This song was released in 1964, which is just a little past the doo wop era we discuss. However, it’s by The Drifters! And when it gets too hot to go “Up on the Roof,” as The Drifters sang in their 1962 Jerry Goffin-Carole King hit song, you go “Under the Boardwalk.”
In 1964, the song went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Cashbox Magazine’s R&B Chart. The song is included in Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has been covered by many, many artists, including, just to name a few, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Lincolns, John Mellencamp, Tom Tom Club, and Bette Midler.
Written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick, “Under the Boardwalk” has a nostalgia about it for summer love by the seashore. A deeper sadness was that Rudy Lewis, who had been singing lead for The Drifters, died the night before they were about to record the song. Lewis joined them in 1960 after Ben E. King left. An autopsy was never performed, but the cause is speculated to have been from a drug overdose and heart attack. Lewis was 27. Johnny Moore, who had sung with The Drifters before, filled in and sang the lead.