Petula Clark, whose song Downtown established her as part of the British Invasion, recently released an album of tunes old and new and spoke to CBC Radio about her life and her songs.
Lost in You includes a cover of her international hit that reached no. 1 in the Billboard charts, but this version of Downtown is softer and tinged with melancholy.
In a wide-ranging feature interview with host Michael Enright, she talks about what it was like to re-record Downtown five decades after its first release and about her career in film opposite stars like Fred Astaire and Peter O’Toole.
She also spoke of her connections to Canada, including her experience in 1969, when she was distressed after a bilingual performance at Place des Arts, when the audience booed at the English songs. After the concert, she dropped in on John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who were holding their bed-in for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and ended up singing back-up vocals on Give Peace a Chance.
Clark also lamented that she never met one of her biggest fans in Canada, the piano virtuoso, Glenn Gould.
“I would have loved to have met him because I’ve read so much about him since and I carry his Bach recordings around with me everywhere,” she said.
Petula Clark’s career has spanned more than seven decades. Her first performance at the age of eight was on BBC Radio and she was a child star who performed for British troops during the Second World War. On VE Day, she was on stage during the celebrations in Trafalgar Square. By the age of 23, she was a radio, stage and screen star.
She married a Frenchman, Claude Wolff—who is still her manager—and became a sensation across Europe, singing in four additional languages: French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Michael Enright’s full interview with Petula Clark can be heard on The Sunday Edition.