She was born November 15, 1932 in Surrey. Both of Petula Sally Olwen Clark’s parents were nurses but her father secretly wanted to be an actor and her mother was said to be a natural singer.
Petula Clark began singing professionally at the age of nine. She was popular in Britain, Canada, Europe and Australia for many years before she won recognition in the United States. Clark recorded a number of songs in Britain that were hits for other singers in the U.S. Among them, "Sailor", recorded by German singer Lolita. Around 1961, she moved to Paris as the wife of Claude Wolff, a publicity director, and had a series of hits singing in French.
In 1964, record producer Tony Hatch brought her a melody that knocked her socks off! He wrote lyrics to match and "Downtown" hit number 2 on the charts in Britain. "Downtown" entered Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 in the U.S. on December 19th, 1964. By January 23rd, 1965, it was Number 1, making Clark the first British woman of the rock era to hit the top of the charts in the States. The song won Clark a Grammy in 1965 and a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2003. Tony Hatch gave Clark another song, "I Know a Place" that went to Number 3.
One Hit After Another!
Petula Clark had 15 top 40 hits during her long career. Remember "Sign of the Times"? "Couldn’t Live Without Your Love"?
A Singer Who Could Act
Or an actress who could sing! Petula Clark sang on stage, on television and on the silver screen. She played the part of Sharon in the movie version of Finian’s Rainbow, dancing with her "father" Finian, played by Fred Astaire. She starred in a remake of Goodbye Mr. Chips with Peter O’Toole. And don’t forget the stage! Her most recent appearance was in the role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.
Petula Clark continues performing and recording and writing songs. She performed live in London on November 26th,2006 and she performed with Andy Williams at his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri. She released a new CD single, Together, a song Petula wrote and sings with Andy Williams.
You can catch up with her on her (new and improved!) website at www.PetulaClark.co.uk.