Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Spotlight on Petula Clark

One of the sweetest and most vibrant voices to hit the American shores during the British music invasion of the 1960s was that of Petula Clark.

She was a veteran performer in Europe for more than 20 years before the Beatles, Rolling Stones, DC5 and others dominated the U.S. airwaves, often dubbed as Britain's Shirley Temple. 

During the '50s Clark recorded in French, German, Italian and Spanish, establishing herself as one of the top singers on both sides of the English Channel.

Clark, who had several pop hits in England in the early '60s, scored her first No. 1 in America in 1964 with bouyant "Downtown." She went on to record 14 consecutive Top 40 songs in the U.S.

Other Top 20 hits include No.1 "My Love" in '65, No. 3 "I Know A Place" in '64, No.3 "This Is My Song" in '67, No. 5 "Don't Sleep in the Subway" in '67, No. 9 "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" in '66, No. 15 "Kiss Me Goobye" in '67, and No. 16 "Colour My World" in '67.

Clark  won Grammy Awards for "Downtown" in '64 and "I Know A Place" the following year. She's also an accomplished composer and lyricist, with songs such as "You're the One" (a big hit for the Vogues in '65), "Just Say Goodbye," and "Colour My World."

She's also had a remarkable career in movies ("Finian's Rainbow" and "Goodbye Mr. Chips" in the '60s) and television with numerous appearances as well as her own show. 

Harry Belafonte and Petula Clark
Notably, in 1968, she made a civil rights statement during an NBC-TV  program when she put her hands on Harry Belafonte's arm while they sang "On the Path of Glory." The show's sponsor, Chrysler, demanded another take be used, with Clark and Belafonte standing apart, but she refused and the performance aired as she intended. 

Clark, who is 82, has been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986 -- and she has never been nominated. She has sold nearly 70 million records in a career that spans seven decades. Isn't it about time for Petula Clark, one of the legends in rock history,  to be recognized for her contributions?

And now for a few of Clark's hits:

Until the next time...

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