Downtown (Petula Clark song)
“Downtown” was written by Tony Hatch and recorded by Petula Clark in 1964. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart. Hatch received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. The Drifters recorded a cover version of the song for Julie Grant in 1964, which Grant turned down.
About Downtown (Petula Clark song) in brief
“Downtown” was written by Tony Hatch and recorded by Petula Clark in 1964. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart. Hatch received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. The song has been covered by many singers, including Dolly Parton, Emma Bunton and The Saw Doctors. The Drifters recorded a cover version of the song for Julie Grant in 1964, which Grant turned down. It has been said that Hatch gave Julie Grant the opportunity to record the song, but this does not accord with Hatch’s statement that he played it to Clark within a few days of conceiving the melody and only completed the song’s lyrics after Clark had asked to record it. Hatch has subsequently denied originally offering the song to theDrifters. The track was recorded on 16 October 1964 at the Pye Studios in Marble Arch. The session personnel for the recording of \”Downtown\” were assembled in Studio One of Pye Recording Studios and included eight violinists, two violists, four trumpeters and four trombonists, five woodwind players, percussionists and a pianist. Ronnie Verick, Vic Flick, Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan, provided the vocal accompaniment. The Breakaways provided the accompaniment for the vocal track, while Bobby Graham was credited as being the drummer on the session. According to Petula, Clark’s assistant Bob Leaper conducted the session at the studio. The most likely vocal track from the session is an instrumental track, consisting of an instrumental and most likely a vocal and vocal backing track, most likely from a backing track from a recording session from a few years earlier.
It is not known if this is the case, as the track is said to be an extended version of an earlier version of ‘Downtown’ which was not recorded at the same time as the original recording. It was released as a single in November 1964, and went on to become a worldwide hit. The single was produced by Alan A. Freeman, who worked with Clark on her 1961 #1 hit ‘Sailor’ In 1963 Freeman asked Hatch to take over as Clark’s regular producer. Hatch subsequently produced five English-language singles for Clark, none of which charted. In the autumn of 1964 Hatch made his first visit to New York City, spending three days there in search of material from music publishers for the artists he was producing. He was standing on the corner of 48th Street waiting for the traffic lights to change, looking towards Times Square when \”the melody first came to me, just as the neon signs went on. \”Hatch envisioned his embryonic composition as a sort of doo wop R&B song. He had scored his biggest success to date with The Searchers’ ‘Sugar and Spice’ modelled on The Dr ifters’ hit ‘Sweets for My Sweet’ Hatch said of his arrangement: ‘The trick was to make a giant orchestra sound like a rock band… but not alienate Pet’s older core audience’
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