom Waits, XTC and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 90-81: Death Cab for Cutie, Nancy Sinatra, Kid Creole and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 80-71: Paul Simon, the Dictators, the Trammps and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 70-61: Barry Manilow, the Village People, Glenn Miller and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 60-51: Run-DMC, Steely Dan, the Magnetic Fields and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 50-41: Nat King Cole, Bill Withers, Ace Frehley and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 40-31: Ella Fitzgerald, the Avett Brothers, Alice Cooper and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 30-21: Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, Stevie Wonder and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 20-11: Simon & Garfunkel, LL Cool J, Wu-Tang Clan and more

Read more
Music

Nos. 10-1

Read more
Music

Poll: You choose the best NYC songs

Rearrange the top 25 by voting songs up and down.

Read more
Music

Time Out Live

Watch exclusive videos of local legends performing iconic New York songs

Read more

Comments

8 comments
Richie B
Richie B

How about "Spanish Harlem" (Ben E. King or Aretha Franklin's great 70's version), "Going To New York" and "Bright Lights Big City" (Jimmy Reed) and "No Pity In The Naked City" (Jackie Wilson)

Kevin
Kevin

In reference to your top 100 NYC songs it seems to me at least four are missing: 1.) Uptown, by the Chambers Brothers - A funky finger poppin song littered with references to the New York club scene in the 1960's. "If a taxi won't take me I'll catch a train" . Perhaps I missed it but it's got to be on the list if Living for the City is. 2.) American City Suite - Cashman and West. Three songs in one paying homage to New York City old and new 3. ) Lights of Broadway - Bee Gees. Just as god as Stay'n Alive although more to the point just not used in the movie. But the real sin is that you left out "I'll take Manhattan" by Rodgers and Hart. Again, maybe I missed it but if you put in Rapsody in Blue, which was used for the L.A. Olympics, how could you leave R and H out. It was also in the bio movie "Wordds and Music" and is more about NYC that Billy Joel's NY State of Mind. It should have been in the top ten or at least 20, but perhaps I missed it. I really liked some of your other choices and will bone up on some of the more recent entries. Over all it's a great article, with those exceptions. Thank you. Kevin J.

Steve
Steve

I can't for the life of me figure out how you could have left Cashman & Wests' "American City Suite" off this list.