Petula Clark

This week in 1965, Petula Clark‘s Downtown was at No.1 on the US Singles chart. She was the UK female singer to achieve that feat since since Vera Lynn did it with Auf Wiederseh’n, Sweetheart in 1952. Petula Clark says that the song was recorded on 16 October 1964 at the Pye Studios in Marble Arch in three takes, with the second one ultimately selected. Among the session musicians who participated in the recording were Vic Flick, Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan, Bobby Graham, and Ronnie Verrell. The Breakaways are credited with the vocal accompaniment.

Downtown was released by Warner Bros. in November 1964. It found instant success in Detroit, Miami, and Washington D.C., debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at #87 on December 1964. Christmas time single releases are traditionally avoided, but Downtown proved that a hit is a hit, anytime of the year. I reached No.1 today in 1965, holding that spot for two weeks before  The Righteous BrothersYou’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin knocked it out. Disc jockey’s awarded Petula Clark’s first big hit the number two song of the year. It would be the first in a string of chart appearances that included. I Know a Place, My Love, A Sign of the Times, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, This Is My Song (by Charlie Chaplin) and Don’t Sleep in the Subway.

Today in History:

1961, Mel Blanc, who was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and many other cartoon favorites, is in a horrible car accident on a stretch of road in Los Angeles known as “Dead Man’s Curve.” Hearing the news, Roger Christian is inspired to write a song about the treacherous turn for Jan & Dean. (Video)

1962, Brian Epstein signed a management deal with The Beatles. Epstein was to receive 25 per cent of the bands gross earnings, the normal management deal was 10 per cent.

1963, American lyricist Otto Harbach died at aged 90 in New York City. He co-wrote, ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes‘, US & UK No.1 for The Platters in 1958. (Video)

1969, New Jersey state prosecutors issue a warning to US record dealers that they would be charged with distributing pornography if they were caught selling the John Lennon / Yoko Ono LPTwo Virgins‘. The front cover of the album showed the pair frontally nude, while the back cover showed them from behind. It ultimately came out with a “plain brown wrapper”. Still have your copy?

1969, The Doors appeared at Madison Square Garden, New York City, They were paid over $50,000 for the gig making them one of the highest paid acts this year.

1969, Jethro Tull play their first American show, opening for Blood, Sweat & Tearsat New York’s Fillmore East. (Video)

1976, Bob Dylan started a five week run at No.1 on the US chart with his 17th studio album Desire. The album features ‘Hurricane‘, which protests the conviction of former middleweight boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter for triple murder in 1966, arguing his innocence. (Video)

1980, A billboard was erected on Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, California to promote Pink Floyd‘s new album “The Wall“. A blank wall was pasted up and each day a brick was ‘removed’ to slowly reveal the inside spread and title of the album.

1984, Apple Computer Inc unveils its revolutionary Macintosh personal computer

2000, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young open the first tour of the full quartet in 25 years with a show at Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan.

Happy Birthday to: Zeke Carey (The Flamingos), 1933 (d. 1999); Ray Stevens, 1939; Aaron Neville, 1941; Neil Diamond, 1941; Warren Zevon, 1947 (d. 2003); John Belushi, 1949 (d. 1982)

Much More Music:

From birthday boy Warren Zevon (1947 – 2003). Let’s all celebrate with a piña colada at Trader Vic’s. (Video)

Number one today in 1970 at Sly and the family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star”. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-quoting: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” ~Helen Keller

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit