“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, reaching number 5 on the U.S. pop singles chart and number 4 on the U.S. R&B singles chart. In the UK it was a top ten success for singer Kenny Lynch, whose version was also released in 1962.
In addition to the hit appeal of the “second Drifters” lineup, “Up on the Roof” epitomized the urban romantic dream as presented by New York City Brill Building writers:
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 …
The instrumentalists for The Drifters’ recording were:
trumpets: Jimmy Nottingham, Jimmy Sedler
trombones: Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Sarraco
piano: Carole King, Ernie Hayes
guitars: Al Casamenti, Don Arnone, Bob Bushnell
double bass: George Duvivier
drums: Gary Chester
percussion: Bobby Rosengarden, George Devens
Gerry Goffin would cite “Up on the Roof” as his all-time 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.