About The Song
“Under the Boardwalk” is a pop song written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick and recorded by the Drifters in 1964. It charted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 22, 1964. The song has since been covered by many other artists, with versions by Bette Midler, Sam & Dave, the Tom Tom Club, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joe Royal, The Beach Boys, Bruce Willis, Bad Boys Blue, John Mellencamp and Lynn Anderson all charting in the United States or overseas. The song ranked number 487 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004 and number 489 in 2010.
On the evening of May 21, 1964, The Drifters went into the studio for a scheduled recording session. But the session did not go as the group had originally planned, because the group’s members found out that day that singer Rudy Lewis had died a day earlier.
That Thursday night at the studio, the members of the group were in tears but decided to go through with the recording session. During the session, the band recorded “Under the Boardwalk,” with singer Johnny Moore taking the lead on the track that was intended for Lewis.
The song evokes the “happy sounds of the carousel” and lovers hanging out by the beach. But there is a bittersweet tone to the song, so if you listen close enough, you may feel you can hear a little of the sadness that the men were feeling when they recorded the song.
The personnel on that recording included Ernie Hayes on piano, Everett Barksdale, Bill Suyker and Bob Bushnell on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, Gary Chester on drums and George Devens on percussion. The arranger was Teacho Wiltshire. The last-minute move was a success, as the single, released on Atlantic Records, went to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and number one for 3 non consecutive weeks on Cashbox magazine’s R&B chart.