Waiting for the moment

“The Cat in the Window,” subtitled “The Bird in the Sky,” is arguably the least typical of Petula Clark’s 1960s recordings, and unsurprisingly, it’s from her Not Working With Tony Hatch period.

In search of new — in other words, not written by Hatch and/or Jackie Trent — material, she went to West Coast impresarios Charlie Koppelman and Dan Rubin, who had several braces of songwriters in tow. K&R duly sent her some songs, including two by newly-signed duo Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, recently arrived from Annandale-on-Hudson. (The mind boggles: Petula Clark singing Steely Dan?) When the first batch failed to pass muster, K&R brought in the big guns: Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, who’d hit big for the Turtles with “Happy Together,” which I’ve always argued (and correctly, I might add) was a lot more substantial than anyone thought. Gary and Alan served up “The Cat in the Window,” a brief (1:55) musing that resembled Petula’s Hatch-Trent tunes hardly at all, which may explain why it died at #26 in Billboard — and why Hatch was back on board for the next single, “The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener.”

Rather than embed a still picture this time, I’m just giving you a link to the song. You don’t need video for this one, anyway: the imagery of the lyric is more than enough to keep your brain occupied, and that last line — “You won’t find me / Don’t even try to” — is just this side of haunting.

1 comment

  1. Mark Alger »

    26 October 2012 · 6:39 am

    Obscure it may be, but it’s the song that comes to my mind whenever I hear Petula Clark’s name. And every afternoon when I come in from work to be welcomed home by — yes — a cat in the window.

    And considering the number of “hits” that never made it to #26 on the Billboard charts, I might add: no slouch, either.


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