Tag Archives: Petula Clark

Take You “Downtown”: A Top 40 Travelogue

Top of the "Shop".

Top of the “Shop”.

If you’re a big fan of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, you likely know that their track with Ed Sheeran, “Growing Up”, is at six million plays on YouTube and two million streams on SoundCloud, where you can download it for free. With a substantial total through both services, radio has also welcomed the track, launching it into the top 40 at two different formats without any sort of paid sales data or a large airplay push. That strategy is most likely in place due to the official first release (and second overall single) from the duo’s forthcoming set, titled “Downtown”, going to radio next week.

As Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars‘s “Uptown Funk” was climbing the charts, I revisited all the “uptown” titles to rank on the radio, so I figured that it was only fitting to do the same for the “downtown” titles. No matter which way you’re headed, there is a great list of music to enjoy. Let’s travel on and examine the picks of the pop radio listing, shall we?

Hot 100 (pre-1973)
“Downtown”, Petula Clark (#1, 1965)

If the 2015 “Downtown” doesn’t become a classic, we’ll always have this one to look back on. English singer Clark just turned 22 when her first U.S. single entered the charts and it was a smash, spending two weeks at #1 in January 1965. “My Love” followed it to the top for two weeks in 1966. She last reached the Hot 100 in 1981.

Clark’s signature song was parodied by comedy star Allan Sherman as “Crazy Downtown”, which became his second and final top 40 hit. It peaked at #40 on the Hot 100 about three months after her song peaked, though it rose to #25 on Cashbox.

Radio & Records
“Downtown Life”, Daryl Hall and John Oates (#32, 1988)

This “Downtown” title was the third single from the duo’s Ooh Yeah! album, the same one that also gave them their last top five single ever, “Everything Your Heart Desires”. It barely missed the top 30 during the fourth quarter of 1988, giving the two guys their last top 40 hit of the 80’s. They would return in the fall of 1990.

“Downtown”, One 2 Many (#29, 1989)

You may be asking, who? The late 80’s were full of these kinds of international acts, this trio being from Norway, who landed in the top 40 for a brief few weeks. Though their album and single were successful in their native country, they did very little here, and the trio broke up in the middle of the promotional run for the set.

“Downtown Train”, Rod Stewart (#1, 1990)

Originally released by Tom Waits on his 1985 album Rain Dogs, several covers of his song charted nationally, including a minor one by Patty Smyth in 1987. Stewart’s version, taken from a greatest hits set, spent one week at the top of the pop radio chart in January 1990 and turned into one of his biggest singles of that decade.

“Downtown”, SWV (#37, 1993)

After three successful top five radio singles from their It’s About Time album, including the #1 song “Weak”, the female trio out of New York City couldn’t lift their fourth release to the same heights. However, it was a chart-topping R&B hit for seven weeks as one half of a double a-side single with “Right Here/Human Nature”.

“Downtown Venus”, P.M. Dawn (#19, 1995)

Brothers Attrell and Jarrett Cordes, originally from New Jersey, comfortably found a place at radio beginning in 1991 with such songs as “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss” and “I’d Die Without You”, taken from soundtrack to the movie Boomerang. By the time this single appeared on the radio charts in 1995, their career was fading.

Have a favorite song from the tracks listed above? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wherefore Chart Thou, Romeo? The Star-Crossed Singles

They'll fight for this "Love".

Shakin’ with Shakespeare.

The British band Lawson recently made it up to #6 in the United Kingdom with their single “Brokenhearted”, which features B.O.B. and is included on a forthcoming album. Now, the boys have a second single out, the power pop song that is “Juliet”. It’s out in the U.K. on October 13. Seems that the quartet had a little inspiration from ol’ William Shakespeare; Juliet, a main protagonist in the play Romeo And Juliet, is one of the most memorable characters in written history. So, as you might expect, she’s also been written into a handful of hit songs. Yet, her lover, Romeo, might be just a little bit jealous if she’s getting all the attention from the music makers of the world. So, who wins this single battle of the sweethearts? Drink down this look at the competition on both sides of the pond:

UNITED STATES
In the U.S., there’s been six top 40 hits since the Hot 100’s been around that mention either Romeo himself or the pair together. (Sorry, Juliet!) They come from three different decades, although many of them have become obscure over the years given some of these acts’ diminished careers. Remember any of these?

“Romeo’s Tune”, Steve Forbert (#11, 1980)
“Romeo”, Dino (#6, 1990)

“Tune” was Mississippi-born Forbert’s only top 40 hit; his followup made it to a lowly #85 later in 1980. Dino would continue to chart until 1993, when he scored with a cover of “Ooh Child”.

