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Under The Boardwalk by The Drifters

Album: The Very Best Of The DriftersReleased: 1964Charted:
4
45
  • The session to record this song was scheduled for May 20, 1964, but The Drifters lead singer Rudy Lewis was found dead that morning (the cause of death is unclear, but likely either a drug overdose or heart attack). The session was rescheduled for the next day, and Johnny Moore was called in to replace Lewis. Moore was with The Drifters in 1958 when their manager fired everyone in the band and brought in new members. He was a convenient replacement for Lewis, and stayed on as their main vocalist.

    The group was distraught over Lewis' death, and their subsequent performance added a tinge of melancholy to the song, which is about spending some time under a seaside boardwalk with a love interest, out of sight from the crowds above.
  • Many artists have covered this, including The Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, The Jackson 5, and Bruce Willis.
  • The Drifters released a sequel to this a few months later called "I've Got Sand In My Shoes." It hit #33 in the US.
  • This was written by Arthur Resnick and Kenny Young. Resnick also wrote "Good Lovin'" for The Rascals; Young wrote songs for Herman's Hermits and formed a band called Fox.

    It was Atlantic Records' head Jerry Wexler who came across the song at Resnick and Young's publishing company, and decided that The Drifters should record it. The group wasn't thrilled with the song, but Wexler had final say on all songs they recorded, and made it clear that they were going to record "Under The Boardwalk.
  • In a previous Drifters hit, they had a tryst with their baby Up On The Roof. In this song, they decide that it's too hot up there, and seek out a cooler location. They sing in the first line: "when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof..."
  • This song was produced by Bert Berns along with the English arranger Mike Leander. Berns had just taken over as The Drifters producer, replacing Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were busy with other projects. Berns stayed on as the group's producer until 1967, when he died of a heart attack.
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Comments: 26

On September 20th 1964, "I've Got Sand In My Shoes" by the Drifters entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #72; and on October 18th, 1964 it peaked at #33 {for 1 week} and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
As mentioned above it was a sequel to "Under the Boardwalk", the week that "Sand' entered the Top 100 "Boardwalk" was still on the chart at position #38, five weeks earlier it had peaked at #4 {for 1 week}...
Between 1954 and 1966 the group had thirty-eight Top 100 records, five made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Save the Last Dance for Me" for 3 weeks on October 17th, 1960...
They just missed having a second #1 record when "There Goes My Baby" peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on August 17th, 1959...
The week that "There Goes My Baby" was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "A Big Hunk O’ Love" by Elvis Presley.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Re: Good Lovin'. The original was by The Olympics. Was it really written for The Young Rascals?Peppertree5706 - Austin , Tx
This is one of the best songs ever. I plan to play this at my wedding (:Jonesy - Laguna Beach, Ca
The American actor Bruce Willis rerecorded this song under the name of "Bruno". Willis actually does a decent version.Cal - London, United Kingdom
Bette Midler sand this song ina movie ; as well as her popular song , "The Wind Benief My Wings". ..Both are good songs. ..The Drifters were , are , and always will be #1. .."LONG LIVE 'THE DRIFTERS' !!!"Chomper - Franjkin County, Pa
Both the song "Under The Boardwalk" and "Sand In My Shoes" , are about the about two couples making out along the boadwalk and beach areas of Atlantic City, New Jersey. ..The line "From the park you hear the happy sound of the Carousel ..You can almost taste the hotdogs and french fries they sell", is talking about the famous carousel that was onced built on the boardwalk , heading out to sea (as old pictures of the Atlantic City's Boadwalk used to show) ; and and the hotdogs and french fries were the famous "Coney Island Hotdogs" French Fries that were (and possibly still are)sell at the many snack stands , where many of the tourists and customers would stop and buy food to eat and refreshments to drink. ..They would also buy different souvenirs (hats , t - shirts , toys , etc. ), as well as the popular homemade "Salt Water Taffy". ..Not far from Atlantic City is another town called "Brigantine" ; and it was there that they used to have a boardwalk and swimming area , plus a haunted house called "Brigantine Castle". ..In about 1986 or '89 , there was a fire that broke out at the bulding ; nearly destroying a bit of the haunted amusement house , plus the water waves rushing the shorelines from the ocean, damaging part of the building. ... Today, nothing remains of the boardwalk nor the haunted castle in Brigantine but the old rotted fencepoles. ...The beach and areas were bought and turned into housing complex for condominiums and hotels.Chomper - Franjkin County, Pa
Two things: 1) This song is a pinnacle of music. By that I mean that it is unimprovable, absolutely the BEST, in the musical direction that it takes. It goes down like the very smoothest brandy, slowly and lovingly sipped, and it produces the same warm glow inside. I only wish I had connected with it at the time it was out, but I was more into other musical types then. Another rare example of this that comes to mind is "Dixie Storms" by Maria McKee and Lone Justice from 1986. *** 2) The YouTube vid currently (2009 Jun 04) on this page, has them singing, "we'll be falling in love," both times the chorus occurs. I could just about swear I remember hearing them, or maybe some other group, singing, "we'll be making love" at least once in this song. Was it a later recording by the Drifters, or someone else, or am I hallucinating? Anyone know the particulars of this?Fred - Laurel, Md
A great song by The Drifters. I just turned 49. So I was just a young lad when this song first came out. But I love oldies. And have been listening to pop,rock,soul,c&w and r&b plus blues all through the years. When you listen to "Under The Boardwalk" it takes you back to a time when life was better and everything was so carefree. The same goes for all of the old Drifters songs. They make you remember when. Or even if you don't remember. You can just imagine how it was. Great harmonies. I know alot of people have covered this song. The Rolling Stones did a nice version on their "12X5" album. Thanks-Wayne - Salem, Va
The song was UK #21 hit for the Tom Tom Club as well in 1982Dave - Cardiff, Wales
I live in South Jersey, so this song basically describes my summer lifeCaitlin - Upper Township, Nj
La Bamba is better than this. L.A.X. 5150!!!Layne - Cincinnati, Oh
This song was recorded on the morning of May 21, 1964, with Johnny Moore singing lead. The group's main lead singer at the moment, Rudy Lewis ("Up On The Roof", "On Broadway") was to sing "Under The Boardwalk" on this scheduled session but was found dead that same morning in his hotel room bed from what is suspected to be a heroin overdose, although some claim that Lewis was a binge eater and probably choked to death in his sleep.Mark - Mayberry, Nc
I couldnt help but to add a comment regarding my personal affiliation to this lovely song. I have composed a remake of this song that has recently been selected by a major music library for possible use feel free the give it a listen. Id love to hear your comments www.broadjam.com/ric4hitsongsRicci - Anaheim, Ca
Bill Pinkney, the last surviving member of the original Drifters, is the nicest person! For a number of years, I lived across from where he was born and raised. The spot is now a memorial park, and Dr. Pinkney tries to hold a free barbeque and concert there every year. Clyde McPhatter's son, Ron, sings with Dr. Pinkney.
Even though he is in his eighties, Dr. Pinkney still sings, with a voice that is just as strong as ever.
Along with his impressive music career, (and no, there was not a death during the recording of "Under The Boardwalk") Dr. Pinkney was awarded a Presidential Citation with four Bronze Stars for his bravery during World War II. He was also a pitcher in Negro Baseball League. If you ever get a chance to hear the Original Drifters, featuring Bill Pinkney, don't pass it up. These gentlemen will give you an evening you'll never forget.
Dae - Sumter, Sc
I grew up thinking "making love" was strictly a euphemism for sex, but hearing the phrase in this song made me realize it could also mean making out...or whatever else.....Fyodor - Denver, Co
Lynn Anderson did a verison of this song.Marianne - Baton Rouge, La
Being under a boardwalk is kinda scary. I mean its like dark and stinky barefeet are like above you. This could be a dirty song, or 'I'm being held captive by beach nazis.'Jordan - Haddam, Ct
John Mellencamp also covered this song on his "Rough Harvest" album.Joshua - Twin Cities, Mn
The best feel-good summer song ever! Thanks, Drifters!Jim - Minneapolis, Mn
Ocean, you believe too much of what you hear.
Rich, I like that. I could see that.
Maggie, tell your husband Chuck Berry did Johnny B. Goode and not Elvis and see if he'd bet you for more cash.
The Drifters were the absolute best r&b/doo-wop/rock and roll group of the 50s and put out more legendary records with Ben E. King into the 60s. None better than There Goes My Baby, early on in his tenure.
Brian - Meriden, Ct
The 80s Belfast band the Undertones do a great cover of this songKen - St Johns, Canada
In the book "The Originals", by Arnold Rijpens, I read that one of the Drifters died during the recording session of this song. Because the studiotime wasn't cheap, they continued recording this song while the bandmember lay dead under a blanket, till the paramedics came...Ocean - Amsterdam, Netherlands
my dad actually works with the guy who was the backing guitarist for the bandBilly Ross - Hagerstown, Md
great song, i saw the current drifters perform live this summer, and we sang along w/ them, in the mikes, front row center, awesome...Natasha - Chico, Ca
This would be a good song for J. BuffettRich - Elkins, Wv
I have just won R200 in a bet with my husband. He thought that the Rolling Stones were the original artists of Under the Boardwalk. Thank you for resolving our (very animated) bet with a great website!Maggie - Johannesburg, South Africa