No, of course, John Wayne didn’t live in Hoboken. The title character of “John Wayne Lives in Hoboken” refers to Hoboken actor Matty “John Wayne” Russo, who played a longshoreman in the classic movie “On the Waterfront,” and uttered the line the Delevantes quote: “Who do you see to get a day’s pay around here?”
The song also mentions a more famous Hobokenite, Frank Sinatra, and paints an affectionate portrait of both Russo and the Mile Square City itself: “As the street cools down, if the light’s just right/Yeah, it seems like it’s almost magicsome nights.”
Brothers Bob and Mike Delevante, originally from Rutherford, moved to Hoboken, and then Nashville, and released two albums in the ’90s (Long About That Time and Postcards From Along the Way). “John Wayne Lives in Hoboken” was onthe latter, which was produced by Garry Tallent of the E Street Band, though the version below is from the 1997 Folk: Live From Mountain Stage compilation.
The brothers still live in Nashville,and still play music, but primarily work in other professions.
New Jersey celebratedits 350th birthday lastyear. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are markingthe occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.