"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.

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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