Today TimeOut New York selected Nate King Cole’s “Harlem Blues” number #41 on their list of The 100 best NYC Songs list. As far as we’re concerned, Nate King Coles “Harlem Blues” is numbero uno in our book – especially if they get married in Harlem.
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.
Enjoy this beautiful song: