Christopher Cross – Arthur’s Theme (The Best that You Can Do)

First Hit #1: October 17, 1981

Christopher Cross’ last song to show up here was basically a tribute to the joy of being alone. Now he makes a song that merely sounds like a tribute to being alone, since the lyrics don’t quite reflect the sound of the song. This is a track that has the atmosphere of a late night walk, and the repeated line about being caught between the mood and New York City emphasizes this: it’s caught in a jazzy no-man’s land. Sure, there’s lines about falling in love and finding women beside you and all that fun stuff, as well as nods to the actual plot of Arthur, but just like Sailing it works really well as a soundtrack to solitude, with a highly specific, late night in an empty city vibe that would show up on occasion in early ’80s entertainment.

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One Response to Christopher Cross – Arthur’s Theme (The Best that You Can Do)

  1. RBerman says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s “between the moon and New York City.” As in, walking at night, with the moon above and NYC under your feet. It’s a nice, romantic image.

    The second verse is an anomaly, with its extended desription of a character in a movie that many people today have not seen. Going just from the song, Arthur sounds like a free spirit, maybe a happy, harmless stoner type, or a Robin Williams character. Nanoo, nanoo! But actually, in the movie he’s a slobbering drunk who really has no business ruining the lives of either Susan Eikenberry (the woman he’s supposed to marry to keep his fortune) or Liza Minnelli (the woman with whom he’s infatuated). It’s a film best ignored plotwise and seen as an opportunity for Dudley Moore to do and say silly things. It was also the 4th highest grossing film of 1981, which probably explains much of the song’s popularity. Moore was )scar-nominated for best actor; Cross won the song Oscar.

    Musically, it’s a decent song, with no bridge but one verse played as a saxophone solo. The keyboard has that early 80s David Foster electric piano sound.

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