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Petula Clark

The most commercially successful female singer in British chart history, Petula Clark was born November 15, 1932 in Epsom, England. Trained to sing by her soprano mother, Clark embarked on a stage career at the age of seven; soon she was a fixture on British radio programs, and began hosting her own regular show, Pet's Parlour -- a series spotlighting patriotic songs designed to boost the morale of wartime audiences -- at the tender age of 11.

After entertaining British troops alongside fellow child stars Julie Andrews and Anthony Newley, Clark made her film debut with A Medal for the General in 1944. By the dawn of the '50s she was a superstar throughout the U.K., with a résumé of close to two-dozen films; 1954's "The Little Shoemaker" was her first Top 20 single, while 1960's "Sailor" was her first chart-topper. Still, Clark struggled with her inability to shed her adolescent image. After selling over a million copies of 1961's "Romeo," she married and relocated to France, establishing a strong fan base there on the strength of hits including "Ya-Ya Twist," "Chariot," and "Monsieur," which spotlighted a new, more sophisticated pop sound anchored by her crystalline vocals.

Riding the wave of the British Invasion, Clark was finally able to penetrate the U.S. market in 1964 with the Grammy-winning "Downtown," the first single by a British woman ever to reach number one on the American pop charts. It was also the first in a series of American Top Ten hits (most written and arranged by Tony Hatch) that also included 1965's "I Know a Place" and 1966's "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love," and the number one smash "My Love." At the same time, she remained a huge star throughout Europe, topping the British charts in 1967 with "This Is My Song," taken from the film A Countess from Hong Kong. In addition to hosting her own BBC series, she also starred in the 1968 NBC television special Petula, which triggered controversy when sponsors requested that a segment with guest Harry Belafonte be cut in deference to Southern affiliates; ultimately, the show aired in its intended form.

As the '60s drew to a close, Clark's commercial stature slipped, although singles like "Don't Sleep on the Subway," "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener," and "Kiss Me Goodbye" still charted on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1968, she revived her film career by starring in Finian's Rainbow, followed a year later by Goodbye, Mr. Chips. In later years, Clark focused primarily on international touring, headlining the 1981 London revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music; after starring in the 1990 musical Someone Like You, which she also co-wrote, she made her Broadway debut in Blood Brothers in 1993. Additionally, in 1988, an acid house remix of "Downtown" reached the U.K. Top Ten, another honor for the female singer awarded the most gold records in British pop history.

Throughout the 2000s Clark toured fairly steadily across the globe. Her 2002 shows in France at the Olympia were recorded and released on CD and DVD, but no new studio recordings were forthcoming until she teamed with Irish band the Saw Doctors for a new version of "Downtown" in 2011. Soon after, she began working with producer John Williams on an album. Made up of newly written songs and covers, as well as a new take on "Downtown," Lost in You was issued in early 2013. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Why am I thinking of Seinfeld?... . .
Her album, Downtown was one of the first albums that I stole from my mom and wouldn't give it back. It was 1969 and I was 14 years old. She is still one of my all time favorites.
She is in the top 10 oldest living rock/roll singers.
we're pregnant
Play her music allthe time, many great memories.
Play her music all the time, many great memories.
Love You baby! First stuff when you're young, sweet and mellow guide you into innocence so to speak
Great voice--alway s loved Don't Sleep in the Subway...and of course, Downtown.
Super-Badd Super-Kool Super-Star Soul-Sissta
H-Town~Groov i n Mo-City Down With-It
LOVE'S Disciple*978 * ~ 6 m 1 4 y ~
I always think of my brother when I hear Downtown he liked that song and always liked going dawntawn in Pittsburgh he died
Petulant is my Angel!
Enjoyed her singing on radio and in films.
I can't go downtown - it's too snowy
Can't you bloody count!only makes her 81in the year 2013
time's running out for $2 subs { please don't sleep in the SUBWAY }
Some voices transcend time. i rest my case.
This is one of the people who made wonderful music I've been listening to miss Clark for a long time her music is timeless she was and is so cool love her music
My favorite song by Petula Clark: TWO RIVERS! Disc 1, Track 12! Beautifully romantic!
I think its great that even though she is as old as my mom who is in a retirement home, she is spry enough to perpetuate her art and talent. You go girl!!!
Cute as can be. Loved all her songs!
Meatball plus drink $4
don't sleep in the SUBWAY...jus t eat your sub and leave
Her voice is very enchanting. Good listening -{~_~}-
tgonzalez715
I've always thought of down town as an interesting place. So when I came of age I used to go to west 4th street on the A train and found a different and wonderful world.
johnharris48
One of my all time favorites.Wo n d e r f u l music and terrific voice..
builder_bob5 0 4
hey Bob, I had the pleasure of meeting her backstage while working at the Sullivan Theatre in the 70's. a very gracious lady- took my breath away listening to her. sorry, no Starbucks
bob.gilberts o n 1
If only one could meet Pet tomorrow at a Starbucks and have coffee...... . . . . . . . .
I LOVE YOU,PET
A great sound...a vital part of the 60's.....Tha n k you Petula for all the memories.... .
She was one of a kind, I love Petula.
fsuwolverine 6 7
Grew up with Petula Clark. My Love is my favorite but I love all her music. My best to her and to all her fans.
Pet always sings nice songs
great song...very memorable & her beautiful vivacious voice even makes it more...love that music too!
johnharris48
One of my all time favorite singers..I'l l meet you Downtown Petula
edwardlleren a 5
Petula, your just the bomb!!!
I loved seeing her and Dean Martin singing together. She and Dino were two of my very favorites.
t_belot
You have to skate to Downtown!
melmur18
A classy act on both sides of the Atlantic!!!!
Please play more songs by Petula Clark. I love her songs!
I don't understand how this off key performance made it's way into the ranks of the previous artists to grace this station. It was shockingly off enough to draw my attention to the computer to see who was singing. I am shocked as I always liked her voice. perhaps it is the song.
Downtown has always been one of my favorite songs for a pick-me-up if I'm feeling down! Who can resist Pet Clark's invitation to come downtown and be happy again?
johnnywowk
A cute looking lady with a great song!
pablo917
petula sound like fresh air on my ears thank you
nlorchard
She was just one of the absolute best...and really takes me back to the 60s.
bgmakriswork
Great voice, amd so very under appreciated. . .
dgraber460
Great voice, and pretty dang good recording/st u d i o work for the time period. Good stuff!
jhunput
Odd thing is that if you want to hear Pet Clark songs, you should create Cilla Black Radio. Pet Clark radio produces lead-off Clark song, and then there's a disparate collection of third-rate groups, Motown divas and various Beatles numbers.
mebarr_77042
It is not the memory of good times it brings, but the quality of her talent. It is good to liten to artist of that time period.
One of my favorites. Does anyone remember Round every Corner? Don't hear that one very much.
stalkerda
A distinctive voice from a time when lyrics were important. A far cry from today.
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