Petula Clark, 88, was shocked and saddened when she found out that her hit song “Downtown” was played seconds before the explosion of a white recreational vehicle in Nashville, Tennessee, United States on December 25, 2020. She recorded the original version of the song at the Pye Studios in London, England, United Kingdom on October 16, 1964.
Authorities have confirmed that Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, of Antioch, Nashville was the sole perpetrator of the bombing. He played a female computerized voice from his RV parked outside the AT&T transmission building on Second Avenue North in Nashville.
“This area must be evacuated now,” the voice said. “This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
The voice suddenly stopped. “Downtown” played then the RV exploded, damaging 41 businesses and injuring three civilians.
Warner was born in 1957 to Charles Bernard “Popeye” Warner and Betty C. Warner, also known as Betty Christine Lane. Charles worked for BellSouth, a telecommunications company that merged into AT&T in 2006, and died on July 5, 2011.
Like the Warners, country music legend Dolly Parton, 74, is also a Nashville native. In October 1983, she recorded her version of “Downtown” in Nashville for her 26th solo studio album “The Great Pretender.”
Clark re-recorded “Downtown” in 1976, in 1984, in 1988, in 1996 and in 2013. In October 2011, the Irish band Saw Doctors remade the song with her as a featured artist.
Born in Ewell, Surrey, England, Clark became internally known after the successful release of “Downtown.” The song was composed by Tony Hatch.
In October 1942,Clark made her radio debut while attending a BBC broadcast with her father Leslie Noah Clark. She was thereto send a message to an uncle stationed overseas but an air raid delayed the broadcast.
During the bombing, the producer asked if someone could perform to calm the agitated audience in the theater. She volunteered, sang “Mighty Lak’ a Rose,” which pleased the audience so she performed it again for the broadcast audience.