Up On The Roof

Album: The Very Best Of The Drifters (1962)
Charted: 5


  • First recorded by Little Eva, this breezy summertime song evokes the high-rise apartments in American cities where urban dwellers could escape from the stresses of daily living by climbing onto the tar "beaches" on the roofs of their buildings.
  • This song was written by the then husband-and-wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and the lead vocalist was Rudy Lewis. Carole King recorded a solo version of this on her 1970 album Writer.
  • In the UK this was not a hit but a cover version by Kenny Lynch reached #10.
  • In 1995 Robson & Jerome had a UK#1 hit with their version of this song. It was a double A side along with Frankie Laine's "I Believe."
  • Laura Nyro sang a slowed-down rendition for her 1970 album, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. Although many artists (Three Dog Night, The 5th Dimension, Barbra Streisand) had hits with Nyro's soulful tunes, her Goffin/King cover was her sole chart hit as an artist, peaking at #92 on the Hot 100.

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 31, 1979, James Taylor played a free concert in New York City's Central Park to help publicize the city's campaign to restore the park's Sheep Meadow..
    At the time his covered version of "Up On The Roof" was at #51 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, two weeks earlier it had peaked at #28 {for 2 weeks} and it spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #7 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Track chart...
    Between 1970 and 1988 he had twenty-two records on the Hot Top 100 chart, five* made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "You've Got A Friend", for 1 week on July 25th, 1971, the week it was at #1 Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's covered version of the same song was at #31 on the Top 100...
    James Vernon Taylor celebrated his 69th birthday four months ago on March 12th, 2017...
    * He just missed having a sixth Top 10 record when "Her Town Too" (with J.D. Souther) peaked at #11 in 1981.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaMy fav Drifters tune, thanks Carol. Does anyone know who the musicians were?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 3rd 1963, "Up On The Roof" by the Drifters peaked at #5 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on October 28th, 1962 and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Three other covered versions have made the Top 100 chart; the Cryan' Shames (three weeks on the chart, peaking at #85), Laura Nyro (two weeks on the Top 100, reached #92), and James Taylor (made it to #28, was on the chart for 11 weeks)...
    Didn't know Little Eva first recorded it, must have been an album track because if it was released as a single it never entered the Top 100)...
    Sadly, both 'Little ' Eva Boyd and Ms. Nyro passed away at a young age; Ms. Boyd at age 59 on April 10th, 2003 and Ms. Nyro at age 49 on April 8th, 1997.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnThis performance by the Drifters expertly captures the feel of the big city in the summer. You can feel the need to escape the heat of the pavement by simply moving upstairs to the roof. When you're poor as a churchmouse & can't afford to go away somewhere, you make the most of what you've got, and one of those things is the beauty of a cool night looking up at the stars. The contrast with "that rat race noise down in the street" to "on the roof is peaceful as can be" is something everyone can immediately relate to.
  • Steve from King City, CaThe Drifters are one of my favorite groups and this is undoubtedly my favorite all time song. It brings back a lot of memories.
  • Ray from Lodi, Njwhat a beautiful song. one of my favorites.
  • Rich from Ny, NyJames Taylor did this song at the concert for NYC. It was the absolutly best song on the DVD. It hit the moment more than any other song could have.
  • Steve from King City, CaThis is undoubtedly my favorite song of all time. The Drifters were/are a group that got its name from so many artists coming into and out of the group. Clyde McPhatter, Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis,Johnny Moore,Bill Pinkney,etc.(81 years old, still sings with one of many groups calling themselves the Drifters). Pinkney regarded as the only one who sang with both groups of Drifters; the first being from 1953 to 1960 and the second from 1960 to 1964. The second group being the one who had the majority of hit records/albums and the first being the one made up of legendary singers like McPhatter. Johnny Moore(died in 1990's)led the last group of "original/sanctioned" members. Since that time, several groups calling themselves the "Drifters" perform in various areas of the country, but none are directly connected to the original group except King, who sings solo now and Pinkney who occasionally fronts a group
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