♫ Up On The Roof ♫ (Redux)

Yes, yes … another redux.  On reading the first paragraph of this post from August 2019, my mood seems to be almost exactly the same now as it was then, so I guess that’s why this one popped into my head this evening.  But hey … you get three great versions for the price of one, so don’t complain!

Ever feel like you just want to get away from the world and the people in it?  Like you just need solitude, quiet, fresh air?  I feel that way a lot these days.  My bedroom is my refuge, though I rarely see it, for I am usually writing until the wee hours, and by the time I get to my bedroom, my eyes are already half shut.  But still, it is the only place in the house where there are no voices, no kitties.  I cannot go “up on the roof”, for I’m not well balanced, and our roof is fairly steep-pitched.  Anyway … I am rambling.  On to the song …

This song, released in 1962 first by Little Eva, and later by The Drifters, was written by then husband-and-wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.  Gerry Goffin would cite Up on the Roof as his all-time favorite of the lyrics he’d written. After Carole King suggested that he write lyrics for the tune which had occurred to her while she was out driving, with King suggesting “My Secret Place” as the title, Goffin kept King’s suggested focus of a haven, modifying it with his enthusiasm for the movie musical West Side Story which contained several striking scenes set on the rooftops of Upper West Side highrises.

The song went to #5 in the U.S., but in the UK they must not have been crazy about The Drifters at that time.  However, another artist, Kenny Lynch, did one that made it to #10 in the UK, so I will present that as well, for my Brit friends.  And, because I just love James Taylor, I’m playing his version too!!!  Now, don’t say I never give you choices!

Up On The Roof
The Drifters

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you now

When I come home feelin’ tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street (up on the roof)
On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let’s go up on the roof (up on the roof)

(brief instrumental-chiefly strings)

At night the stars put on a show for free
And, darling, you can share it all with me

I keep a-tellin’ you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down
There’s room enough for two
Up on the roof (up on the roof)
Up on the roo-oo-oof (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, baby (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, honey (up on the roof)

Everything is all right (up on the roof)

Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
Up On The Roof lyrics © Emi Music Publishing France

30 thoughts on “♫ Up On The Roof ♫ (Redux)

  1. Jill, you live with five cats. How can you sleep without cats? Some nights all 5 of ours are on the bed happily purring us to dreamland. Gail and I miss them terribly when we are away from home.
    My fave is the Drifters. The Lynch version is amazingly similar just without back-up. James Taylor I will not listen to. Sorry, David.

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  2. This was a #1 here for Robson and Jerome in the 90s. Having failed to pick up on the Drifters, coupled with the Kenny Lynch version, I would like to apologise on behalf of Britain for our appalling taste!

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  3. Jill, this is one of Goffin/ King’s best. It is a great theme, especially for urban dwellers. The music is marvelous. If you get a chance post-COVID-19, the musical play “Beautiful” about King and Goffin is marvelous. They also show fun competition between them and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who wrote many hits. Keith

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  4. Though Kenny Lynch did a good job with this it’s always the Drifters version that comes to mind. For once I’m going to have to kick myself and say Sweet Baby James’s version doesn’t sit right with me. though I can live with that voice anywhere, anytime usually. On another note, watching something on TV at lunchtime and in the background I could hear It Takes Two, Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston and I was transported to my Motown World.

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    • Oh THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I was going to forego a song tonight, given the aforementioned cat fight, many ‘breaking news’ updates, etc., but when you mentioned “It Takes Two”, I knew I hadn’t yet played that one and now I have my song!

      I’m glad you liked “Up on the Roof” … I’m with you, much as I love James Taylor, nobody did this one like The Drifters.

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