Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't Sleep In The Subway - Petula Clark

I always thought this song sprang full blown from the Broadway musical "Subways Are For Sleeping", but alas, I was wrong........again.

The Earworm placed this song in my head and, in turn, it brought forth a flowery chum-bucket of memories.

This was written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent to be recorded by Petula Clark and released in April of 1967 on Pye Records in GB.
Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch

Hatch and Trent were a songwriting team from Great Britain who arrived a bit before and then rode the crest of the "First British Invasion".

Hatch made a name for himself as a writer, arranger, producer and keyboardist for many well known performers including Clark, The Searchers, Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Pat Boone and many others. He also wrote under several names during this time including Mark Anthony and Fred Nightingale.

The song, length just under three minutes, contains a textbook of musical styles from pop, to classical and symphonic. The chord progression, and I strummed it with the guitar to see if it was true, (it was) is based on the familiar baroque piece "Pachelbels Cannon.

The chorus employs a Beach Boy type melody and then breaks into a symphonic series of  wails to be followed with Pets' lovely intonations.

According to the songs co-writer Trent, the title lyric was suggested by the 1961-62 Broadway musical "Subways Are For Sleeping", with book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (who provided the book and screenplay from that timeless movie, "Singin' In The Rain") and music by the ubiquitous Julie Styne. (I knew we'd get a Golden Age American Songbook reference in here some how.)

In his book "American Popular Songs", Alec Wilder states one of his favorite Styne songs is "Time After Time" from a forgettable 1947 movie "It Happened in Brooklyn."

The lyrics tell the story of someone advising her sweetheart against storming out after an argument built on "silly pride" and asks him to comeback. "Don't sleep in the subway, darling. Don't stand in the pouring rain."...are words of advice we should all heed.

Petula Clark always stymied me. Who was she?  A "bird" (the English slang word of the day for "girl")? Not really. She always appeared a bit older then George Harrison, Gerry Marsden, David Bowie or Mick Jagger. Yet, with her short skirt and knee length white vinyl go-go  boots, was always lumped together with that gang from Great Britain that liberated our record players for so many years and became known as "The First Lady" of the British Invasion.
Petula advising us not to sleep in the tube.

Her lineage with the English public went back at least twenty years when she was an entertainer with the BBC during World War 2. She was so popular a comic strip was created featuring her. She later went on to record many records in French as well as English having success with such songs as "Baby Lover", "The Little Shoemaker" and "Prends Mon Coer".

During the 1960's her popularity exploded worldwide with such upbeat hits as "Downtown", I Know a Place". "My Love" and "A Sign of the Times", and she has sold more then 68 million records in her career.

She appeared in many movies, my favorite being Sharon in the last movie Fred Astaire ever made, the Hollywood version of "Finians Rainbow"

She will always look and sound like a million bucks in my minds ear and eye.

More from the Earworm tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment