It’s time to landmark Tin Pan Alley.
It’s time to preserve this heritage.
Please Join Us In This Effort!
Tin Pan Alley is the cradle of the music industry in the United States. Here, American popular music as we know it was first manufactured and promoted. This one block of 28th Street offers a glimpse into what has become a worldwide cultural force – pop music – at its specific place of creation. As an enclave of 19th-century structures, it is also largely intact as architecture.
Tin Pan Alley’s influence would be hard to overstate. Here, for the first time, publishers and songwriters learned to promote, devising techniques of “song plugging” that helped them market sheet music to a buying public. Blues, Broadway, jazz, ragtime, Latin rhythms – all coalesced into a musical force that emanated from this single block.
As Tin Pan Alley influenced American music, American music, in turn, influenced the world. Pioneering African-American composers such as Richard McPherson (as Cecil Mack, the writer of “Charleston”) worked on Tin Pan Alley. Irving Berlin started here too, as well as Albert Von Tilzer, composer of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Singers as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jolson and Fred Astaire sang music originating from Tin Pan Alley. Rumor has it that living legend Bob Dylan wrote his first successes while he was living in the Tin Pan Alley. Whenever you hear contemporary music, it is likely to be descended from Tin Pan Alley roots.
28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan contains the remnants of one of America’s greatest cultural movements. These buildings should stand as a reminder to future generations of how a legacy can originate from one small pocket of New York.