Born November 15, with “a voice as sweet as chapel bells,” Petula Clark first broke into the limelight during World War II when as a child she entertained the troops, both on radio and in concert. She is said to have performed in over 200 shows for the forces all over England before the age of nine and by war’s end, Petula Clark–the British “Shirley Temple” who had come to represent childhood itself–was so popular in England she was asked to sing at a national victory celebration at Trafalgar Square. In 1944, Petula made her first movie and has since appeared in over 30 British and American films. Born November 15, with “a voice as sweet as chapel bells,” Petula Clark first broke into the limelight during World War II when as a child she entertained the troops, both on radio and in concert. She is said to have performed in over 200 shows for the forces all over England before the age of nine and by war’s end, Petula Clark–the British “Shirley Temple” who had come to represent childhood itself–was so popular in England she was asked to sing at a national victory celebration at Trafalgar Square. In 1944, Petula made her first movie and has since appeared in over 30 British and American films.
Throughout the forties and fifties Petula was a regular guest on a vast number of radio shows and became something of a television “pioneer” in England, first appearing on experimental TV in the forties and later as host of several of her own television series during the very early years of British programming, with Pet’s Parlour being her longest running and most popular. Although she sang regularly in concert, on radio and TV all through the forties, it wasn’t until 1949 that she recorded her first song Music, Music, Music and that pretty much sums up her very prolific recording career.
She has never stopped recording — 50 plus years and over a 1,000 songs and still counting! Her first hits were children’s songs like Where Did My Snowman Go (1952) and The Little Shoemaker (1954). To date, she has sold well in excess of 68 million records.
In answer to the rock-and-roll craze of the late fifties, Petula recorded Sailor, Romeo and My Friend The Sea and was back on the charts again. In 1957, she was invited to sing at the famed Olympia theatre in France. After one song the French crowd went wild, and an entirely new career was launched.
Asked to record in French, Petula declined at first but was quickly persuaded to do so by Frenchman Claude Wolff with whom she fell madly in love – they were married in June 1961. (They have three children, daughters Barbara and Catherine and son Patrick and a granddaughter and grandson.) By the early sixties, Petula found herself reinvented as a French chanteuse, even rivaling the legendary Piaf–during Piaf’s own lifetime. (She is still classified as a “French” singer
on the shelves in French and French-Canadian record stores.) In addition to her newfound French pop star status, Petula also began to enjoy success with the songs that she had begun to record in German and Italian. By the mid-sixties she’d established herself as superstar throughout Europe with Number One tunes sung in different languages in different countries all across the Continent. (Interesting to note, each of her early European hits were with entirely different songs–a feat not duplicated by any other singer since!)
Urged by her friends in Britain to record something in English, Petula allowed Tony Hatch to visit her in Paris where he presented his new song, Downtown. Petula recorded it and the rest is music history. Downtown skyrocketed to number 1 in the USA, launching Petula’s American career and earning her a Grammy in 1964. She quickly followed with I Know A Place which went to number 3 and earned Petula her second Grammy in 1965. Numerous top 40 hits followed. All told, Pet has had 15 top 40 hits in the USA (two #1 hits). Internationally, Petula Clark has charted in the top 40 somewhere, sometime, with 159 recordings! (in her own words)
And here´s this album with this sensational chart sucess all over the world: Downtown! And this song is of course a milestone in the history of British pop …
I add thsi song in the Frechn, German and Italian version … just for fun.
Petula Cark (vocals)
unknown studio orchestra
01. True Love Never Runs Smooth (Bacharach/David) 2.13
02. Baby It’s Me (Anthony) 2.21
03. Now That You’re Gone (Ballay/Newell/Clark) 2.56
04. Tell Me (That It’s Love) (Clark/Bernet/Hatch) 2.33
05. Crying Through A Sleepless Night (Anthony) 2.26
06. In Love (Freed/Lester/Fuqua) 2.34
07. Music (Hatch) 3.10
08. Be Good To Me (Anthony/Clark) 2.04
09. This Is Goodbye (Aber/Anthony/Clark) 2.23
10. Let Me Tell You (Anthony) 2.15
11. You Belong To Me (Price/King/Stewart) 2.41
12. Downtown (Hatch) 3.07
13. Downtown (German version) 3.05
14. Downtown (French version) 3.14
15. Downtown (Italian version) 3.00