The role of Downtown, by singer Petula Clark

March 19, 2010

Yesterday I was watching TV and they had a special on music of the 60’s. There were some groups, but then they showed this song from Petula Clark, according to the documentary she was part of the British invasion. The song was an international hit – #1 in the US – early in 1965. I have never put in this blog a video, and although this one is quite cheesy I think is interesting. It also helps me imagine the kind of downtown that the citizens of Vallejo, CA had in their mind when they decided to rebuild the Downtown in 1959 and early 60’s.

Bellow I paste the lyrics. The reason why I’m putting this is because is a relic of the American urban culture. With the exception of a few cities, nobody goes out anymore to Downtown. In Europe it’s not the same as in the past, but the Downtown feeling has survived better because of lesser use of the car. Anyways, in Europe and USA, in the late 1960’s the big urban sprawl was on its way, and at that time still people went out to the center of the city. Some say that there is a revival of the downtown in the U.S., let’s see what happens.

Downtown

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go – downtown
When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know – downtown
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown – no finer place, for sure
Downtown – everything’s waiting for you

Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows – downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close – downtown
Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You’ll be dancing with him too before the night is over
Happy again

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, where all the lights are bright
Downtown – waiting for you tonight
Downtown – you’re gonna be all right now

[Instrumental break]

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along

So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown – don’t wait a minute for more
Downtown – everything’s waiting for you

Downtown, downtown, downtown, downtown …

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2 Responses to “The role of Downtown, by singer Petula Clark”

  1. tris Says:

    It’s actually… “don’t wait a minute more” as Petula herself corrected me when I sang a few lines with her at a concert in Aberdeen in 2008.

    I’d been happily singing the line as you have it printed until then…. :¬)

    But there… sorry to be picky. I read that Petula says that she thinks of Downtown Tokyo when she sings it… the lights are certainly much brighter there!

  2. carlos9900 Says:

    Tris, thank you very much for your input and experience! It’s corrected. Well, I’m a little sad to know that she thinks about great Tokyo, I though she would be thinking about her own town. Thank you.


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