Tin Pan Alley

 Audio Guide

Narrated by Joel Peresman, President & CEO of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Transcript

New York City became the original music capital of the United States at a time when music was not heard but read. Sheet music formed the basis of the original music industry along a slice of Manhattan’s Flatiron District then known as Tin Pan Alley. Now a designated cultural landmark, Tin Pan Alley was founded in the mid-1880s as a source of music publishing for the entire country, selling America’s most popular songs hot off the presses. Tin Pan Alley became a nexus of American musical talent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When famous songwriters such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington worked with heavy-hitters in the music publishing industry to create popular melodies. Some tunes sold sheet music into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions. Some of the most iconic songs in American popular culture like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Give My Regards to Broadway” were written here and performed by the song pluggers tickling the ivories in this corner of Manhattan. Tin Pan Alley represents the start of New York City’s rise in American culture as it became the center of music production in the United States.