Dustbury kindly reminded me about a month ago that Petula Clark, who most Americans know from her 1964 song Downtown [listen], and her subsequent hits, was actually about a decade older than the Beatles and the others from the British invasion.

She had hits on the British charts going back to 1954. Her 1961 song Sailor not only went to #1 in the UK, it went to #2 in South Africa, and #12 in Belgium. Another hit from that same year was Romeo [listen], which was a hit in Australia and Norway, to name a couple places.

Love this Wikipedia post about her song, This Is My Song [listen], written by Charles Chaplin. (Yes, THAT Chaplin.) “Clark recorded the song not only in English but in French [listen]…, German…, and Italian… In fact Clark did not wish to record the song in English as she disliked the deliberately old fashioned lyrics which Chaplin refused to modify; however after the translated versions of the song had been recorded there happened to be some time remaining on the session…

“Clark had assumed her recording… would only be used as an album track; on learning of Pye Records plan to release the track as a single she attempted to block its release. Instead, she found herself atop the UK charts for the first time in six years…” She didn’t dislike the song, merely thought it wasn’t commercially viable.

Dustbury also promised some links to her tunes. I integrated some above. Also:
The Cat in the Window
You’re the One
UPDATE: Dustbury’s day of post.

Petula Clark turns 80 today.

6 Responses to “Petula Clark is 80”

  • I love her music and did not know she was not in the same generation as the Beatles….turning 80…wow! Always something fascinating here Rog.

  • ann nz says:

    wow 80!!!! used to listen to her, But I am old and forget, can’t remember the title.

    Yesterday, the two men at home were discussing abt the text scandal, and said, surely Obama knew.

  • I didn’t realize Pet Clark went that far back, I always think of her as a 1960s phenomenon. But “Downtown” is one of a small handful of hit songs about going TO the City for positive reasons. The vast majority of songs preach moving away from urban areas, as if that was a smart thing to do.

    …Ann nz: Text scandal? Obama knew? Huh? Missed that one completely.

  • Roger, of course I love Petula Clark – she and Dusty Springfield were my two fave Brit exports in the 60s. I had never heard her recording of the Chaplin song. I understand why she was reluctant, and also I hear some inflections that aren’t “Pet-like,” perhaps because she was just off singing in other languages. But it is a lovely recording. Funny how singers sometimes aren’t the best judge of what the public wants to hear.

    My favorite Chaplin song is, of course, “Smile.” Aaaaaah… Amy

  • Goodness me where do the years go, I can still remember Downtown!

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