Petula Clark hadn't made a studio album featuring original compositions since the mid-70s when Lost in You was released in early 2013. Amazingly, it came 57 years after her 1957 debut album. Almost as amazingly, the 80-year-old Clark 's voice has held up remarkably well, and throughout most of the album's 12 songs she sounds strong and soulful with only the occasional bit of studio trickery used to help her out. Working with producer John Williams , she's crafted an album that relies on a few covers (an MOR country take on Gnarls Barkley 's "Crazy," an earnest version of "Imagine") and a batch of newly written songs that feature Clark looking back over a long life in music ("Reflections"), lamenting lost love ("Next to You"), and looking for new love (the country-rocking "Never Enough"). Apart from her voice being so strong and soulful (check out her pleading tones on "Lost in You" if you doubt that even a little), there are two big surprises on the album. First is the slowed-down and elegiac version of her biggest hit, "Downtown"; second is the opening track on the album, "Cut Copy Me." An insistent late-night ballad that blends acoustic guitars and swooning strings with Clark 's Auto-Tuned voice and some icy synths, it's the kind of sad and pretty song Saint Etienne would kill for. It also serves notice that Lost in You isn't a nostalgic exercise for Clark ; she's fully up to date. It's a quiet triumph of a song that stands as an equal to her best work from the past. There are a couple of missteps (the thin-sounding cover of the Gershwin standard "He Loves and She Loves," the overwrought take on Elvis ' "Love Me Tender") and one can't help but wish at times that she had chosen to work with a producer who was a little more sonically adventurous than Williams ; he's stuck firmly in the middle of the road and while that fits some of the songs, it would have been interesting to hear what Air , for example, would have done with the sound. Wishes aside, Lost in You is an impressive achievement that shows Clark is still alive and kicking, and stands as a reminder that she is one of the great vocalists of her era.
Petula Clark in a promotional photo from 1963 (left); and starring with Peter O'Toole in the 1968 musical adaptation of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."
In 1946, Clark launched her television career with an appearance on a BBC variety show, Cabaret Cartoons , which led to her being signed to host her own afternoon series, titled simply Petula Clark . Pet's Parlour followed in 1949.
Petula Clark, who had been playing to her French speaking fans in small venues in Quebec when "Downtown" entered the US charts, swiftly cut non-English versions of the song for the markets in France, Italy and Germany; the absence in each region's language of a two-syllable equivalent of "downtown" necessitated a radical lyric recasting for the versions aimed at France ("Dans le temps"), Italy ("Ciao Ciao", winning the Festivalbar , a juke-box contest) and Spain ("Chao Chao") which respectively charted at #6, #2 and – for three weeks – #1: "Dans le temps" also reaching #18 on Belgium's French-language chart. The title and lyric "Downtown" was retained for an otherwise German version which was the most successful foreign-language version, reaching #1 in Germany, #3 in Austria, and #11 on the charts for the Flemish region of Belgium.