Home » Blog » New York Rock City

New York Rock City

Tribute In Lights

We couldn’t let September 11th pass without giving a shout out to our beloved hometown, New York City. So today, here’s our top 10 New York City music moments, on video and in no particular order, after the jump. With so much to choose from these are just a few of our favorites — did yours make the list?



Duke Ellington Takes the “A” Train
Recorded in 1941, Duke Ellington’s ode to the MTA and the train to Sugar Hill, Harlem, is still one of the greatest songs of all time.



Bad Brains Comes to New York
Once they found themselves “Banned in D.C.,” hardcore pioneers Bad Brains made their way to New York City, paving the way for bands like Agnositc Front and the Cro-Mags. CBGB may be history, but New York hardcore is still alive and well at the Lower East Side’s ABC No Rio (156 Rivington St.).




Led Zeppelin rocks Madison Square Garden
When the greatest band in the world came to the greatest city in the world for their 1973 tour, musical magic happened. Thankfully, camera crews were on hand to record the concert that became ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ including Jimmy Page’s epic violin bow guitar solo.




Wild Style introduces hip-hop to the world
Just as hip-hop was taking over the streets of New York, 1982’s ‘Wild Style‘ introduced graffiti and acts like Cood Crush Brother, Grand Wizard Theodore, Busy Bee and Fab 5 Freddy to the world, influencing generations of hip-hop artist to come.




Jay-Z hit the scene, hard, with ‘Reasonable Doubt’
It didn’t take long after Jay-Z went solo with his 1996 album ‘Reasonable Doubt’ for him to establish himself as the king of the game. Since then he’s remained at the top for more than a decade as both the self-described and widely accepted greatest MC of all time.



The Ramones go to ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’
The 1979 classic, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School‘ featuring New York’s own punk pioneers The Ramones still makes us want to go back to school only this time we’d be sure to bring our leather jackets.




James Brown records ‘Live at the Apollo’
We don’t have a video from the 1962 performance that became James Brown’s most popular album (this one’s from 1968), but nearly 50 years later Brown’s stint at The Apollo Theater stands the test of time. The Apollo itself remains one of the best places in the city — if not the world — to see music, including its world-famous amateur night. To see it for yourself head to Harlem — 253 W. 125th St. to be exact.



MTV Premieres
Say what you will about the beleaguered video channel today, but when MTV launched live from New York in 1981 (with the Buggles’ ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’) music history was made.



Liza Minnelli records “Theme from ‘New York, New York'”
The theme to Martin Scorsese’s 1977 film ‘New York, New York‘ was written with Miss Minnelli in mind and it shows — the song is still one of her all-time greatest hits, and has the unofficial anthem of the city.



And in 1979, so does Frank Sinatra…


image: The Tribute in Lights by Joseph Hoetzl/Flickr 

Scroll To Top