A closer look at “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”

Let’s explore the history of this iconic Dionne Warwick song (and its covers).

A woman singing into the microphone

Dionne Warwick knows the way to San Jose.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...

Most locals will know that familiar chorus that kicks off Dionne Warwick‘s iconic song, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Some need-to-know facts about this chart-topping hit:

  • The music was written by Grammy and Academy award-winning composer Burt Bacharach.
  • The lyrics were written by Hal David, who was inspired by our city after he was stationed here in the Navy.
  • At first, Dionne did not like the song, but she still received her first Grammy for it.
  • The song is about a San Josean who quits Hollywood to come back home.

Of course, a song as big as this one has been covered + performed hundreds of times, including by:

  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Carpenters
  • Neil Diamond
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood

We’ve collected some of these covers + instrumental renditions in a massive Spotify playlist. One of our favorites? Minoru Muraoka‘s magical instrumental cover with traditional wind instruments. Special shoutout to Instant Death’s screamo metal cover, which proves that this song transcends all genre boundaries.

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