51 Weeks: 51 Songs From The Past: Week 27: Petula Clark – Downtown

All the way back in week 10, of this feature, I asked all those that loved a Saturday night to showcase a song that got them in the mood for what many consider to be the best night of the week. Last week, I featured a song tune that featured a favourite ‘in front of the telly’ snack of mine. Of course, for many, Saturday nights also involve a trip to a place of fun, entertainment, and good times.

51 weeks 51 songs from the past poster

Feel free to help yourselves to the Popcorn left over from last week while I land the music time machine in 1964. Are you ready for a trip to Downtown?

Downtown? Why do we refer to this place as Downtown, and not Uptown? Ever since I can remember, even I have referred to it as Downtown.

Petula Clark had a worldwide hit on her hands with Downtown. Not only did the song reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.A, but it also made it to the number one spot in Canada, Germany and New Zealand. That’s quite an achievement when you learn that the writer of this song, Tony Hatch, with minutes to spare was still writing the lyrics in a bathroom before Petula went into the recording studio. Phew! I wonder if I should write my next book while on the lavatory? 🤔

In 1988, the 1964 recording of Downtown was remixed and rereleased as a disco version entitled Downtown ’88. It proved a hit across much of Europe and Austrailia. Petula had no idea that her song had been remixed and even went as far as to say that when she first heard it, she wondered who was singing it! Like the 1964 version, this version of the song became a top 10 hit in the UK.

If I had to choose, then my preference would be for the original version. Sequels, even in the movie world, don’t normally do it for me. Do you have a favourite song that has a sequel? Leave a link to it in the comments section.

Thank you to everyone who left a link to a favourite song in the comments section of last week’s post. And a big thank you to Barbara, Kat, and Ruth, who all joined in with publishing a blog post of a favourite song.

Want to join me in building up your 51 favourite songs from the past? Leave a link in the comments section below and showcase your next song.

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  1. I was 13, just entering adolescence, when this song was on the radio. Damn, those were the wonderful days America was introduced to the Beatles, Dave Clark, the Stones and so many others.

    Some remixes work, but not the disco version of this one.

  2. Such a great song, Hugh. I’m definitely all up for the original version and never actually have heard the disco version. Now that you’ve brought the remix to my attention and I’ve had a listen to it, I’d say I prefer the original – there’s just something so bright and carefree about the simple beat and melody. I do remember listening to the song quite a bit while growing up – one of those songs I’d love hearing in the middle of a warm summer. Such an interesting fact to know that Tony was finishing up the song in the bathroom. When push comes to shove, you got to shove 😀 Inspiration really comes from anywhere….so maybe you should try writing your book in the bathroom next time round 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mabel. Such lovely memories from you about this song. As for writing my next book in the Bathroom – I’m going to have to have a good think about it 😀 But, as you say, inspiration can come from anywhere.

      1. Such an upbeat song that never fails to make me want to jump about. Hehe, maybe you really should give writing in the bathroom a shot. Sitting in the bathtub writing sounds like such a relaxing activity 😀

  3. Wonderful and fun song. It reminds me when I was a kid living in San Diego in the 60s, I would hear this song and imagine the big City, lit up late with with summer sunset over the harbor. Too bad most downtowns are magnets for crime and horrible traffic these days. San Diego does have an incredible downtown, unless you’re in a hurry to get to the airport. This song will make me happy all day, Hugh!!

    1. I hope that happiness lasts for a very long time, Terri. As a young teenage boy, I would go downtown with my mates every Saturday morning. It was like ‘grown up’ shopping, although I don’t think we did much shopping. It was certainly the place to be on a Saturday morning, though.
      Thanks for sharing those memories, Terri.

  4. Thank you for choosing Petula Clark. My brother is a great fan of hers and still collects her records. I love her when she sings in French and we have lots of her french recordings.
    This is a favourite of mine called ‘Romeo” from 1961 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQIX8aJmXo4
    I still love this song and its a real ‘singalong’ one although this version here is half french/english.

  5. Wow, Hugh.memories…Probably not good for those who had to listen to me …lol I used to walk around singing Down Town all the time…. Even my dad who loved Petula probably wished I would stop 🙂

  6. I used to sing this song every Sunday night as soon as Downton Abbey started on the tv lol. I do love the song though and think that I was first introduced to it by the 1988 remix although I do like both versions equally.

    1. Took me a while, but I see the ‘Downton’ connection now. 😀 I don’t dislike the ’88 version, and can remember dancing to it, but I do prefer the original. It’s wonderful what we can do with music these days.

  7. That songs brings back a lot of memories. None of them have anything to do with a toilet, however… I’ll have to listen to it very carefully. There must be some clue!

  8. In 1964 I was eleven years old. I remember well that that year our class performed Downtown. We all had to learn the words and a dance routine! We wore pink satin mini skirts, white knee socks and little white blouses. Funny what you remember ! 💗💙💟

    1. What an array of songs/tunes, Judith. I don’t think anybody could have bet on you having all three of those records in your collection.

      I don’t mind the odd bit of classical music, but I am rather drawn to ’80s music. Being a young gay man living and working in London at the time, the music always brings back great memories. Thank goodness I’ve not written about that time…yet! 😀

      Thanks for the tunes, Judith.

    1. ‘Never on a Sunday’ reminds me of what Sunday’s were like back in the days of my childhood, Andrew. Can’t quite believe that we ate a full Sunday roast lunch and, a few hours later, would have Sunday tea that always consisted of ham salad and trifle.

        1. No, these were soft boiled eggs that we dipped soldiers into. My father would draw faces on the front of the eggs, boil them, and then we’d eat them. However, he only drew faces on the eggs on Easter Sunday morning.

  9. We loved this song in Canada as well. I forgot how pretty she was. Later my daughter used it as her theme song as she loved to go downtown!!

  10. Ohh I love this song, Hugh. I remember being drunk and dancing on a table at a local pub (must have been drunk as I rarely dance in pubs)!!
    The very first song that comes to mind that has a sequel that I really like is way too rude to link here but Eammon did the original and Frankie did the reply (which I thought hilarious) about a bitter breakup with some classic put downs that although insulting made me laugh!
    Anyway, back to a sequel song. I usually refer to the ones like Petula Clark’s as being ‘jazzed up’ from the original. The best one for me is one that I also may have chosen before (sorry if I have withh all the songs in the world but this one is so special to me) I even changed my opinion of Justin Bieber who I thougt was an arrogant little upstart, due to him urging his fans to buy this record rather than his.

    1. It’s a lovely choice, Judy, and well done to Mr Bieber for telling his fans to buy the version you have showcased. I can see why it is so special to you.

      Now, as for dancing on the table while singing ‘Downtown’, then join the ‘standing on the table while drunk and singing’ club. 😀 I’ve done it many times, although it was to Kylie rather than Petula. 😉

      By Frankie, are you referring to Frankie Goes To Hollywood?

    1. Yay! You found what I was looking for, Geoff. Uptown! Thank goodness somebody else refers to it as Uptown. I think you did share this song before, but who cares when it’s such a great one to listen to? Great video as well.
      As for Petula blanking your favourite uncle, I think it was her loss.

  11. Hugh, you gave me a big grin with this song! I loved Downtown when I was a little girl. LOL, the best I could do then was repeat Downtown over and over… When I got a rare chance to go to our (excuse for a) downtown, I wanted to know if Petula would be there. I did not know there was a disco version. Hugs.

  12. Thanks for the remix, Hugh. It was fun to watch. I don’t know about Petula, but I definitely recognized that voice!

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