Today’s installment of 350 Jersey Songs harks back to a simpler, more innocent time, when a mention of Atlantic City brought thoughts not of the widespread corruption of “Boardwalk Empre” or the legalized gambling palaces of today, but of a kinder, simpler kind of vacation spot.
Was Atlantic City ever like that? I think it was. Or, at least, that’s the way I remember it, when my family took frequent vacations there when I was a kid, in the ’60s and early ’70s.
Anyway, Dick Haymes’ “On the Boardwalk (of Atlantic City),” with its soft crooning and inviting mentions of rolling chairs and saltwater air, is all about that version of Atlantic City. The song was featured in the 1946 movie “Three Little Girls in Blue,” about three sisters from Red Bank who spend their inheritance on a trip to Atlantic City, where they hope to snare rich husbands. A version by the Charioteers was also a No. 12 hit that year.
The Argentina-born Haymes worked frequently as an actor in the 1940s, and was also one of the most dependable pop hit-makers of the era. One of his claims to fame is having replaced Frank Sinatra in Tommy Dorsey’s band in 1942.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.