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"Do You Know the Way to San Jose" is a 1968 popular song written and composed for singer Dionne Warwick by Burt Bacharach. Hal David wrote the lyrics. The song was Warwick's biggest international hit to that point, selling several million copies worldwide and winning Warwick her first Grammy Award. David's lyrics tell the story of a native of San Jose, California who, having failed to break into the entertainment field in Los Angeles, is set to return to her hometown.

"Do You Know the Way to San Jose"
"Do You Know the Way to San Jose" - Dionne Warwick.jpg
"Do You Know the Way to San Jose" became an international best-seller in 1968.
Single by Dionne Warwick
from the album Dionne Warwick in Valley of the Dolls
B-side"Let Me Be Lonely"
ReleasedApril 1968
Format7" single
Recorded1967 at Bell Sound Studios; engineer, Ed Smith
GenreSoul, pop
LabelScepter SCE-12216
Songwriter(s)Burt Bacharach, Hal David
Producer(s)Burt Bacharach, Hal David
Dionne Warwick singles chronology
"(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls"
"Do You Know the Way to San Jose"
"Who Is Gonna Love Me"

The song was released on the 1968 RIAA Certified Gold album Dionne Warwick in Valley of the Dolls. "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" was issued as the follow-up single to the double-sided hit "(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls"/ "I Say a Little Prayer" in April 1968. It became Warwick's third consecutive Top Ten song in the closing months of 1967 and into 1968, punctuating the most successful period of Warwick's recording career.

The song peaked at #8 in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. It also charted highly in France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Lebanon, Japan,and many other countries throughout the world. The single was one of the most successful of Warwick's international hits, selling over 3,500,000 copies worldwide. The flip-side of the single, "Let Me Be Lonely," also penned by Bacharach/David, charted in the Billboard Hot 100 as well and became one of many double-sided hits for Warwick.


Bacharach had composed the music for the song before David wrote its lyrics. David had a special interest in San Jose, having been stationed there while in the Navy.[1]

The track was the last Dionne Warwick single to be recorded at New York City's Bell Studios. It features a prominent use of bass drum, played by session musician Gary Chester. The engineer was Ed Smith, who devised the famous introduction to the tune by directly attaching a mike to the head of Chester's bass drum.

Warwick did not like "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," and she had to be convinced to record it. In a May 1983 interview with Ebony, she said: "It's a dumb song and I didn't want to sing it. But it was a hit, just like [her recent Top Ten hit] 'Heartbreaker' is. I'm happy these songs were successful, but that still doesn't change my opinion about them."[2] Though she still does not like it, the song remains one of Warwick's most popular chart selections, and she still includes it in almost every concert she performs.


Warwick won her first Grammy, the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "Do You Know the Way to San Jose." She told Jet in May 2002 that winning this award was the overall highlight of her career.

Chart performanceEdit

Weekly singles charts
Billboard Hot
*** Cash Box
Top 100
#10 *** #10 #23 #4 #15 #8 #8 #8 #20
Year-end chart (1968) Rank
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [4] 88


"Do You Know the Way to San Jose" has also been recorded by Connie Francis, Rita Reys, The George Shearing Quintet, The Avalanches, The Baja Marimba Band, The Temptations and The Supremes together, Neil Diamond, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Nancy Sinatra, The Starlite Orchestra, De-Phazz, Jim O'Rourke, Bossa Rio (1970), Trijntje Oosterhuis, Paper Dolls, and the Carpenters, among others.

Non-English renderings of the song include "Le chemin pour San José" by Ginette Reno – #8 Québécois hit for the year 1968 – , "Heiß ist der Kaffee in San José" by Corry Brokken, "Snart Så Stiger Solen Upp Igen" by Siw Malmkvist and "La route du bonheur" by Liliane Saint-Pierre.

Warwick re-recorded the song as a salsa-flavored collaboration with Celia Cruz and the Pete Escovedo Orchestra for her 1998 album Dionne Sings Dionne.

The song has been recorded on various Burt Bacharach tribute albums, including by Medeski Martin & Wood on Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (1997), by both Yazz and Dionne Warwick (separately) on Tribute to Burt Bacharach & Hal David (2002), by Trijntje Oosterhuis on The Look of Love (2006), and by Kahimi Karie on All Kinds of People ~Love Burt Bacharach~ (2010).

In 1977, Maureen McCormick, Geri Reischl & Susan Olsen performed the song during a medley on an episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

In other mediaEdit

  • During the early and mid-1990s, San Jose-based KNTV used the first notes of the song in its news theme.
  • In 1968 through 1969, the Chrysler-Dodge Corporation used the tune to promote the Dodge Challenger and Charger in television commercials airing in the USA and Canada.
  • In the film The Scout, the character played by Brendan Fraser listens to the song on headphones while flying and disturbs other flyers by singing it off-key.
  • The song was one of many California related songs played throughout "Sunshine Plaza" in the original Disney California Adventure.[5]
  • The song opens and closes the pilot episode of Helix, in each case playing over tense scenes featuring Peter Farragut. The song appears again in the opener of Helix Season 2 when Julia arrives to the island.
  • The song was parodied on an episode of MadTV entitled "Ebay" based on eBay commercials with the lyrics "Do you know the way to use eBay?"


  1. ^ Dominic, Serene (2003). Burt Bacharach, song by song: the ultimate Burt Bacharach reference for fans. New York City: Schirmer Trade Books. p. 190. ISBN 0-8256-7280-5.
  2. ^ Hunt, Dennis (May 1983). "Dionne Wardwick Speaks Out for Strong Black Women". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company: 100. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". 1968-08-23. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1968/Top 100 Songs of 1968". Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Sunshine Plaza". Theme Park Music. Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-10-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

External linksEdit