100 Great Songs From The British Invasion: ‘Downtown’- Petula Clark. While it wasn’t until late in 1964 that Petula Clark had success in the United States with what became her ‘signature’ song- ‘Downtown’- which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the age of 32- she had been around in England as first a child entertainer since World War II. Petula had appeared on radio, television and film before she had her first hit recording in the UK in 1954. Oddly enough her career in Britain was floundering in 1964- when composer-arranger Tony Hatch played her an incomplete song he was writing that was inspired by his recent trip to New York City. Clark liked it and said if he could write lyrics as good as the melody he had there- she’d record it. So Tony Hatch finished the song. They didn’t realize what they had when the single was released- but it would change the lives of both Clark and Hatch- when it became a big worldwide hit. A Warner Bros. executive heard the song while in London and acquired the rights for the US- and it went to #1 in the US in January 1965. This would launch a four year run of hits for Clark- with Hatch writing most of her hits. With ‘Downtown”- Petula Clark became the first woman from the UK to have a #1 hit in the US during the rock and roll era. Petula Clark is still alive, active and going strong at the age of 88.
Single: ‘Downtown’- Petula Clark/ Written by Tony Hatch / Recorded October 16, 1964/ Time: 3:05/ Produced by Tony Hatch/ Released November 1964/ Peaked at #2 in UK Singles Chart, #1 in US Billboard Hot 100.