Barris wrote a song about an amusement park and it was suggested he use the name of an amusement park as the title. One night he was in Manhattan when he looked toward the New Jersey Palisades Cliffs, on which the amusement park sat. That was when inspiration hit and the title was added. Years later the Palisades Amusement Park closed, on September 12, 1971.
A tribute to New Jersey's Palisades Amusement Park, it is an up-tempo rock and roll tune led by a distinctive organ part. The track also incorporates amusement park sound effects, including the sounds of screaming riders on the roller coasters, and the quoting of a slower version of "Entrance of the Gladiators", played on an organ imitating a hurdy-gurdy or calliope. In the song, the singer takes a walk after dark and discovers Palisades Park, where he meets and falls in love with a girl. Among the list of rides and attractions listed in the song are: Shoot the Chute, Rocket Ship, Roller Coaster, Loop the Loop, Merry Go Round, Tunnel of Love, and the Ferris Wheel.
The Beach Boys included on their 1976 on their album 15 Big Ones. Brian Wilson said of their rendition, "I looked at the guys, and they looked kinda sad. They didn't look happy; they looked like something was wrong. I said to myself, 'Hey maybe they're upset because we're not having any hit singles! Maybe they're mad at me!' I checked into it, and sure enough, as soon as we did 'Palisades,' everybody was happy again. Know what I mean?"
New York-based punk band The Ramones released their cover of Palisades Park on their 1989 album Brain Drain. It was also included on the Chrysalis Records 1991 release of their live album Loco Live, but was not on Loco Live's 1992 Sire Records re-release.[circular reference]
^"Carousel, Anyone? A 1928 'Heirloom' Offered for $80,000". The New York Times. November 15, 1971. Retrieved 2009-01-27. Irving Rosenthal has the Christmas present for the man who has everything. Preferably a man in search of high camp or deep nostalgia. ... Mr. Rosenthal sold the Palisades Amusement Park site to tho Centex-Winston Corporation, which plans to erect 3800 high-rise condominiums on the tract ...