Streets of London (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"Streets of London" is a song written by Ralph McTell. It was first recorded for McTell's 1969 album Spiral Staircase but was not released in the United Kingdom as a single until 1974.

Background[edit]

The song was inspired by McTell's experiences busking and hitchhiking throughout Europe, especially in Paris and the individual stories are taken from Parisians – McTell was originally going to call the song Streets of Paris;[1] eventually London was chosen because he realised he was singing about London.[2] The song contrasts the common problems of everyday people with those of the homeless, lonely, elderly, ignored and forgotten members of society.

Composition[edit]

McTell left the song off his debut album, Eight Frames a Second, since he regarded it as too depressing, and did not record it until persuaded by his producer, Gus Dudgeon, for his second album in 1969. A re-recorded version charted in the Netherlands in April 1972, notching up to #9 the next month.[3] McTell re-recorded it for the UK single release in 1974. McTell played the song in a fingerpicking style with an AABA chord progression.[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

It was his greatest commercial success, reaching number two in the UK singles chart, at one point selling 90,000 copies a day[5] and winning him the 1974 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically and a Silver disc for record sales.[6]

References[edit]