Petula Clark

Downtown

Composed by Tony Hatch

Song Review by

Like her eventual friend Helen Reddy it took Petula Clark many records before this fantastic breakthrough hit, "Downtown", although it ushered in 1965's first week with the #1 position on the U.S. charts. The anatomy of this brilliant Tony Hatch composition and production is as interesting as the sound. After the musical interlude the song explodes back into the middle 8 "and you may find somebody kind to help and understand you". The listener hears that drum roll from Little Peggy March's reworking of a French tune, what became early 1963's #1 smash "I Will Follow Him". It seems lightning does strike twice as Clark had recorded that title as well, along with an Italian language version of Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had A Heart". The singer's range and intuitive skills coupled with Tony Hatch's full understanding of pop music resulted in a classic itself covered immediately by a diverse array of artists from Marianne Faithful to Ray Conniff. "Downtown" had a sequel as blatant as Lesley Gore's "Judy's Turn To Cry" in "I Know A Place", returning to the underground dungeon she calls in that song "a cellar full of noise" (not the mis-heard lyric "a south of Illinois", one of the most classic mondegreens in pop history). The "underground" of the downtown theme continued 11 hits and two years later with her admonition to a relationship "Don't Sleep In The Subway", all made possible by this seductive single, Warner Bros #5494 in the U.S., three minutes and one second of positive reinforcement that one didn't have to take the advice of The Drifter's 1962 hit of making that dangerous climb "Up On The Roof" when this old world got one down, the wonderful sax wailing in the background at the conclusion of this hit invites you to the films, the places that never close, the rhythm of the gentle bossa nova. The imagination needed in "Up On The Roof" is too solitary, the background singers beckon with their sensual advertisement that imagination is not necessary, dreams can come true and you'll be "happy again". Interesting that 15 years later Jon Macey would issue a stern warning when his group Tom Dickie & The Desires had an underground FM hit (of course) on Polygram with their advice, they didn't want to hear none of that "Downtown Talk". The simplicity of the sixties gave way to another sign of the times: heroin in the 1980's, yet this shimmering moment from 1965 inspired many and launched the hard working Pet Clark and her producer into the pop pantheon with its unique study of the music of the day, especially that by the chart climbing female artists now joined by this British actress. The sentiment was bound to work because it was not the imagination of The Drifters or the smack addressed by Tom Dickie & The Desires, this was the reality that here you may actually find "somebody kind to help and understand you" (add Little Peggy March drums).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964 Laserlight
No Image 1965 Phantom Import Distribution
Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1972 GNP / GNP/Crescendo 3:30
The Greatest Hits of Petula Clark 1986 GNP 3:11
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 5 1988
Various Artists
Rhino 3:08
Best of 60's Sunshine Rock 1988
Various Artists
Priority 3:10
Golden Oldies, Vol. 8 [Original Sound 1989] 1989
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:02
History of Rock: The 60s, Pt. 5 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
No Image 1990 See For Miles Records
History of Rock: The Rockin' 60's - WCBS FM 101 1991
Various Artists
Collectables 3:10
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Rhino
Special Collection 1992 Castle Music Ltd.
The Best of Petula Clark [Castle] 1992 Castle Music Ltd.
Dick Clark's 21 All-Time Hits, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment
Most of Petula Clark 1994 EMI
My Greatest 1994 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:18
Petula Clark [Castle] 1994 Bmg Camden 3:06
The British Invasion [Laserlight] 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight / Delta Distribution 3:08
British Rock [Original Sound] 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:03
Sounds of the Sixties 1995
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 3:06
Sixteen Most Requested 1995 Sony Music
Best Sixties Album in the World Ever 1995
Various Artists
Alex 3:07
No Image 1995
Various Artists
La Mejor Musica
Golden Hits 1996 ITC Masters 3:50
On the Border of Pop 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:18
Golden Oldies NonStop Party Mix 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:49
Twin Town 1997
Original Soundtrack
A&M 3:03
The Very Best of Petula Clark [Prism 1997] 1997 Prism Platinum 3:52
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Only Dance: 1960-1964 1997
Various Artists
JCD 3:06
Her Greatest Hits 1998 3:30
Where the Heart Is 1998 Connoisseur Collection 3:25
Beat Goes On [Rivie're] 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 3:08
Original Hits 1998 Master Tone Records 3:55
#1 Hits of 1965-1969 1998
Various Artists
GNP/Crescendo 3:11
60's Mix [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:59
60's Girl Power 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:04
Twin Best: Oldies Best Collection 1998
Various Artists
Jvc Victor
Petula Clark Sings Tony Hatch 1998 MSI Music Distribution / Castle Select
International Collection 1999 Bear Family Records 3:00
Very Best of Petula Clark [Crimson] 1999 Crimson Productions
The 60's Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2  [Box Set] 1999
Various Artists
Collectables
Petula Clark [Classic World] 1999 Classic World Productions, Inc. 3:51
No Image 1999 Import
Downtown: The Greatest Hits of Petula Clark 1999 Mastersound
Greatest Hits: Millennium 60s, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Sixties Collection [Madacy] 1999
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 3:09
Girl, Interrupted [Including Score] 2000
Original Soundtrack
TVT 3:09
Downtown [Delta] 2000 Delta Distribution 3:51
Anthology: Downtown to Sunset Boulevard 2000 Uptown/Universal 3:08
Sixties EP Collection 2000 Sequel 3:06
Shagadelic 60s Classics 2000
Various Artists
Castle Pulse / Import 3:06
The Very Best of Petula Clark [Pulse] 2000 Pulse / Sanctuary 3:08
Unforgettable Love Songs [Legacy] 2001
Various Artists
ATP Recordings 3:53
Downtown: The Best of Petula Clark [Pulse] 2001 Pulse 3:07
Music to Watch Movies By 2001
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
