With three Grammy Awards and millions of sales to her name, Petula Clark is the iconic artist behind countless huge global hits including ‘Downtown’, ‘I Know A Place’, ‘My Love’, ‘This Is My Song’ and ‘I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’. Still blessed with a continuing love for creating music and an ability to inspire audiences all over the world, her career is a story that new artists can only aspire to emulate.
The latest chapter in Petula Clark’s enduring career comes with the September 30th release of a brand new studio album titled ‘From Now On’. Glossily electronic at times yet gloriously analogue at others, it’s an album that sounds utterly of our times, without trying to be. The first single will be ‘Sacrifice My Heart’, an electronically-charged, shimmering gem of a song, where Clark’s voice is allowed to breathe freely: you can hear the joy in her performance.
You hear that mood when Clark sings ‘Miracle To Me’, another of her own compositions, written in the French mountains and embellished later by her writing on her piano. You hear it on her cover of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’, in which she gives the song a very different pair of wings. You even hear it on songs which flirt with other genres, like in the country swing of ‘Endgame’, and in the subtle dance music sensibilities of ‘Sincerely’.
“Once you say, ‘I know how to do this’, it’s time to move on to the next thing. I’m learning all the time, and it never stops. And to do new songs – it’s like having love affairs. They’re always my favourites because they’re sort of slightly unknown. I love singing the old songs, but I’ve done that. Newness is important to me. Moving on is important to me.”
There are other covers on the record too, all tackled in searching new ways. Clark was nervous about approaching Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ – they met years ago, and even sang together – but here the song gains a sly, rocky edge. Steve Winwood’s 1980 hit ‘While You See A Chance’ also gains a choir, created quite by accident by the people working in the studio.
Clark’s French connections are also explored in fascinating ways. Most notable is ‘Pour Etre Aime De Toi’, a new collaboration between her and Charles Aznavour: the latter demanding that the former fit his lyrics to her own music when they last met.
‘From Now On’ reunites Clark with John Owen Williams, the Peel session producer who mentored the careers of The Housemartins and The Proclaimers in the 1980s, and who more recently produced Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott’s current album ‘Wisdom, Laughter and Lines’ which entered the charts at #4.
A prodigious child singer who made her BBC Radio debut in 1942, Petula Clark’s career has been both multi-faceted and truly international in its nature. After scoring her first hit in 1954 with ‘The Little Shoemaker’, a simple show in Paris in 1960 with no grand plans behind it sparked success in France that paralleled the reception that she had already received back home.
Her best-known flush of flame came with a run of famous Sixties classics, many of which were written by Tony Hatch. Her ability to sing in French, Italian, German and Spanish allowed her music to be discovered around the globe – as a result, Clark has scored a staggering total of 159 Top 40 hits all around the world.
Her long list of collaborators and admirers stretch across both eras and genres – John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel, Tom Jones, Dean Martin and Paolo Nutini, to name just a few. She even introduced The Carpenters to A&M Records.
Despite such achievements, Petula Clark has also enjoyed a long and successful acting career. Highlights included starring alongside Fred Astaire in Francis Ford Coppola’s musical ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ and with Peter O’Toole in ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips’. Her experience in music and movies made a move into musical theatre a natural progression. Her lead role in the 1980 London production of ‘The Sound of Music’ resulted in the biggest advance ticket sales in British theatre history. She also starred in ‘Blood Brothers’ in New York, and in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ on both sides of the Atlantic.
Throughout her journey, Petula Clark has continued to make music on a consistent basis. Her most recent album, 2013’s ‘Lost In You’, emerged to widespread critical acclaim. The Guardian described it as “sleek and surprising” and drew comparisons with Lana Del Rey, while The Telegraph stated: “The really astonishing thing is that it sounds utterly contemporary… it could pass for the debut of some hip young singer-songwriter a quarter her age.”
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Petula Clark can also now announce details of her first full UK tour in three years. She’s set to play the following dates:
3rd – Guildford, G Live
5th – Bristol, Colston Hall
6th – Basingstoke, The Anvil
7th – High Wycombe, Wycombe Swan
9th – Cardiff, St David’s Hall
10th – Birmingham, Town Hall
11th – Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
13th – Folkestone, Leas Cliff Hall
15th – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
16th – Salisbury, City Hall
17th – Bournemouth, Pavilion Theatre
19th – Leeds, Town Hall
20th – Bridlington, The Spa Royal Hall
21st – Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
23rd – London, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
For more information visit petulafromnowon.com.