♫ Do You Know The Way To San José ♫

This one was written, as were many of Dionne Warwick’s songs, by the prolific songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The upbeat melody belies the melancholy lyrics about giving up on a dream and going back home. The juxtaposition was a common technique with Hal David, who says …

“The idea of doing a lyric that is essentially kind of sad to a very up and optimistic melody is something I’ve done a lot, and I’ve always thought it was an effective way of writing a song. Burt played this melody for me, and music says things to me and should say things to me.

I heard the phrase do you know the way to San Jose, and from that I began to create the storyline that became the person who comes to Los Angeles to make his or her career in the entertainment business and has dreams of being a big star, and for most people it does not turn out to be quite that happy.”

According to Burt Bacharach …

“That was a melody I had started. It was uptempo. We didn’t cut too many things up like that with Dionne. I played it for Hal, he got an idea, then we kind of steamrolled it together. We finished it and played it for Dionne who wasn’t too crazy about the song and when she performed it at the recording session, I think it was the only time during that period we didn’t get a vocal from her that was good enough to use. So we had to bring her back into the studio to have her overdub her vocals.”

Apparently, Dionne wasn’t too thrilled with the song, but, she adapted …

“I thought it was a really silly song. Obviously Hal David had a great affinity for San Jose as I believe he was stationed there during his time in the Navy and he loved the place and he wrote a song about it. I just giggled all the way to the bank, what can I tell you?”

The song peaked at #8 in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. It also charted highly in France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Lebanon, Japan, and many other countries throughout the world. The single was one of the most successful of Warwick’s international hits, selling over 3,500,000 copies worldwide. The flip-side of the single, Let Me Be Lonely, also penned by Bacharach/David, charted in the Billboard Hot 100 as well and became one of many double-sided hits for Warwick.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Dionne Warwick

Do you know the way to San Jose?
I’ve been away so long. I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they’ll make you a star
Weeks turn into years. How quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

You can really breathe in San Jose
They’ve got a lot of space. There’ll be a place where I can stay
I was born and raised in San Jose
I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose

Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home
With a dream in your heart you’re never alone
Dreams turn into dust and blow away
And there you are without a friend
You pack your car and ride away

I’ve got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they’ll make you a star
Weeks turn into years. How quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

I’ve got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Can’t wait to get back to San Jose

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach
Do You Know the Way to San Jose lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Royalty Network

12 thoughts on “♫ Do You Know The Way To San José ♫

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