I’ve been involved with an office JEOPARDY! game. A recent clue: “A hundred shouting signs shed down their bright fantastic glow” in Claude McKay’s “On” this NYC street. No idea, but because of a question I’d missed earlier, I take a guess, and it’s correct.
Here’s On Broadway by Claude McKay, a rather melancholy piece:
Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.
I wonder if the poem inspired a song a few decades later:
“Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller liked the song but felt that it was not quite right [for the Drifters] and the four held an overnight brainstorming session which culminated in the better-known version of the song, now with a rock-oriented groove and with a more bluesy feel… A young Phil Spector played the distinctive lead guitar solo on The Drifters’ recording.”
LISTEN to On Broadway
The Drifters, #9 pop, #7 soul in 1963
George Benson, #7 pop, #2 soul
“George Benson’s version… from his 1978 album Weekend in L.A…. won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance. The song appeared in the films Big Business and American Beauty, and… was used in the 1979 film All That Jazz in a sequence that featured dancers on stage auditioning for a musical similar to Chicago. George Benson also performed “On Broadway” with Clifford and the Rhythm Rats for the 1994 Muppet album Kermit Unpigged.”