The year was 1964, and Petula Clark was already an established singer in the UK, France, Italy, and German-speaking territories. However, only then did she get a record deal in the US. Clark’s hit song “Downtown” was the one that started it all, becoming her first hit in the US and the world over.
The song was written and produced by Tony Hatch, who wrote most of Clark’s material during the 1960s. It deals with city life, a popular theme at the time. “Downtown” became an instant success, reaching #1 in Canada, West Germany, New Zealand, and the US Billboard Hot 100. It also made it to #2 in the UK Singles Charts.
Clark came to record “Downtown” when she was focused on singing in French, Italian, and German. Hatch suggested that she should start recording in English again. Clark wasn’t convinced, but when Hatch played the tune for her on the piano, she was hooked. The song needed a lyric to match its tune, and Hatch delivered. “Downtown” won a Grammy in 1965 for Best Rock & Roll Recording, making Clark the first British singer to win a Grammy. In 2003, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
According to some YouTube comments, 1964 was a different time, a better time. Then, people were socially and emotionally healthier, as reflected in the audience’s reaction to Clark’s performance of “Downtown.” The commenters praised Clark’s beautiful voice and angelic quality. They also pointed out how the song takes you back to better days.
“Downtown” was a product of its time, but it still resonates with people today. It’s a reminder that things weren’t always perfect, but they were certainly better in some ways. Perhaps that’s why the song has endured for so long.
If you want to experience “Downtown” for yourself, watch the video of Clark’s performance. Seeing her interact with a live audience and perform this classic song is a treat. Share it with your friends and family, and take a trip down memory lane together.