PETULA Clark has a successful career spanning eight decades.
The multi-talented musician and actress will be treading the boards later this month performing at Birmingham Town Hall on Monday.
This is the songstress’ first UK tour in five years and she is thrilled to be back in Britain and appearing on stage.
“I like to communicate with the audience and you can’t do that on film or television. On stage it’s different – a sort of person to person and I really love that,” she said.
Clark cut her first record in 1949 and has subsequently become one of the best-selling British female artists in recording history, selling more than 68 million records worldwide.
Born in Epson in 1932, in the 1940s Clark was not only renowned as a successful recording artist, but also a rising star in the world of acting working with some of the biggest names of the era including Dinah Sheridan, Jack Warner, Anthony Newley and James Robertson Justice.
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Clark continued to work in the recording studio and on the small and silver screen, somehow finding time to fall in love with and marry publicist Claude Wolff in 1961.
Clark moved to France to escape the restrictions of child stardom however, by the mid-1960s her career was floundering until a collaboration with Tony Hatch which gave her some of her biggest hits to date.
Downtown, Don’t Sleep in the Subway, This Is My Song, In fact Clark had 15 consecutive top 40 hits in the USA and the American recording industry honoured her with Grammy Awards for Best Rock & Roll Recording of 1964 for Downdown and Best Contemporary (R&R) Vocal Performance of 1965 – Female for I Know a Place.
In 2004, her recording of Downtown was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Clark is now a British institution who is loved the world over.
Earlier this year she released Lost In You with is a 12-track album featuring a mix of stunning new songs and beautiful covers.
“The lead track is Cut Copy Me which was recorded with John Williams – not that John Williams, the English John Williams,” said Clark.
“We recorded the song and there was a huge reaction to the track. John suggested we do more of the same and I agreed. It was quite a casual thing. There was no concept, no big ideas behind it.
“In fact, we recorded the album in a small studio at the bottom of his garden. The vocal mic is right next to the window so I had a lovely view of his garden while recording.
“It was quite an unusual experience. From the outside the studio looks like a Wendy House but inside it’s got all the state-of-the-art technology.
“The whole experience was a wonderful gathering of people and talent in a charming little studio.”
Petula co-wrote a couple of the tracks and also had a hand in choosing the covers which are included on the album, such as Imagine and Love Me Tender.
“There was no big agenda. We knew we wanted to do some covers and one of the ideas was to include a Beatles song.
“I was interested in doing The Long and Winding Road and then I thought no, it has to be John (Lennon) and so we recorded Imagine which is a song I like and full of emotion.
“I knew John and he was very sweet to me. He said I was one of his favourite all-time singers. Imagine is a song which has always spoken to me and a little bit of what John was all about.
“We decided not to do anything crazy with it so it’s a straight version of the song.”
The album plays a large part in An Evening with Petula Clark, along with some of her best-known hits, the recital of a poem, and playing piano.
“I will be doing a lot of the old songs,” she said. “Tony Hatch wrote some wonderful songs for me. It won’t be a nostalgic show though.
“I will be talking about some of my songs and the tales around the song. It certainly won’t be one of ‘those were the days’ evenings.
“None of it feels like work though. The work part is the rehearsals and preparations but once I am touring it’s always a great experience.”
Petula Clark will be performing at venues across the UK including Birmingham Town Hall on Monday.
Tickets are available by calling 0844 811 0051 or by logging on to www.gigsandtours.com