This Is My Song [Delta] 2001 Delta Music Ltd.
Groovy 60's 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 3:07
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:05
Copacabana/Royal Albert Hall 2001 Castle Music Ltd.
Then: Totally Oldies, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 3:04
Swinging in the 60's 2001
Various Artists
Repertoire 3:02
A Sign of the Times 2001 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 3:57
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '60s, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
Something Swingin' 2002
Various Artists
WSM
Jukebox Hits of the '60s [Collectalbes] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
Happy Days 50's & 60's 2002
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 3:03
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
The Ultimate Collection 2002 Sanctuary
Great Ladies of Rock & Roll: The '60s - WCBS 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
Commercial Break: Songs from TV Adverts 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd.
Comprehensive School Classics 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 3:05
History of Rock Box 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
1964: The Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 3:06
Ultimate Petula Clark 2003 BMG Heritage 3:07
Kitsch Lounge Riot 2003
Various Artists
BMG UK & Ireland 3:04
Drivin' 60's [Castle Pulse] 2003
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 3:06
Best Singles of All Time, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Absolute: Unforgettable Classics [2003] 2003
Various Artists
Eva
Women & Songs: Beginnings 2003
Various Artists
WEA International 3:11
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:06
Essential 2003 Metro 3:07
Almost There! CD1: A Collection Of The Greatest Original No. 2 Hits 2003
Various Artists
Disky 3:08
Sixties Classics [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 3:09
FHM Presents: Bar Culture, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:22
No Image 2004
Original TV Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 3:06
The Very Best of Petula Clark [Prism 2004] 2004 Mastersong 3:11
Casey Kasem: The 60's #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:07
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Collectables
60s: The Essential Album 2004
Various Artists
Metro
Rock & Roll: The First 50 Years - The Mid-'60s 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 3:06
Platinum & Gold Collection 2004 BMG Heritage 3:10
Live at the Paris Olympia [Video] 2004 Silva America 3:47
Leaders of the Pack: The Very Best of the 60's Girls [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:08
A Trip Down Memory Lane 2005
Various Artists
Liquid 8 3:52
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony/Columbia 3:07
Hits from the 50's and 60's, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Legacy
Rolling Back the Years: 40 Hits from the 60s 2005
Various Artists
Dove 3:17
Downtown [Legacy] 2005 Legacy 3:53
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 3:54
The Song of My Life 2005 Brentwood Records 3:23
Best of Formel Eins: Die Kulthits, Vol. 3 2005
Various Artists
Polystar (Japan) / Universal
The Best of the Sixties, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:08
Songs of My Life: The Essential 2005 Sanctuary 3:05
Don't Sleep in the Subway 2005 WMO (Netherlands) / Wonderful Music 3:10
No Image 2005 Applause International 3:19
Golden Oldies 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:08
Magical Memories for Mum 2006
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Les Plus Grands Succès De Petula Clark 2006 Sony BMG 3:05
Ultimate 16: Rock N Roll of the 60s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:11
Divine Goddesses: Music with a Twist 2006
Various Artists
Deluxe Holland 3:06
Greatest Ever! Easy: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:05
Greatest Ever! 60's 2006
Various Artists
Union Square 3:05
Moonlight, Morgen, Motorbiene 2006
Various Artists
Bear Family Records
Easy Listening Hits [2 Disc] 2006
Various Artists
EQ / EQ Singapore 3:05
Drivetime [Horizon] 2006
Various Artists
Horizon 3:50
Malt Shop Memories: Save the Last Dance 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:04
100 Huge Hits of the 60s & 70s 2007
Various Artists
Sanctuary
Supersounds from the Superstar 2007 Wounded Bird 3:07
The British Beat: Best of the '60s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory/TJL 3:06
Malt Shop Memories, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:04
The British Beat Live 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory
Sixties Power Ballads 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:05
Only the Best of the History of Rock the 60s 2007
Various Artists
Collectables 3:04
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop and Classic R&B [Borders Exclusive] 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:08
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:08
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:04
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Euro Trend / MCP 3:09
Malt Shop Memories [Box Set] 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:05
Girls in the City 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:04
Then & Now: The Very Best of Petula Clark 2008 Universal Music TV 3:06
100 Hits: Girls Night 2008
Various Artists
DMG 100 3:09
No Image 2008 Sanctuary
Summer Holiday: 40 Summer Classics from Yesteryear 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:06
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI 3:07
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical [Music Inspired By] 2009
Various Artists
Universal International 3:06
The Ultimate Collection: 60s - 100 Hits 2011
Various Artists
Ultimate / Ultimate Collection 3:06
No Image SEL
Eternal Voices
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Hits, Vols. 1-2: '60s, '70s, '80s
Various Artists
Mediterrano
Music to Watch Girls By, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Camden / Camden International / Sony BMG
Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame, Vol. 4: Sixteen Candles
Various Artists
Sixties Collection, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Going For A Song 3:53
The  Hits That Rocked the Airwaves
Various Artists
Universal 3:06
The 60's Collection
Various Artists
Going For A Song 3:53
The Hits Hot Town 3:51
No Image
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
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