Original Soundtrack

New York, New York [Original Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by

Director Martin Scorsese's ambitious and lengthy movie musical New York, New York is a bittersweet love story set in the years after World War II, told against the background of the popular music business. Its tale of meeting, marriage, and breakup between a saxophonist played by Robert De Niro and a singer played by Liza Minnelli, starting on VJ Day and ending some time in the '50s, is mirrored in the development of pop music over the period, as a Tommy Dorsey-like band is heard playing "Opus Number One" early on, and then the heyday of big-band swing gives way to the era of pre-rock/pop singers on the one hand and bebop on the other. Each of the protagonists represents one side of that dichotomy, which may alert a music fan that their romance is ultimately doomed. On this soundtrack album (originally released as a two-LP set), the dominant voices are Minnelli's, naturally, and the saxophone of Georgie Auld, mimed by De Niro onscreen. Musical supervisor Ralph Burns tackles the job of re-creating the big band and traditional pop styles, as Minnelli initially tries to get along musically with her husband, even undertaking a credible jazz vocal, complete with scatting, on "Just You, Just Me." Soon enough, however, they are going their separate ways, as De Niro tries a post-swing big-band sound, singing along with Mary Kay Place on "Blue Moon" (he's flat, but so was Benny Goodman in this kind of number) and Minnelli starts to gravitate toward a Sinatra-style ‘50s pop sound on "The World Goes ‘Round." That song and several others were penned by the Broadway team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, who double as Minnelli's personal songwriters. They are also responsible for the 11-minute pastiche of a ‘50s Hollywood movie musical production number, "Happy Endings," which pairs Minnelli with Broadway star Larry Kert. It appears on the album, although it was cut from the initial release of the film (which still managed to cross the two-and-a-half-hour mark). By the end, De Niro has come up with his cool jazz signature tune, "New York, New York," which Minnelli sings in a manner again reminiscent of Sinatra (or of her mother, Judy Garland). There may already have been a good song called "New York, New York," but this one is also a classic. (Not surprisingly, Sinatra himself revived it for a Top 40 hit in 1980.)

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 1:53 Amazon
2 1:47 Amazon
3 2:13 Amazon
4 1:08 Amazon
5 8:50 Amazon
6 2:17 Amazon
7 1:18 Amazon
8 2:25 Amazon
9 2:08 Amazon
10 3:20 Amazon
11 2:38 Amazon
12 2:29 Amazon
13 1:27 Amazon
14 3:28 Amazon
15 0:44 Amazon
16 11:39 Amazon
17 3:58 Amazon
18 2:49 Amazon
19 2:16 Amazon
20 2:04 Amazon
21 3:59 Amazon
22 3:16
23 1:13 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick