She never stopped recording - over 50 years and over a 1,000 songs and still counting! Her first hits were children's songs like "Where Did My Snowman Go" (1952) and "The Little Shoemaker" (1954).
In answer to the rock-and-roll craze of the late fifties, Pet recorded Sailor, Romeo and My Friend The Sea and was back on the charts again. In 1961, Pet went to France to sing one song at a concert and they went completely bonkers over her.
Asked to record in French, Pet declined at first, but was later persuaded to do so by Frenchman Claude Wolff with whom she fell madly in love - they were married in June 1961. (They had three children, Barra, Katy, and Patrick). Petula really matured as a singer on the Continent with smash hit after smash hit in French, German, and Italian. Urged by her friends in Britain to record something in English, Pet allowed Tony Hatch to visit her in Paris where he presented his new song, "Downtown". Pet recorded it and it skyrocketed to number 1 in the USA. She quickly followed with "I Know A Place" that went to number 3. Petula received a Grammy for "Downtown" in 1964 and another for "I Know A Place" in 1965. All told, Pet has 15 top 40 hits in the USA (two #1 hits). Internationally, Petula Clark has charted in the top 40 somewhere, sometime, with 159 recordings. Her career caught up in a whirlwind, she has ridden it like the pro that she is. Numerous TV appearances both on her own specials as well as on the American TV shows, Ed Sullivan, Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Here's Lucy, the Muppets, Shindig, Hullabaloo.
1966 brought "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" and the number one smash "My Love." At the same time, she remained a huge star throughout Europe, topping the British charts in 1967 with "This Is My Song," taken from the film A Countess From Hong Kong. In addition to hosting her own BBC series, she also starred in the 1968 NBC television special Petula, which triggered controversy when sponsors requested that a segment with guest Harry Belafonte be cut in deference to Southern affiliates; ultimately, the show aired in its intended form. As the 1960s drew to a close, Clark's commercial stature slipped, although singles like "Don't Sleep on the Subway," "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" and "Kiss Me Goodbye" still charted on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1968 she revived her film career by starring in Finian's Rainbow , followed a year later by Goodbye, Mr. Chips .
In later years Clark focused primarily on international touring, headlining the 1981 London revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. After starring in the 1990 musical Someone Like You , which she also co-wrote, she made her Broadway debut in Blood Brothers in 1993. Additionally, in 1988, an acid-house remix of "Downtown" reached the U.K. Top Ten, another honour for the female singer awarded the most gold records in British pop history. In 1997, Queen Elizabeth made Clark a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
As of the Fall of 2007, Petula, now 75, was splitting her time between homes in England, Switzerland and the U.S. While she had no economic need to tour, she still loved performing. She also continued to compose regularly and had two new recordings set for release: "Duets", a compilation of some of her favourite duets between her and everyone from Bobby Darin to Peggy Lee and Dusty Springfield, as well as "Solitude and Sunshine", a studio album of songs by Rod McKuen.
She toured England and Wales in the Summer of 2008, followed by concerts in Switzerland and the Philippines. A compilation of her greatest hits and new compositions called "Then And Now" entered the UK album chart that June and won Clark her first-ever Silver Disc for an album. "Open Your Heart: A Love Song Collection", an LP of previously unreleased material and remixed recordings, was released in January 2009. A holiday album called "This Is Christmas" hit store shelves that November. In 2010, Petula toured Australia, New Zealand and Canada to packed houses. In November 2011, Clark, then 78, performed for 90 minutes at the Casino de Paris and had a full tour of Australia booked for the Spring of 2012. In August of that year she appeared as a guest on Radio 4 'The Reunion'.
January 2013 brought a new album entitled "Lost In You" that featured a remake of "Downtown" as well as a new tune called "Cut Copy Me", which had a 14-week run on the Belgium chart. The album got favorable reviews and entered the UK national album chart at #24 the following March. A busy concert schedule across Europe took the now 82 year old Petula into the Fall of 2014. On June 20th, 2015, she appeared with the Midtown Men at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, performing "Downtown". Petula released a new English language album called "From Now On" in October 2016 which she supported with a tour of the UK.
Over the course of her amazing career, Petula Clark has sold in excess of 68 million records.
For more, be sure to read Gary James' interview with Petula Clark