"Harlem Blues" by Nat King Cole (VIDEO)

Listen to "Harlem Blues" by Nat King Cole, No. 41 on our list of the 100 best NYC songs.

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41. Nat King Cole, "Harlem Blues" (1958)

Leave it to this urbane crooner to make a lovelorn lament sound like a sepia-tinted tour through old Harlem. There's a breezy postcard quality to Cole's nostalgic urban sketch—"Since my sweetie left me, Harlem ain't the same old place/Though a thousand flappers smile right in my face"—more emblematic of hoary clichs about '20s uptown life than of how anyone actually lived. But that's part of the point: Nelson Riddle's swaggering arrangement is a reminder that over the years, romantic notions of NYC have come to feel as vivid as the place itself.


Harlem Blues - Ultra-Lounge: Big Apple Martini!


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