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Who was the original singer of the song, New York, New York?

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Do you think you know who was the original singer of the song New York, New York? This iconic anthem is one of the most popular songs ever written about the Big Apple. Take a look at the possible options below and take a guess. The answer might surprise you!

New York, New York

a) Frank Sinatra

b) Liza Minelli

c) John Kander

d) Dean Martin


(Scroll down for the answer…)











The answer is b). Liza Minnelli was the original singer of New York, New York.

A lot of people assume New York, New York was originally sung by Frank Sinatra because his version became so popular. In fact, his version of this song would go on to become Sinatra’s fifth most popular single of all time, according to record sales. He recorded the song in 1979 for his album, Trilogy: Past, Present, Future.

The correct answer, however, is Liza Minnelli. She was the original singer of New York, New York. Minelli recorded the song as the theme for Martin Scorcese’s film, New York, New York in 1977, two years prior to Sinatra’s recording. New York, New York was written specifically for Minelli and composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Sinatra and Minelli performed the song live as a duet many times. Sinatra also recorded New York, New York a second time for his 1993 album Duets, with Tony Bennett.

An Anthem for New York City

Many songs have been written about New York City. Theme from New York, New York, though, has become almost synonymous with the city. It represents the grit and ambition of New York residents with its line, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” The song also coined the well-known nickname for New York as “The City that Never Sleeps.”

The anthem has been featured in multiple films, such as My Funny Valentine (1983), Madagascar (2005), and Gone Girl (2014). The song has also played in numerous TV shows like The Simpsons (1997) and The Sopranos (2001).

Other famous singers who have performed New York, New York include Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Adams, and Michael Bublé. Jay-Z references the theme song in his duet with Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind, when he says, “I’m the new Sinatra, And since I made it here, I can make it anywhere.”

If you enjoyed learning about the Theme from New York, New York, then test your knowledge with additional travel trivia questions now!

Who was the original singer of the song, New York, New York?

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Do you have a favorite song about New York City? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. If Sinatra sang New York, New York in 1959, it wasn’t this song, but the song of the same name from the Broadway Show “On the Town”. In fact, he did sing that song in the movie version of the show, along with Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin. But it was in 1949, not 1959. The song this article describes was indeed written for Liza Minelli to sing in the movie of the same name. Which she did, two years before Sinatra. Beautifully, I might add.

  2. My favorite NY song is New York State of Mind by Billy Joel. Lived in Manhattan in early 80’s.

  3. Cheryl Barnard says

    I read somewhere that Sinatra asked Minelli for permission to sing New York New York.

  4. Stuart Devlin says

    Frank Sinatra sang New York New York in 1957 which makes Frank Sinatra is the original singer of New York New York.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Wrong. Sinatra didn’t record his version of New York New York until 1979.

      • Lawrence Cushing says

        Didn’t Tony Bennett have an interest in the song New York New York? I heard he was paid off and or bullied to turn over any interest he had in the song. That Frank Sinatra wanted that song desperately, and offered a serious amount of money for the rights? What say you?

    • David Ingram says

      There is a song called “Lonely Town” from the movie “on the town”….it’s first words are “ New York New York or a village and Iowa, The only difference is the name.” Sinatra sang it in 1957. But this thread is concerning the theme from New York New York and Liza Minnelli sang it first it wasn’t even written until the 1970s.

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