Petula Clark Treats Audience to Her Big Hits

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Petula Clark at BB King’s Blues Club and Grill, NYC, December 26, 2017 (Photo: © Sean Jamar; used with permission)

If you’re of a certain age, and grew up in the U.S. listening to AM radio in the ’60s, you’re well-aware of Petula Clark‘s six Top 10 singles (and three more that reached the Top 15). If you’re from Britain, you may know that she had an astounding seven Top 10 hits before 1964’s “Downtown” became a worldwide smash. (Her first chart appearance was in 1954.)

On Tuesday night (Dec. 26), Clark completed a six-week U.S. tour by playing to a SRO crowd at New York City’s B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill. That the singer turned 85-years-old on Nov. 12 is remarkable, given the stamina required of the rigorous schedule and she displayed an air of confidence befitting her seven decades as an entertainer.

Clark took to the stage in black evening attire with her five-piece band and, just two songs in, delivered one of those big hits: 1967’s “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” one of her many collaborations with the English composer Tony Hatch, who she graciously acknowledged many times throughout the evening.

Clark has a new album, Living For Today, coming on Jan. 12, which includes covers of several classic rock favorites many of which she performed tonight including “Blackbird” and “While You See a Chance.” After singing the Peggy Lee signature song “Fever,” also on the album, Clark removed her shawl. When she said: “Don’t get excited. It’s as far as I go,” the crowd roared with delight.

She then introduced, “Look to the Rainbow,” the first of two songs she performed from Finian’s Rainbow, the 1968 film in which she co-starred with Fred Astaire. (Both actors were nominated for Golden Globe Awards for their performances. If you knew that the film was directed by a young Francis Ford Coppola, raise your hand.) Clark sang the tune in an Irish brogue, true to her original vocal in the film.

Next up was “My Love,” her 1965 smash (and second U.S. #1), also written by Hatch. Tonight, she sang it with a country music arrangement.

Later, Clark combined two of her biggest hits for a playful, show stopping medley.

As her performance was coming to a close, Clark treated the appreciative crowd to “Downtown,” her worldwide breakthrough smash, again courtesy of Tony Hatch. (When the song was released in the U.S. in November 1964, it rose up the charts, reaching #1 on January 23, 1965, a remarkably quick ascent.)

Petula Clark, December 26, 2017, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill Setlist

You and I / Meant To Be
Don’t Sleep in the Subway
Fever
Look to the Rainbow
How Are Things in Giocca Morra?
My Love
From Now On
Blackbird
Imagine
With One Look
Who Am I / Colour My World
This is My Song
Living For Today
I Know a Place / Sign of the Times
While You See a Chance
I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love
Downtown
Rainbow

Related: Concert listings for 100s of music stars

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Greg Brodsky

Greg Brodsky

Best Classic Bands Founder/CEO Greg Brodsky earned his first professional bylines as a reporter for the music trade weekly Record World. He still has all his vinyl albums and enjoys going to flea markets and garage sales to grow his collection.
Greg Brodsky
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