PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Once Upon a Time in New York City Songwriters Pick Songs that Define "City Livin'"

By Michael Gioia
19 Nov 2013

David Kirshenbaum: "Arthur's Theme" (Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen). There are better songs, and certainly more meaningful ones, but personally, the one that I always associate with New York — and I don't think it's just because I'm a child of the '80s — is the Christopher Cross-Burt Bacharach-Carole Bayer Sager-Peter Allen, Oscar-winning "Arthur's Theme" (aka "Best That You Can Do") from the 1981 romantic comedy with Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Honestly, I'm not sure if the lyrics make all that much sense — nor am I sure how or why it took four people to write it — but for some reason (and despite the fact that the title character is a raging drunk), the opening montage of this movie has always defined New York City to me. Dudley Moore laughing his ass off in a limo cruising through Times Square at night, as a disembodied high-pitched voice sings about how you can't do better than falling in love in this town... Maybe I should be embarrassed, but it doesn't get better than that.