Published on June 22, 2016
“Lullaby of Broadway” is a popular song with music written by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, published in 1935. The lyrics salute the nightlife of Broadway and its denizens, who “don’t sleep tight until the dawn.”
The song was introduced by Wini Shaw in the musical film, Gold Diggers of 1935.and, in an unusual move, it was used as background music in a sequence in the Bette Davis film Special Agent that same year. It won the 1936 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra version was popular at the time of release. Also in 1936, it served as part of the background music of the Merrie Melodies cartoon Page Miss Glory, also based on a Dubin-Warren song. It was also recorded by The Andrews Sisters.
Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song on her Verve release Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs for Swingers, accompanied by the Frank DeVol Orchestra.
In 1951, Warner Brothers released a film of the same name starring Doris Day. This version, backed by the Harry James orchestra, hit the Cashbox Top 50 the same year.
From 1959-1960, it was the theme song of the syndicated television series Johnny Midnight, starring Edmond O’Brien in the title role as a New York City actor-turned-private detective.
The song was recorded by Connie Francis in 1962 and 1963, Caterina Valente in 1963, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra in 1973, Bram Tchaikovsky as a single in 1979 and Tony Bennett and the Dixie Chicks as a track for his 2006 album Duets: An American Classic. It is also featured in an episode of Taxi (performed by Marilu Henner) and the Broadway musical 42nd Street, originated by Jerry Orbach playing Julian Marsh in the 1980 original cast.
In the 1970s Wini Shaw’s original recorded version of the song was released as a 45rpm single and made the Top 50 of the UK Charts. Subsequently the BBC interviewed Wini Shaw O’Malley in New York about her new success with it. She could not believe it. Chelsea Krombach covered this song on her debut album Profile (2004).
Bette Midler recorded a cover of the song for her album Bette Midler (1973). The song is performed as a medley with “Optimistic Voices”. It also appears on her album Live At Last .
The song was used in a commercial for the Milford Plaza Hotel, where it was called the “Lullabuy of Broadway”.
The song was performed by the Muppets in the Gilda Radner episode of The Muppet Show.
In Lisa Stansfield’s 1990 music video for her cover of Cole Porter’s Down in the Depths, the beginning and ending are both references to the song. The video begins with her disembodied head zooming in, while singing the opening to the song, and ends with it zooming out, while singing the outro.
Dianne Reeves recorded it in 2003 on her album, A Little Moonlight.
Linda Lavin and Martha Raye sang this song in the 1970’s TV show Alice in the episode [Sharples vs Sharples}
In 2005, Idina Menzel recorded a pop/hip-hop version of the song for the end credits of ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway.
Swing revivalists the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies recorded a version for their 2016 album The Boop-A-Doo, a cover album of 1920s and 1930s jazz standards, taking its title from a lyric from the song.