‘Union City,’ Dez Manku


Mike Boldt, left, and Phil Gallo of Dez Manku.

With the 350 Jersey Songs project nearing its end (this is entry No. 328), let’s take a moment to remember the songs whose titles are simply a city name. There was “Hackensack,” by Thelonious Monk; “Neptune City,” by Nicole Atkins; the Fountains of Wayne-written “Hackensack,” by Katy Perry; “Atlantic City,” by the cast of “Ragtime”; “Jersey City,” by Bobby Long; the Bruce Springsteen-written “Atlantic City,” by The Band; the Burt Bacharach and Hal David-written (and misspelled) “Hasbrook Heights,” by Dionne Warwick; “Flemington,” by Danny Federici; and “Point Pleasant,” by The Thousand Pities.

(I’m not including “Palisades Park,” by Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, because that’s really about Palisades Amusement Park, which was in Cliffside Park and Fort Lee, and not the city of Palisades Park. And I’m not including songs that have a town name in the title but other words as well.)

Here’s one more to add to the list: “Union City,” by Dez Manku (a group that features Mike Boldt and Phil Gallo, and has released four albums).

The song, which was named Union City’s official song last year, is probably, more than any of the songs above, a straightforwardly nostalgic love letter to the city in question, which happens to be the second most densely populated city in the United States. (Nearby Guttenberg is first.) It features a roll call of local streets and landmark, and a rousing chorus: “I was raised in Union City/Biggest little city in the USA/Deep in the streets you can hear the heart beat/And it stays with you every day.” Check it out below.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking 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. 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.


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