Petula Clark

Petula Clark is a snazzy lady.

Petula Clark was one of the most popular British female pop vocals during the sixties and seventies. In that time she had 15 consecutive number one hits, that’s some serious business an achievement matched by few.   While she is primarily known as a pop singer Petula also has acted in a great many movies, performed theater and even composed original scores.

Born in 1932 in Surrey England Petula was brought into this world by two nurses Leslie and Doris Clark(Leslie was a male nurse[for those sexists out there]). While not exactly being the most musical family around Petula was encourage to join the church choir at a young age and began to spread her wings vocally. Early on in her career she was known as the “British Shirley Temple” and acted in films of similar stature to her American counter part. During world war two she did a lot of work performing for the troops and shell shocked civilians alike. This earned her the honor of being the unofficial mascot of the British troops who would go so far as to paste pictures of her on their equipment prior to battle for good luck. Looking back know and knowing of the peace protests she took part in on numerous occasions during the Vietnam war it’s funny to think that she partially attained her initial fame from her picture being stuck on tanks and fighter planes. After the war she progressed on the fame trail by hosting multiple television shows then focused on her music for a few decades all the while doing movies here and there. Eventually she moved on to theater with her most highly praised performance as Maria Von Trapp in a 1981 run of The Sound of Music. To anyone who is familiar with Petula Clark it’s hilarious to imagine her playing Maria Von Trapp, she must have been so perfect for the role. The real Maria Von Trapp is quoted as saying that Petula was the best person to ever play the role, an honor that truly says it all.

Petula Clark is actually the longest running British female vocal act. Her first public performance was in 1939 and she is still recording today with her most recent release being this year(2009) and it even charted.   Seventy years is a long long time in the limelight but she’s managed to keep it together. Even stepping out for a number of years to raise her two daughters. She’s a solid person with a solid catalog to show for it. She has had hits in a dozen countries at least partially because she can perform songs in multiple languages. I find that with these older perfomers it can be tough to sift through their immense catalogs and Petula Clark is no different so no shame in getting a greatest hits album here. She has had so many great songs it’s hard to go wrong, Downtown, I Know a Place, Sign of the Times, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, Colour My World and Don’t Sleep in the Subway to name a few.

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