Small Voice Calling > The Voice > Streets of London – The Singles
“Let me take you by the hand…”
The version of ‘Streets of London’ that reached number 2 in the UK singles chart in January 1975 – and earned Ralph McTell a Silver Disc for record sales – was his fourth studio recording of the song.
The ‘Spiral Staircase’ version – ‘version 1’ – has never been released as a single. Transatlantic released the ‘Revisited’ version – ‘version 2’ – as a single in France in 1971, and, later, in other countries (but not in the UK).
Also in 1971, Paramount issued ‘version 3’ as a single to promote their US release of ‘You Well Meaning…’. This version was the first to be a ‘hit’, reaching number 9 in the Dutch charts in May 1972.
Eventually, Ralph was persuaded to record the song again in 1974 for release as a UK single. ‘Version 4’ became an instant hit, narrowly missing the Christmas Number 1 slot, and thrusting Ralph into the public limelight via appearances on ‘Top of the Pops’ and articles in the popular music press. The UK success of ‘Streets of London’ prompted Reprise to release the single all over the world – followed very quickly by Transatlantic and Paramount/Famous re-releasing their versions. Indeed, at one point in March 1975, all three of Ralph’s versions were in the German singles chart at the same time, as well as a German cover version by Jasmine Bonnin. Ralph’s ‘version 4’ peaked at number 8 in Germany – and reached number 20 in Australia.
A live version of ‘Streets of London’ featured on Ralph’s 1997 ‘Ralph, Albert & Sydney’ EP in the UK, and on a single released in South Africa the following year. In 2017, a version was released featuring The Crisis Choir and Annie Lennox, with proceeds going to the homeless charity, Crisis at Christmas.
Between them, these five recordings of ‘Streets of London’ have featured on singles released in at least fifteen countries on six continents.
“…and lead you through the streets of London.”
Singles and EPs
‘Streets of London’ Version 2 was released in:
Australia , Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and Spain.
‘Streets of London’ Version 3 was released in:
Australia, Canada, Holland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and USA.
‘Streets of London’ Version 4 was released in:
Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay, UK and USA.
‘Streets of London’ Live Version was released in:
South Africa and UK.
‘Streets of London’ Charity Version was released in:
UK (CD) and Worldwide (Download).
See also ‘Street Cred‘ on the Ralph, Albert & Sydney fansite.