Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Natural Love" by Petula Clark

Song#:  0903
Date:  02/06/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  66
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Crossover Country

Pop Bits:  Clark became a 60's pop icon thanks to her 15 Top 40 hits that included her signature #1 from 1964 "Downtown." Numerous appearances on TV (including her own show), in film, on stage, and in Vegas only added to her popularity. Although a still in-demand performer in the 70s, she slowed down to focus on family for a while and her recording career dwindled with her last chart entry coming in 1972. A decade later, Clark signed on with Scotti Brothers and issued this single that got her back on the pop chart one last time. It got a third of the way up the chart and reached #24 at AC. The country feel of the song also got it on the country chart where it reached #20 - her only appearance there. A second single was issued, but it failed to chart. The failure of either single to ignite the charts most likely caused Scotti Brothers to pass on doing a full album. Clark would continue to perform and issue an occasional album, but this single effectively closed the door on her pop chart career.

ReduxReview:  I really love Petula Clark. Her string of hits throughout the 60s were some of the best of that time period. By the early 70s, her hits were behind her but she still had some quality recording like here 1970 LP "Memphis," which some folks have considered a pop companion to Dusty Springfield's classic "Dusty in Memphis." This single is not quite up to those standards, but it's really not a bad song at all. It kind of reminds me of something Olivia Newton-John would have done early in her country-ish years. Pop-country was kind of hot at the time, so this seemed to fit right in. It just may not have found the right audience.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Although "Downtown" was her first chart entry in the US, Clark had been recording since 1949 and hitting the UK chart as far back as 1954. A performer since she was 9-years-old, her career started with a by-chance radio performance in 1942. From there, she did more singing and began acting in films. Her popularity soared and she was eventually dubbed "Britain's Shirley Temple."  2) As adulthood approached, Clark focused on music and composition. In addition to writing or co-writing many of her songs, she also composed scores for several films and a stage musical.  3) Petula's name was created by her father. He has jokingly said that it was a combination of names from two former girlfriends - Pet and Ulla.


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