When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown
It sounds like something from a thriller — the cheery, discordant tune playing over the creepy scene that portends bad things ahead (see “Stuck in the Middle with You” from “Reservoir Dogs,” “Hip to be Square” from “American Psycho” and many others).
Seconds later, the blast ripped through a downtown Nashville block, injuring at least eight people and damaging more than 40 buildings.
But the tune, which climbed the charts during the 1964 Christmas season, celebrates the buzz of urban nightlife everywhere: neon lights, crowded sidewalks, music spilling from cafes and nightclubs.
Its bright melody also masks an undercurrent of melancholy. “You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares,” it promises. “Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you.”
“Of all the thousands of songs – why this one?” she wrote. “Of course, the opening lyric is ‘When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go Downtown.’ But millions of people all over the world have been uplifted by this joyful song. Perhaps you can read something else into these words – depending on your state of mind.”
It’s not clear why Warner chose “Downtown” as his swan song. Did the tune speak to him in some way? Was it just intended as a bitter joke? We may never know.
But some people in Nashville, and elsewhere, may never hear the song the same way again.