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Saturday, 16 April 2005

Manhattan Tower Album Cover

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Manhattan Tower Album Cover

[Released 1945] When I was, until a few years ago, a music file-sharing slut, I stumbled across a song from this album that in an instant, slammed me back to age five or six listening to it on my parents’ 78rpm phonograph.

I tracked down the original on eBay and eventually found a CD version too. I had not heard it nor thought of it since childhood, but I still know every lyric by heart. I am convinced now it is this album that began my love affair with New York City for I cannot remember not wanting to live here.

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COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS WEBSITE
av_producer @ 2003-10-04 said:
Great cover art work/illustration. What was the song? What are the lyrics?

ronni @ 2003-10-04 said:
It’s a story album, av, in four parts with narration and songs: Magical City, Love in a Tower, The Party, and New York’s My Home.

The lyrics are a bit saccharine here and there, but I love it anyway. Here’s an edited version of the opening narration - imagine lush string orchestra and chorus in the background:

“It was raining the first time I saw my tower. That is, the first time I saw it reality. In my mind I had seen it many times before.

“The outside of the building was as beautiful as the outside of anything can be, but the inside was pure enchantment. The elevator operator was Merlin. My feet touched the magic carpet as I ran down the hall and the key that I turned in the lock was Aladdin’s lamp.

“As I entered the tower for the first time I knew that at last I had found contentment. A home that I would leave many times, yet never really leave.

“I went over to the window. The sound of traffic on a New York Street creates a strange music. It is an orchestra conducted by the Statue of Liberty with the words engraved forever on her side. It is a great organ played upon by Father Knickerbocker, master organist.

“I opened my tower windows wide to let the music in. Uptown. Downtown. Chinatown. Harlem. Broadway. Times Square. Broadway. Broadway. Broadway.”

pellegrini @ 2003-10-04 said:
Impressive: Cover and text!

virgorama @ 2003-10-04 said:
I feel pretty much the same about London

lifehouse @ 2003-10-04 said:
Nice one, loved the text.

zinetv @ 2003-10-04 said:
I never knew this music existed but the graphics seem similar to the 50’s graphics for Bells Are Ringing, On the Town , Wonderful Town, etc. Having grown up in Brooklyn, Manhattan was always called The City. One never made the mistake of thinking that Brooklyn had anything to do with The City. Brooklyn was a borough, not really attached, except for some loose legal definition.

jungalero @ 2003-10-05 said:
Hey - I have a copy of that album, but it’s a later version of it on Capitol and it’s called "The Complete Manhattan Tower". I picked it up cheap because I liked the sky shot on the cover. I just pulled it out to give it another listen because of you. :-)

av_producer @ 2003-10-05 07:17 said:
Zinetv is right. Brooklyn is not the city, never will be. Outer boroughs will always be outer boroughs to those of us native to Manhattan.

kelly @ 2003-10-05 said:
Thanks for this. My recent "works in progress" reading was all about love and longing for New York. How wonderful for you to find this piece of music after so many years, and to see how it is the beginning of the thread in your tapestry called New York.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 03:22 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

My New York born husband bought that album back in the day. We may still have it; I'm going to look for it and play it for the first time in many years. Thanks for the prod.

Great piece, Ronni. I had to grab my LP because I knew that its cover didn't look like yours. The sketch that you have posted is on the back of my LP's sleeve. The front bears a photo of a formally attired couple at a railing, gazing across at the Chrysler building, as the last rays of sunlight suffuce the upper stories of the buildings, and the couple, with a coppery glow 'neath black scud.

I recall listening to "Manhattan Tower" (and loving it) while in college; but, I didn't get the LP until Thanksgiving 1974. I love a couple of phrases that you chose to omit. About first sighting the tower, "My heart beat faster than the raindrops as I looked up and saw it painted against the sky." And, later, "Inevitably, sadness found its way into my tower in Manhattan...the sadness born of the thoughts of leaving. No lovers taking separate paths ever experienced more regret than I, as I looked for the last time at my adopted city."

Enjoy your Manhattan living for the both of us. You're experiencing what my life never included. Good for you!!

I too have the album, recently acquired from a collector in Scotland. It is LP vinyl, mono version in almost virgin condition. I first heard it while stationed in NYC in 1957. I never could get it out of my mind for almost 50 years. Then the WTC incident happened and I knew I had to find it again. It an entire NYC experience in about 45 minutes from Composer Gordon Jenkins. Superb Americana

Ah, children develop such deep relationships with music don't they. For me it would be the album of West Side Story which my older sister bought when I was about 10. I found myself totally taken up with it and played it over and over. To this day, it electrifies me.

How I'd love to be able to listen to that!

I listened to this album tonight for the very first time, at the insitence of a friend, who had the LP from "way back when." I never knew about Gordon Jenkins, and I thought the music and lyrics were really interesting, if not somewhat dated. And the fact that John McIntyre (from the TV westerns) was on it made it even that much more interesting. I went online to see what I could find about Jenkins, and that's why I ran across this site. Great stuff!

MANHATTAN TOWER and the female vocalist whose name I've forgotten kept me from going crazy during intensely lonely years in Prep School 1958-1960. Just located and bought sealed virgin LP.

I recall listening to "Manhattan Tower" in 1956. A birthday gift a 33/1/3 LP
LOOKING FOR A CD NEED HELP

Where did you find the CD? I want to get it, but can't find it anywhere. Can someone please let me know how to get it?

Yes, if you know where to find a CD of Manhattan Tower it would be wonderful. I was Just listening to Rachmananoff and reading Thomas Wolf "Can't Go Home Again" all of which transported my thoughts to "M.T" completely. Then I Googled and found this sight.
Thanks, Bill W.

Geesh! I remember listening to my sister's copy of M T until I could sing it backwards. Hers was on four 45s and the haunting chorale taught me every word to Emma Lazarus' Colossus. I'd love to find it on CD since I long ago sold my turntable. I'll check back to see if any info is posted for the CD, and if I'm fortunate enough to find one, I'll post availability in this thread.

Quick update: I found a few different copies of Manhattan in eBay so I just bought one. The seller is going to burn it to CD then send both record/CD to me. I don't know how the quality will be (seller says "excellent"), but I'll be happy to post an update when I play the CD.

In the Chicagoland area, we air 'Manhattan Tower' each year over the 'Music of the Stars' on the Sunday closest to 9/11, which was last Sunday. On that day we aired the complete, expanded Elliot Lewis/Beverly Mahr/Ralph Brewster Singers version, which runs nearly an hour in length. And today we aired the Robert Goulet version, which is abbreviated but adds "The Man Who Loves Manhattan". Gordon Jenkins is definitely The Master.

An enlightened choir director let us perform this back in the 1970's and I was lucky enough to be the narrator of the story. I've been searching for a CD version of The Complete Manhattan Tower for years. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

The original 1945 version of Manhattan Tower (there are later versions, re-recorded with different singers and added songs) can be found on a CD title "New York, New York". It may be available elsewhere, but I know it had be found here at Amazon.

My sister and I listened and danced to the original 78 rpm version in the late 40s and early 50s. From time to time we talk about Noah the waiter and Merlin the elevator operator. Having left NY in '57, "Manhattan Tower" remains in my memory as an anthem to mankind's greatest achievements and greatest city. My sincere compliments to all of you for these wonderful recollections and this terrific site.

Gorden Jenkins had one of many full blown orchestras I recall with fond nostalgic memories. Many of these orchestras, albums, themes, music, cast a spell for me. As I read Ronni and these comments, I recall '56 was the year I decided to not throw everything to the wind and come to New York to pursue my dreams. Wonder what I missed?

Incidentally, have searched far and wide for a Nat King Cole vocal "Sea Breeze" if anyone knows where it might be located.

where is Noah now?

I got to Ronni's site today for the first time, while looking up "Manhattan Tower" and Gordon Jenkins. I grew up in Larchmont, NY and studied dance with Steffi Nossen. We once danced to her choreography of "MT" and it recently came back to my mind (I'm 75). I'd like to find the album on CD & also wonder if there are any other Steffi Nossen grads out there.
P.S. I live in St. Louis now, once the home of Gordon Jenkins. Little did I know...

I listened to MT as a babysitter in high school, 1955 and memorized all the lyrics and melodies. Being in Michigan, I yearned to go to NYC or CA or Europe, to see the world-and have, as I look back at the teenager who was captivated by the cheer and optimism and sentimentality of Manhhattan Tower. Gordon Jenkins' Seven Dreams, too is worth the trip. Thanks for sharing. Happy Memories.

I am desperately looking for a CD of Seven Dreams for my aunt who is very ill. Her copy is badly scratched and she is in retirement home where turntables don't exist. Can anyone help me find it? Is Manhatten Tower available also on CD? Thanks so much.

I still didn't succeed in finding a good cd copy of MT nor CMT.
I came across MT for the first time on a Dutch re-issue of the Capitol T series.
I bought it in the seventies and I still play the album from time to time, it is great.
Being a real Sinatra fan of course I knew about Gordon Jenkins and I really love the sound of his orchestra.
When you like MT, I could also recommend the triple album (also on double cd) Trilogy by Frank Sinatra (1980).
Jenkins wrote the complete third album "The Future" much in the style of MT. It is absolutely great stuff.

For a long time I too have been searching for "Manhattan Towers", preferably on CD or cassettes. Enjoyed all the commentary. Hope someone who make out will share their finding with me via my e-mail address. John

I loved that album
The party segment music was my theme
for my HOUSE PARTY program in the 50s
on CKDA Victoria.

Would live to hear it again

I loved MT back then and wish I had it now. The best part is that it inspired Mel Torme to write the California Suite, (1946) which is every bit as good, in my opinion. It has lush melodies like the San Fernando Valley theme and "Poor Little Extra Girl". I am listening to a 1960s Sammy Davis version as I write this. Two masterpieces that should never have been allowed to drift away.

The original (4-sided Decca 78s) version of Manhattan Tower has just been issued (along with Gor's "Seven Dreams," "California," and several other Jenkins tracks from the '40s and '50s) by Jasmine Records (www.hasmick.co.uk) as a 2-CD set, "Gordon Jenkins: A Musical Prodigy." I got my copy from www.cduniverse.com . Word on the street has it that the complete (2-sided Capitol LP) version of Manhattan Tower will be out early next year; I'll plan to let you all know when it happens.

I had an original MT in 1947and when one of the singers on that recording came into my bar in Las Vegas in the 7o's I couldn't believe it. I told him I had the recording and he said he couldn't find one. The amazng thing is, he quit singing and became a very popular tv host and for the life of me I can't remember his name. Help!

One of the first Long Playing discs my late brother Donald bought was Manhattan Tower, circa 1956.
I still have the vinyl LP. Here in Australia the work was released on the Brunswick label: "Long Playing Microgrove Unbreakable Record." Made by EMI Australia, Limited. LATA8004. The cast is listed as Elliot Lewis (Narrator); Beverly Mahr (Soloist) with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra & Chorus. I don't think it's the expanded version mentioned previously; it certainly doesn't run "nearly an hour" in length.
I always associated the tower with the Empire State Building, which I loved gazing upon, late night after late night, when I stayed seven weeks in Manhattan in 1979.
The Australian release cover is nothing like those previously noted. It has vertical bands of colour -- brown, yellow and white -- with an abstract design depicting black grooves on an elogated disc, with a swirl of grooves spiralling off the the disc to a vanishing point near the top of the cover.
California (The Golden State) is on the B side; Lee Sweetland, Betty Brewer and Art Gentry, soloists.
I played the LP this morning, albeit a little worn over the years, but it still comes up well on my high quality sound system. I realise that it was through MT that I first became aware of the words a the base of the Statue of Liberty. It certainly evoked beautiful memories of my beloved older brother.

Readers might be interested in my website silverscreensundays.com where great films of the past are given a new airing on the big screen. A rarity here in Australia.

Good news, everyone: the COMPLETE Manhattan Tower is finally available on CD (thanks to Sepia Records in England www.sepiarecords.com ) and available at Amazon, CDNow, Barnes&Noble, practically everywhere you buy CDs. Here's the cheapest place I've found it at so far: http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/7364795/a/Complete+Manhattan+Tower.htm

ENJOY!

Well, that last link didn't work, so just go to CDuniverse and look it up...or Amazon or wherever. Sorry!

By the way, Margie, are you thinking of Elliott Lewis? Bill Lee? Or maybe even Ralph Brewster?

I was surfing the Internet looking for my mother's name and came across this string. My mother was Betty Brewer who sang with Gordon Jenkins, Ray Heatherton, and Tommy Dorsey. I'm glad to hear that someone is still listening to her music. It means a lot to me. :-)

An English firm by the name of Sepia Records http://www.sepiarecords.com/
is reissuing many of the golden oldies from both countries. On March 7th of this year, they released the complete Manhattan Tower on CD. Catalog Number 1087 ($18.35 U.S. with free shipping). If you do some Google searches, you will find this new cd for a little over $10.00 here in the U.S.A. Good shopping!

You can hear an edited version of Manhattan Tower on YouTube but it lets you down as it doesn't go far enough. No "We had a wonderful waiter named Noah"
etc, but skips to the end: on the train leaving the tower. Better than nothing tho!

I stumbled across this wonderful blog in my relentless search for something no one has mentioned. Namely a possible copy of the 1956 television production that was part of the series called "Saturday Spectaculars." I have scoured the internet and although it 'appears' there is a video out there 'somewhere' based upon what the IMDb website indicates, I have not been able to find it.

For those of you who care enough about the particulars -- the lovely, wonderful voice of Julie on the 'official' Complete Manhattan Tower is none other than Gordon Jenkin's wife, Beverly Mahar. As for the singer that Betty mentioned who went on to become a Game Show Host, she must be referring to Peter Lind Hayes, who ironically only performed it once on the very same 1956 TV production of which I am seeking the video. In that version, it was Helen O'Connell, I believe, who sang Julie, and the TV cast had a host of golden era luminaries including such as Hans Conried.

Anyway, if anyone cares, I first became acquainted with MT and immediately fell in love (albeit considered 'corney' by some of my DePaul University fellow music majors) because of a late night Chicago DJ who used to play it on a regular basis.

Due to that love, I scoured 'collector' record stores in ChiTown and found a factory sealed LP of the complete MT that I still own in 'like new' condition (thanks to the advent of cassettes at the right time, I only played the album once or twice just to make tapes that I duplicated and wore out as they stretched with time.)

I have since then, not too long ago discovered that same 'official' complete version remastered beautifully on CD, and pretty much available everywhere online.

If anyone would like to respond personally to my comments in addition to blogging (which I will be checking) they can feel free to use my generic 'daddyrob1@hotmail' address that I check on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the reason I stumbled across this great spot is because I am still on my endless quest for two MT things:
1. Any sort of video version of the 1956 "Saturday Spectacular: Manhattan Tower" and
2. The sheet music to the musical selections from MT (which I know exist because I stumbled across them on Google the other night and then lost the link.)

Meanwhile, "Repeat after me, it's nice to talk with you..."

Now, I since it's 2:30 a.m. as I write this, I think I'll go put on MT to lull me to rest.

Rob Keesee

Hi, It's Rob Keesee again.

Even though I realize I already went on too long with my previous post, as a postscript, I wanted to add that I just went back and took a second look at the album cover that mastheads this blog. In doing so I realized not only by its rectangular (wider than tall) shape, plus the apparent brown/orange binding margin on the left, that the reason for the huge difference in the cover is that it must be from the original 78 rpm version. Wish the graphic was clearer because to an MT fanatic like me that would be something to capture and frame for the wall of my Music Room!


Well...it's been a year since the last entry here, so allow me to keep the flickering flame alive for another few months... maybe.

