pye studios


On this day in music history: January 23, 1965 - “Downtown” by Petula Clark hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written and produced by Tony Hatch, it is the biggest hit for the British pop singer and actress from Epsom, Surrey, UK. The song is inspired by a trip that Hatch takes to New York in 1964. Originally intended for The Drifters, Hatch plays the still unfinished song for Petula Clark who immediately expresses interest in it. It is recorded at Pye Studios in London on October 16, 1964 and released a few weeks later in early November. The single is an instant smash, first climbing to #2 on the UK singles chart in December (held off the top by The Beatles “I Feel Fine”), then quickly taking hold on the US charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on December 19, 1964, it will streak to the top of the chart five weeks later. The single wins Petula Clark the Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Recording in 1965. Clark re-records the song in German, French, and Italian during its initial run on the charts. She later records it again in 1976 (as a disco version), in 1984 and once again in 1988, with remixes of the original 1964 recording done in 1988, 1999, and 2003. Petula Clark’s original recording of “Downtown” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2004.