Top 10 Petula Clark Songs

Petula Clark Songs

Petula Clark was born and raised out of Surrey, England in 1932 and saw her entertainment career begin in 1940, during the era of the Second World War when she was still just a child. She performed as an actress and singing vocalist on the nation’s BBC Radio. Between acting, singing, and song composition, Clark has been charming the critics and fans worldwide for eighty years. She was dubbed as the First Lady of the infamous British Invasion that rocked the North American music charts during the 1960s and has been a key influence for a number of artists who’ve since been inspired by her vocal talent. With performances that have graced radio stations, stage productions, movies, and television, as well as concert tours, the contributions Petula Clark has proven to be even beyond world-class.

With studio recordings that start in 1956 that have since produced masterpiece after masterpiece until, so far, 2018, the resume of Petula Clark’s entertainment career is as long as the material is vast. To date, there are forty-six studio albums to her credit, as well as eight live albums, and twelve charted compilation albums. She also has forty-two extended plays (EPs) that have been recorded and released either in English or in French. From all those recordings, Petula Clark has a flood of singles that have soothed the ears of fans in two different dialects that are among the music industry’s finest recordings of all time. Although Petula Clark’s home nation is the UK, fans around the world fell in love with Clark’s charm as an entertainer, whether it acting out a character role, or performing an unforgettable musical number.

During the 1960s, as among the musical British Invasion, the four-year impression she made upon the North American audience was career-defining, thanks to the upbeat brand of music she delivered that served as inspirational pieces for aspiring artists who wanted to follow in her footsteps. Clark’s career has seen over sixty-eight million of her albums sold worldwide. Nowadays, she resides out of Geneva, Switzerland, and has a chalet located in the French Alps. Although Clark hasn’t released any new singles since 2013 and is now eighty-nine years of age, the timelessness of Petula Clark’s legacy as an entertainer continues to run as strong today as ever.

Top 10 Petula Clark Songs

#10 – Who Am I

The social conscience “Who Am I” followed the same formula as the North American focused songwriting style and was released in 1966, which was soon followed by a 1967 essay that was written by Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould that was titled The Search for Petula Clark, which came as an inspiration to him after hearing Petula Clark’s single. The essay, which was featured in a late 1967 edition of High Fidelity Magazine, made reference to Petula Clark’s career breakthrough in the US, plus the contrast of her earlier hit music compared to her more recent releases. Since then, Who Am I had become the standard opening each time Petula Clark performed in concert.

On the music charts, Who Am I peaked as high as number fourteen in Canada, number twenty-one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number thirty-one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary. It also made chart appearances at number forty-two in Australia and number fifty-two in the UK.

 

#9 – Kiss Me Goodbye

When “Kiss Me Goodbye” was released in 1968, it quickly rose on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked as high as number sixteen. It was a number two hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, as well as on Belgium’s Ultratop 50 Flanders chart. In Canada, Kiss Me Goodbye was a number ten hit on its chart and it reached number twelve on Australia’s official singles chart. As Petula Clark has been best known to do, the French version of “Kiss Me Goodbye,” Dis-Moi au revoir, was also recorded and released and became a number fifteen hit in that nation, as well as a number thirteen hit on Belgium’s Ultratop 50 Walloria chart. A number of other versions performed in different languages featured artists from Germany and Italy.

 

#8 – Colour My World

In 1966, “Colour My World” featured a sitar riff that perfectly complemented Petula Clark’s vocal talent, which served as yet another hit. On the US Billboard Hot 100, Colour My World peaked at number sixteen and it was a number ten hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and in Australia. In Canada, the single charted as high as number fourteen and in New Zealand at number thirteen. There have been covered many times over by different artists and in different languages. In pop culture, Colour My World has been featured in a number of commercials, movies, and television programs.

 

#7 – A Sign of the Times

“A Sign of the Times” was a single that was released in 1966 as a thought-provoking yet straightforward love song that featured a heavy mix of percussions, as well as a genius guitar performance by Mike Sullivan. “A Sign of the Times,” peaked at number two on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and at number eleven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in Australia. In Canada, A Sign of the Times charted as high as number eight.

