“When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me”
— Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Up on the Roof, 1962, songwriters, song lyrics, song quotes, sung by the Drifters
“Up on the Roof” is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and recorded in 1962 by The Drifters: released late that year, the disc became a major hit in early 1963
Gerry Goffin would cite “Up on the Roof” as his alltime favorite of the lyrics he’d written. After Carole King suggested that he write lyrics for the tune which had occurred to her while she was out driving, with King suggesting “My Secret Place” as the title, Goffin kept King’s suggested focus of a haven modifying it with his enthusiasm for the movie musical West Side Story which contained several striking scenes set on the rooftops of Upper West Side highrises.
The 1980 Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll described “Up on the Roof” as “in every way a remarkable pop song for 1962,” and in particular said of the above lyric, “From the internal rhyme of ‘stairs’ and ‘cares’ to the image of ascending from the street to the stars by way of an apartment staircase, it’s first-rate, sophisticated writing.”
In April 2010, The Drifters’ “Up on the Roof” was named number 114 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.