“(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet”, The Reflections (#6, 1964)
“Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet, Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#1, 1969)
“Romeo & Juliet”, Stacy Earl featuring The Wild Pair (#27, 1992)
“Romeo And Juliet”, Sylk-E. Fyne featuring Chill (#6, 1998)

The Reflections never had a single as big as their first, but an additional two made the lower region of the Hot 100. Conductor and producer Mancini made the Hot 100 a handful of other times, most notably with a top 20 version of the theme from Love Story in 1971. Earl charted with one more non-top 40 single after this before her charting days were over thanks to a musical shift with more rock and rap. Both Sylk-E. Fyne and Chill remain one-hit wonders and that won’t change anytime soon.

In total, all six songs mention Romeo, while only four mention Juliet. Looks like the guy beats the gal in this race, although it is close.

UNITED KINGDOM
In the U.K., we raise it up to nine songs to officially make the top 40 between 1957 and now on the Official Singles Chart. Interestingly enough, nothing from the U.S. crossed over to the U.K. and vice versa, although some of the same act names pop up again in different incarnations. Hopefully, there weren’t any legal troubles along the way. Let’s see how the English do when it comes to Mr. William’s words:

“You You Romeo”, Shirley Bassey (#29, 1957)
“Romeo”, Petula Clark (#3, 1961)
“Romeo”, Mr. Big (#4, 1977)
“Romeo Me”, Sleeper (#39, 1997)
“Romeo”, Basement Jaxx (#6, 2001)
“Romeo Dunn”, Romeo (#3, 2002)

Bassey was yet to see her biggest success in the U.K. at that point, including two number-one singles in 1959 and 1961, respectively. Clark continued to enjoy pretty consistent success until the end of that decade. Not to be confused with the U.S. band, the U.K. Mr. Big only had other one charting single after their “Romeo” which just dented the top 40. Sleeper‘s single was the last of seven top 40 hits in a row, all charted in the 90’s. Basement Jaxx had a string of moderate charters following their hit and last made the top ten in 2005 with “Oh My Gosh”. The U.K. Romeo had top ten singles in a row, including “Dunn”, before the label he was on filed for bankruptcy.

“Romeo And Juliet”, Dire Straits (#8, 1981)

Though this single never entered the Hot 100, the band would return and in a big way with the #1 “Money For Nothing” from 1985.

“Juliet”, The Four Pennies (#1, 1964)
“Juliet (Keep That In Mind)”, Thea Gilmore (#35, 2003)

The British quartet never made it to the top ten again, although they charted in the top 40 until 1966. They never made it to the Hot 100. Gilmore released a followup that charted at #50, and would never go as high on the charts since then.

Looks like Juliet didn’t fare any better over here. Seven for Romeo, a mere three for Juliet. Well, Lawson will probably bring that number up to four come October. The majority of their songs have gone top ten in that territory, so potentially expect the same with “Juliet”. The ending of the play may be depressing, but the charts don’t have to be… or do they?

What’s your favorite single about our dear Romeo and/or Juliet? Comment below, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (April 2)

Can you "Dig" it?

They’re not “Done” yet.

This week’s crop of new releases is looking perry, perry nice, if you know what I mean. Here they are for the week of April 2:

  • This week’s biggest new release comes from the trio of siblings called The Band Perry. Their sophomore album, Pioneer, is chock full of more hit singles, like the former #1 Country song “Better Dig Two” and second release “Done.” Look for it to have a good shot of being next week’s top debut. (iTunes)
  • Like the Red Sox and baked beans, these guys just scream Boston. Former boy band, now man band New Kids On The Block are out with 10, featuring the single “Remix (I Like The)”. (iTunes)
  • Controversial rapper Tyler, The Creator puts out his third album today, Wolf. (iTunes)
  • A special tribute album to the late John Denver, entitled The Music Is You, rolls into stores today, featuring remakes by Dave Matthews, Train and more.  (iTunes)
  • The fifth studio album from Country singer Gretchen Wilson is released this week, Right On Time. She’s still independent, releasing on her own Redneck Records. (iTunes)
  • Metal band Killswitch Engage put out their first album since 2009, Disarm The Descent. First single “In Due Time” is at Active Rock radio now. (iTunes)
  • The #1 song on Christian CHR radio right now belongs to trio Hawk Nelson. “Words” comes from their new studio album Made. (iTunes)
  • 80-year-old (!) Petula Clark, best known for hits like “Downtown” and “My Love” in the 1960’s, is out with Lost In You. It recently hit the top 40 on the album chart in the United Kingdom. (iTunes)
  • Rockers Alkaline Trio proclaim that My Shame Is True, their first album in two years. (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

It’s Paisley vs. Paramore next week — the Bradster goes up against the band, but who will triumph? A preview is coming in seven!

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