Born in 1948, and having grown up in the 50s, some of the music from MT was always somehow "familiar," but the first time I can remember hearing the whole score intact was on Jay Roberts' overnight radio show "Night Flight" on WJR in Detroit...probably in the early-to-mid-60s.

It was saccharine, corny and Pollyanna-ish to me then (as a teenager who was jazz-hip), yet there was something so innocent, so fresh...and idealistic...about the production that it just grabbed ahold of me...and, as it turned out, "Never (Left) Me."

Just by happenstance
a few years ago I stumbled across a decent vinyl copy of the "newly recorded in HIGH FIDELITY" complete "Manhattan Tower" (Capitol DT 766) in a used record store. I hadn't thought about this music in probably 40 years :-)

But, on first (re)play, I found that it still had that unmistakable charm factor and innocence I remembered.

I hope you all get a chance to relive your own Manhattan Tower memories.


I grew up in Jasper AL, Walker County, which was considered second only to Harlan County, KY, as the 2nd meanest county in the country. Their most popular "cultural" activity was wrestling matches on Saturday evenings. The only acceptable way for a male to be in music was in my high school band. The first time I heard MT played on our fairly new radio station, my longing to see something outside of Alabama only deepened. Before my freshman year in high school started, I was fortunate to be one of three new freshman making the trip to DC, NYC and one day in Philly to march in the 1949 American Legion Convention Parade. Our last night was in Radio City Music Hall, where I saw my first live stage show. The music and words of MT kept coming back, more strongly than ever while there. The depressing train ride back was filled with thoughts of what I had to be leaving and returning to where I had come from. After moving to Chicago, I found an LP recording that I finally stopped playing because of how worn out it was. I was back in NYC in 1960, after playing in the 76th Army Band in Orleans, France. I had forgotten about it, until after moving to Tuscaloosa, AL in 1997 and was somehow reminded of it again. I was fortunate in finding a quality LP, of which I made a CD. I try to get back a couple of times a year, hoping to see at least 2 -3 Bway shows each time. I'm now in the process of collecting all the appropriate pictures, both moving and still, so I can come up with a good photographic backdrop to show while it's being played. I'd also be glad to pay for copies of any LP cover to frame. NYC is my favorite city and I'm sure that those of you who grew up there are very grateful for being able to do so.

I grew up in Manhattan in the 1940's. Lived on 88th & East End Avenue. My dad and grandmother lived in The Village, and I knew the city well, even at 11 when I left. My charming uncle would stay with us from time to time. He loved his music and brought it with him. He was crazy about Manhattan Tower. I remember, it was a very popular and innovative production. Recently, I thought of the album. It was special. Decided to search on the net. I am so glad to see the comments by so many. Now, with all the family gone that I grew up with, I feel NYC is my mama. I visit NYC, and I feel the energy serge through me and charge my battery. This album musically characterizes my great city ;-)

Upon posting my last comment, I read some of the other comments. I thought I would add to my info.I was born in Manhattan in 1942 and lived on 88th & East End Avenue, right across the street from Gracie Mansion, the mayor's residence. My uncle worked in the Tommy Dorsey Band, and loved Sinatra. He would visit us and bring his music, which of course included lots of Sinatra, and Manhattan Tower by Gordon Jenkins. My entire family loved music, but my uncles music was special to me. Manhattan Tower was a favorite of his and I loved it. Thought of it recently and did a search, and here I am. So glad to see the music still has a life of its own.
I loved the city. My father worked for Raymond Loewy, the famous industrial designer, whose offices were in the Lever Brother Building - the newest modern building. The HOT TV show Mad Men somewhat represents the slick NYC genre of that time.
Growing up in NYC is special.
Manhattan Tower reflects the pride in the city ;-)

Just bought the 2007 "Complete Manhattan Tower" by Sepia Records & want to returnn it since I thought I was buying the original recording! It has some of the originals songs but a lot of unwanted stuff that ruin it for me! Guess it's hopeless to find the original on CD & may have to get the vinyl! Lynne Crane

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