As longtime Munguinites know, my absolute favourite pop singer of all time is Petula Clark.
Why, you may ask!
Well, let’s start with versatility. There’s nothing much she can’t sing from ballads to folk, from country to jazz, from pop to rock n roll to show tunes, throw in some comedy stuff too…and in several different languages. And that voice, still pretty, and bang on the note. And if you have musical ears, like I do, that matters.
And then there’s the tireless hard work and attention to detail. I’ve watched her in rehearsals on stage in old jeans and a t-shirt with no makeup, making sure that everything is perfect. Not just for her, but with the musicians, the backing singers, the sound, lights. She is an out and out professional, and I’m privileged to have watched her doing the less glamorous stuff on numerous occasions.
Then there is her dedication to her fans. Send her a request for a signed photograph and it may take a little time, because it will go to Switzerland, and she might not be there for a few weeks, but she will reply. And pretty much after every show she’s there at the stage door or in the bar (much nicer) signing photos and having a few words with fans.
Today she is 86 years old, although if she reads this she’ll not thank me for mentioning it. Because one of the other things that I admire about her is her attitude to ageing. She gets on with it regardless. When someone asks her about her age, she can get a little snippy, which is frankly, unlike her. “I don’t ask you your age”, she is likely to throw at the interviewer. “You’re doing your job and doing it well, and I’m doing mine. Why would our ages matter?”
At present, she’s in the USA, touring an album of English language songs the theme of which is “From Now On”, looking forward, not back, although of course, singing some of the big hits from yesteryear… “I’d get lynched if I didn’t sing Downtown”. She has been on the road for a month and there’s another month of touring to do. Tireless.
Earlier this year she released an album of songs written by Canadian writers and musicians, “Vu d’Ici” (Seen from Here). It was conceived, and recorded in Montréal and toured in the French-speaking provinces of Canada with it.
She was 85 years old at the time and this was her first Canadian tour for 54 years, and still she played to packed houses. Not only that, but the disc made the French Canadian charts.
Her first ever chart hit was on 1954 with “The Little Shoemaker” in the UK. So that gives her a chart career of something like 64 years!
So, I hope you won’t mind me taking up a bit of Munguin’s space to say:
‘Bon Anniversaire, ma chère Pétula. Munguin et moi esperons te revoir bientôt, soit en Ecosse soit en France. Olympia, peut-être? Bisous x”.
After all, Pet has had the privilege of meeting Munguin on a few occasions and pronounced him to be “mignon”! Which he informs me, he most certainly is and she’s ok too!