 

#6 – Don’t Sleep in the Subway

In 1967, “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” was a number one hit in Australia, Malaysia, and on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It also charted within the top ten music charts belonging to the nations of Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and the UK. On the US Billboard, “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” peaked at number five.

The construction of this single came from three different tracks previously composed by Tony Hatch, one of the chief songwriters that wrote music for Petula Clark. By the time the editing was complete, the single featured a pop meets symphonic meets beach-style track. In the song, Clark warned her love interest unless he smartened up with his antics, his pride will cause him to sleep in the subway.

 

#5 – I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love

On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love” was a number one hit for Petula Clark in 1966. The song came as an inspiration while songwriters, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, were romantically involved with each other. Clark’s melodic performance of the single seemed to indicate “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” was a personal favorite of hers and it was, something she admitted at a Montreal Gazette interview in 2017. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the single peaked at number nine and it was a number six hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was also a top forty single among the nations of Australia, Germany, and New Zealand.

 

#4 – I Know a Place

In Canada, “I Know a Place” became the second time Petula Clark would realize a number one hit on the music charts. Released in 1965, the similarities it shared with the previously released single, Downtown, were noted by music critics and fans alike. In addition to achieving international chart success within the top forty among most of the nations, “I Know a Place,” has become a favorite song feature in a number of big screen and small screen productions. In 1965, the single won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Vocal Performance, Female.

 

#3 – My Love

“My Love” was a 1965 classic ballad performed by Petula Clark that became yet another international hit for the multi-talented songstress. In addition to its English performance, My Love is also performed in French and German, which also became chart-toppers for the audience the song was arranged for. The orchestration behind My Love was designed to appeal to the North American audience, which it did as the single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and was also a number one hit in Canada. Globally, it was a top ten hit among the nations of Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK.

When the song was recorded, Clark was personally disappointed in her performance of the song and didn’t want it released as a single. It was released anyway and become the second time she would realize a number one hit in the US, as well as reach a level of international greatness that remains a classic favorite to this day.

 

#2 – This Is My Song

In 1967, “This Is My Song” was written as a love ballad by Charlie Chaplin and performed by Petula Clark. Originally, the song was meant for Chaplin’s written and directed film, A countess from Hong Kong, and it was to be sung by Al Jolson. However, Jolson passed in 1950 and a stubborn Chaplin refused to accept the news until he saw a photograph of Jolson’s tombstone. This resulted in This is My Song being performed in the movie as an instrumental piece only. Later, Chaplin requested Petula Clark sing the song. After a considerable amount of conflict that revolved around the performance of the song, especially in the English language, Clark finally agreed to sing it, along with the backup vocals belonging to the Wrecking Crew.

When it was finally released, the opening lyric was excluded from the US release while the remaining nations left the English version as is. Globally, it became a number one hit, in the English language, as well as the other languages it was recorded in, namely French and German. On the US Billboard Hot 100, This Is My Song peaked at number one, as well as on the charts belonging to the Australian, British, French, Irish, and Italians.

 

#1 – Downtown

Although Petula Clark has a flurry of best-selling hits, “Downtown” is her all-time signature song. Just prior to actually recording the single, Clark was touching up the lyrics while still in the washroom as she was determined to connect with the younger audience with this song. It seemed Clark’s judgment was right on the mark as it became a number one sensation on the US Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1964 release, as well as on Canada Top Singles, French-Canadian Records, New Zealand’s Hit Parades, and West Germany’s Official German Charts.

It was also a top ten hit among the nations of Australia, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK. With the UK’s BPI and the USA’s RIAA, Downtown became a certified gold hit. When the song was released, the critical favor it received saw an enthusiastic foreigner excited about America’s downtown scene that bustled with the exciting activity that, according to Clark’s performance, would be great.

Feature Photo: ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv / Fotograf: Baumann, Heinz / Com_L15-0036-0002-0006 / CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Petula Clark Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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