Petula Clark

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Petula Clark


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Petula Clark, CBE is an English singer, actress, and songwriter, born 15 November 1932, in Ewell, Surrey, England.

Promoted and tutored by an enthusiastic father, she had started singing professionally at the age of seven and made her radio debut aged nine. She became a familiar singing voice on wartime radio and in concerts for the troops. By the end of the 1940s she was an established singing star and she also appeared as an actress in many films of the era working with such stars as Peter Ustinov, Anthony Newley and Alec Guinness.

Petula’s first recordings were Rank promo 78’s in 1949 and her first commercial recording was “House In The Sky” / Put Your Shoes On Lucy for Columbia in 1949. Her first major recording contract was with Polygon Records in 1950 and her first chart success was in 1954 with “The Little Shoemaker”, which also got issued on 45 and 78 in the USA. A series of chart successes continued in the U.K. from the 1950s to the early 1970s including two number ones: “Sailor” and “This Is My Song”. In 1988 a remix of “Downtown” brought her back to the UK Top 10.

Her breakthrough on the Continent was in 1957 with “With All My Heart“ hitting the upper reaches of the Dutch and Belgian charts, and she had her first French language hit the same year with “Histoire d'un amour”. Petula married Frenchman Claude Wolff on 8 June 1961, by which time she was already one of France’s top female singers. Throughout the 1960s she had big hits in France with songs such as “Romeo”, “Ya ya twist” “Coeur blessé“ “Chariot” “Que fait tu là Petula" and “C’est ma chanson”.

In 1962, the German language only song “Monsieur” reached number one on the German charts and achieved gold record status there. She also topped the charts in Italy and Spain with songs sung in the respective languages.

In 1965 Petula finally found success in America with her number one, double Grammy award winning song “Downtown”. She won another Grammy for the follow up “I Know A Place” and in 1966 she became the first British female singer to top the American charts twice with “My Love”. She was voted Top Female Singer by Cashbox music trade magazine in 1966, and again in 1968 by Playboy magazine. Petula hit the American Top 40 15 times in three years.

Petula has continued to record and tour throughout the world. In 2012 her song “Cut Copy Me” hit the Belgian pop charts and a dance remix hit the club charts all over Europe. Petula was back on the British album charts in 2013 with “Lost In You” and in 2016 with “From Now On“. Her French-Canadian album “Vu d’ici” peaked at #39 on the iTunes daily national chart in Canada in 2018, and in 2019, a greatest hits album reached the physical album and sales chart in the U.K. seventy years after her first record release.

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Petula Clark CBE (born 15 November 1932) is a British singer, actress, and songwriter. She started her professional career as a child performer and has had the longest career of any British entertainer, spanning more than 85 years. Clark's professional career began during the Second World War as a child entertainer on BBC Radio. In 1954 she charted with "The Little Shoemaker", the first of her big UK hits, and within two years she began recording in French. Her international successes have included "Prends mon coeur", "Sailor" (a UK number one), "Romeo", and "Chariot". Hits in German, Italian and Spanish followed. In late 1964 Clark's success extended to the United States with a four-year run of career-defining, often upbeat singles, many written or co-written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. These include her signature song "Downtown" (US number one), "I Know a Place", "My Love" (US number one), "A Sign of the Times", "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love", "Who Am I", "Colour My World", "This Is My Song" (by Charlie Chaplin; a UK number one), "Don't Sleep in the Subway", "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" and "Kiss Me Goodbye". Between January 1965 and April 1968 Clark charted with nine US Top 20 hits in the US, where she was sometimes called "the First Lady of the British Invasion". Clark has sold more than 70 million records. She has also enjoyed success in the musical film Finian's Rainbow, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a musical, and in the stage musicals The Sound of Music, Blood Brothers, Sunset Boulevard and Mary Poppins.