In all probability, more songs have been written about Atlantic City than any other New Jersey City. I’ve covered two already in the 350 Jersey Songs series — “On the Boardwalk (In Atlantic City),” by Dick Haymes, and “Atlantic City (Gonna Make a Million Tonight),” by East River Pipe — and of course there is Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” not to mention the indie-rock band Real Estate’s instrumental of the same name.
And then there’s today’s choice: “Atlantic City,” from the musical “Ragtime.”
In the song, written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the characters sing about escaping their problems by going to Atlantic City:
“Let’s run away to Atlantic City
Let’s feel the wind in our hair
Sharing a grand and romantic city
Sea and salty air”
This is a vision of Atlantic City that’s totally unlike Springsteen’s, or even the one conjured up by the makers of “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s all rather idyllic, despite some dark undercurrents:
“Why should we stay in the frantic city
Laden with worry and care?
Oh, let’s run away to Atlantic City
No one will find us there”
The version below comes from the 2009 original Broadway cast recording.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the 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. The complete list is here.