Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa

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"Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa"
Single by Gene Pitney
from the album Blue Gene
B-side"Lonely Night Dreams (Of Far Away Arms)"
ReleasedOctober 1963[1]
Gene Pitney singles chronology
"True Love Never Runs Smooth"
"Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa"
"That Girl Belongs to Yesterday"

"Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was originally a hit in 1963 for Gene Pitney.[2][3]


The song's lyrics tell of a traveling man who detours to a romance in a motel and ends up never returning home.[4] The twists of the song's lyrics (the protagonist, just 24 hours from reaching home, falls in love with a woman when he stops driving for the night, leaving his current partner twisting in the wind) are echoed in the music's tonal ambiguity, a common feature of Bacharach's constructivist style. The verse is in G major, with a lydian implication in the melody supported by the supertonic major. At the start of the chorus, an interruption of the expected cadence by the subdominant chord (C major) establishes this as the new tonic, with the remainder of the chorus centered around the submediant, dominant and subdominant chords of this key. A similar interruption at the end of the chorus converts an expected perfect cadence in the new key to a modal cadence back into G major. At the end of the song, a dominant seventh on the tonic resolves as a perfect cadence into a new key to finish the song on the subdominant chord of the principal key (C major as viewed from the perspective of a G major tonality).

Chart performance[edit]

Its success in the UK, peaking at #5,[5] enabled Pitney to become an international star. In the US, Pitney's hit peaked at #17 on the 7 December 1963 Hot 100[6][7] and #2 on the 6 December 1963 WLS Silver Dollar Survey.[8]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Jay and the Americans covered the song on their 1963 album, At the Cafe Wha?
  • Dusty Springfield covered it on her 1964 debut album A Girl Called Dusty.[9]
  • Canadian duo Ian & Sylvia covered this song on their 1965 album, Play One More.
  • Peacehaven & Telscombe F.C. Supporters covered it as Twenty Four Hours From Telscombe in 2016
  • The O'Kaysions released a version of the song on their 1968 debut album, Girl Watcher[10] and as a single in 1969.
  • It was covered by Yachts in 1980.
  • It was covered by MEO 245 in 1981.[11]
  • Claire Hamill released a version of the song in 1983.
  • Swedish singer Östen Warnerbring has made a Swedish version called "15 minuter från Eslöv" ("15 minutes from Eslöv").
  • French singer and composer Claude François made the French version (tells a somewhat different story, though the spirit remains the same) Maman chérie (Lit. "my dear Mum"). In it, instead of telling his 'future ex-girlfriend' that he met someone else, he impersonates a man who's lived a life full of parties, fun, and met a girl, made mistakes, and is too ashamed to have not listened to his parents' advice, and just like in the original, he concludes that he'll "never, never, go home again" (je ne pourrai jamais, jamais, rentrer chez nous). The song is somewhat bleaker in its tone than the original, which is the inverse of what happened when Francois's own song "My Way" was translated; Paul Anka's English lyric for this has deeper meaning than the original French version.
  • American singer and songwriter Timi Yuro covered the song, appearing on a 1995 compilation album.
  • Mari Wilson covered the song on her 2016 album Pop Deluxe[12] and features it in her live shows.
  • Randy Barlow also covered the song with a country version in 1976-77.
  • The comic radio drama Twenty Four Hours from Tulse Hill aired in 2018 on the BBC. The title is a pun on the close pronunciation of Tulsa with Tulse Hill ( a South London suburb). [13]

References in popular culture[edit]

  • Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine wrote a song that appeared on their album 101 Damnations (1990), entitled "24 Minutes from Tulse Hill" as a reference to the song. The song refers to the journey time by train to Tulse Hill, from central London.
  • The song is featured early in the film The Commitments (1991). It serves as an exhibition piece for how terrible the band And And And is, as they are playing this song at the wedding.
  • The lyrics were discussed in depth on Karl Pilkington's feature 'Song with a Story' on the XFM Ricky Gervais Radio Show.
  • In 2018, the song is used three times during the television series Castle Rock, including the first song heard in the series premiere (Gene Pitney's 1963 version) and the last song heard over the closing credits of the season one finale (Dusty Springfield's 1964 version). The underlying story of season one is captured in the lyrics: “Dearest darling, I had to write to say that I won’t be home anymore / ’Cause something happened to me while I was driving home / And I’m not the same anymore .”.[14]
  • In 1993, a UK Television commercial won awards for its use of the track, retitled and re-written as 'Twenty-four toasters to Scunthorpe'. The new lyrics were written by Advertising writer Malcolm Green, with the approval and permission of Bacharach and David. On a subsequent tour, Gene Pitney paid tribute to the commercial by being photographed at Scunthorpe United Football Club.


Less than two years later, Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks" copied part of the arrangement of the tune.[15]


  1. ^ "Gene Pitney: Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa". Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  2. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 24 - The Music Men. [Part 2]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  3. ^ Dave Austin; Jim Peterik; Cathy Austin (2010), Songwriting For Dummies, ISBN 9780470890417
  4. ^ Ian McMillan (2012-11-05). "Where exactly is 24 hours from Tulsa?". Leeds, West Yorkshire, England: The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  5. ^ "". Official Charts. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 493.
  7. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. 1963-12-07. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  8. ^ "WLS Silver Dollar Survey". 1963-12-06. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  9. ^ Serene Dominic (2003), Burt Bacharach,song by song, ISBN 9780825672804
  10. ^ "The O'Kaysions, Girl Watcher". Discogs. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  11. ^ "Meo 245 – Marching Feet (1981, Vinyl)". Discogs.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Twenty Four Hours From Tulse Hill, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama". 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  14. ^ Stephens, Emily L. (2018-09-12). "In the end, Castle Rock unlocks its potential and throws away the key". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  15. ^ "Sample: Billy Joe Royal 'Down in the Boondocks' Gene Pitney 'Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa'". Who Sampled: Exploring the DNA of Music. Retrieved May 11, 2018.