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YouTube Gold: Under The Boardwalk

This song is nearly 60 years old and it’s still beloved.

The Drifters
American doo-wop and soul vocal group The Drifters, UK, 28th October 1974. From left to right, they are Johnny Moore, Grant Kitchings, Butch Leake and Bill Fredericks.
Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Willie Nelson released Stardust, a collection of standards that he brilliantly re-interpreted for a new era, he marveled at the effect that album had on his career. He told a friend that the older fans loved to hear those songs again and the younger fans just assumed he wrote them.

It was a win-win for Willie.

Some songs are just timeless though, as Nelson found out with that album. But those aren’t the only ones and they’re not all from the ‘30’s either.

There are songs from the rock and roll era that have stayed fresh. The Grateful Dead covered Good Lovin’ by the Rascals and their own song Friend of The Devil still sounds crisp as a new dollar bill. A lot of people have recorded that one too.

That’s also true for Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters, though no one has really captured the magic that that band caught.

The song was released in 1964 but not without some struggles: the lead singer, Rudy Lewis, died of an apparent heroin overdose the night before the track was to be recorded. Johnny Moore took over, obviously on short notice, and the song went to #4 on the charts.

Part of the magic of the song is the chorus: people, and especially young guys, love to sing the deeper chorus.

It has always evoked a sense of youth and summer romance and, like the other songs mentioned here, has been embraced by subsequent generations. This video is a rare live performance.