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When Songwriters Leave Their Heart in a City, San Francisco or Any Other


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Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.

Lots of people have a favorite city. Maybe it is the city where they were born, or the place of their happiest memories. Or maybe it is just a place they would like to call home. Today, we present some songs about favorite American cities. Your travel guides are Shirley Griffith and Rich Kleinfeldt.

(MUSIC: "New York, New York")

New York. New York. More songs have been written about America's biggest city than about any other city. More than eight million people live in New York. Many others dream about leaving their small towns to go there. They want to become rich and famous. Frank Sinatra sings about this dream in the most popular song written about New York.

(MUSIC: "New York, New York")

Almost three million people live in the middle western city of Chicago, Illinois. It is now America's third largest city. It used to be the second largest city. So, of course, it needed its own song.

Judy Garland sings the song, "Chicago, Chicago. "

(MUSIC: "Chicago, Chicago")

Near Chicago is the small industrial city of Gary, Indiana. This city was made famous by a song in a musical play called "The Music Man." The play opened on Broadway in New York in nineteen fifty-seven. In the musical, a young boy sings about his hometown. Here, Eddie Hodges sings "Gary, Indiana."

(MUSIC: "Gary, Indiana")

Right in the middle of America is the city of Kansas City. It is the largest city in the state of Missouri. In the nineteen-sixties, songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote about going to Kansas City. Why? Because they said it was filled with many wonderful women. James Brown sings the song "Kansas City."

(MUSIC: "Kansas City")

Americans love cities near the ocean. One of the most popular is Miami, Florida. Visitors go there all year because the weather is warm. This song about Miami was written in nineteen thirty-five. The Hot Mustard Jazz Band sings "Moon Over Miami."

(MUSIC: "Moon Over Miami")

One of America's most exciting cities is Las Vegas, Nevada. There you can play games of chance all night long. The city's entertainment centers are open all night, too. In nineteen sixty-four, Elvis Presley starred in a movie called "Viva Las Vegas." Here is the song from that movie. It is sung by the group ZZ Top.

(MUSIC: "Viva Las Vegas")

One of the most beautiful cities in America is San Francisco, California. It is between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay in the northern part of the state. The most popular song about the city is called "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Tony Bennett recorded it in nineteen sixty-two. It sold more than three million records.

(MUSIC: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco")

Many people love Los Angeles, California. It is now America's second largest city. More than three million people live there.

Los Angeles is popular because the weather is warm and the sun shines almost all the time. Randy Newman sings about his feelings for the city in the song "I Love L.A."

(MUSIC: "I Love L.A.")

Not everyone, however, loves Los Angeles. Some people do not like all the big roads around the city. They call Los Angeles "a great big freeway." They like living in a smaller place. A place like San Jose, California. Dionne Warwick sings about going back to this city. The song is "Do You Know The Way To San Jose."

(MUSIC: "Do You Know the Way to San Jose")

Today's program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced and directed by Lawan Davis. I'm Rich Kleinfeldt. And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for another report about life in the United States on the VOA Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.


"This Is America" in VOA Special English
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Source: When Songwriters Leave Their Heart in a City, San Francisco or Any Other
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MP3 = http://www.voanews.com/mediaassets/specialenglish/2008_09/Audio/mp3/voa-se-tia-Songs-About-Cities-15sep08.mp3