For an entertainer who has been recording in several languages for over 50 years, Petula Clark's discography consists of thousands of recordings. The original recordings can be found on shellac as 78 RPM singles, on vinyl as 45 RPM singles, EPs (extended play singles, generally consisting of 4 songs and often featuring collectable picture sleeve covers) and as LPs (long playing 33 RPM recordings, the earliest recordings of which are 10" in diameter rather than the traditional 12".) Most of Petula's original shellac and vinyl recordings in English can now be found on CD, thanks primarily to the efforts of Richard Harries, Jim Pierson, Tony Heester and Michael Balzer. Likewise, much of Petula's European catalog is also making its way onto CD, thanks primarily to the efforts of Christian Guillet and David Hadzis via the spendid French Anthologie series which is releasing Petula's French Vogue catalog and the stunning Bear Family box set, which features ALL of Petula's German, Italian and Spanish recordings originally recorded for the Vogue label.
The vast majority of Petula's vinyl recordings were issued by Vogue, which had subsidiaries all over the world. For the true collector, there are thus rare recordings to be found from such places as Israel, Argentina, South Africa, India and various parts of Asia. Of these, the Japanese issues are extremely rare, especially the ones that feature never-seen-before photographs and gatefold covers. There are also numerous bootleg albums from Taiwan which have become quite collectable. These are generally inferior quality copies of her American or British hit albums on red, orange, green or yellow vinyl with poorly xeroxed art work.
Although Petula has recorded several excellent entirely new CDs in the past few years, numerous Petula Clark CDs are also issued each year from master recordings originally pressed on vinyl or single tracks hidden away in a vault somewhere. Every year more of Petula's vast vinyl catalog is being released on CD. Currently, Castle/Sanctuary is exploiting their vast holding of Petula recordings by reissuing material they've acquired from various sources, the French Anthologie series continues to issue all of Petula's French recordings and the Jango label which owns only ONE album of Petula recordings (entitled "Give it a Try"--half of which are re-recordings of her sixties hits) continues to license tracks originally recorded for their long defunct label to hundreds of budget labels. (It's the very same album over and over again, the only difference being the packaging.)
Beyond this, Petula recordings can also be found upon countless compilation recordings. Only a noteworthy few are included herein.
Needless to say, Petula Clark's discography is vast. An attempt is made here to compile a complete listing. But we're only kidding ourselves. This list barely scratches the surface. As one fan (the proud owner of one of the more extensive Petula collections) has been noted to lament: "A complete Petula discography is nearly impossible to compile. How would you know that you've got them all? Just as soon as you're certain that the list is complete, another turns up."
This Petula discography was originally compiled by Joe Shields based on Terry Young's very thorough IPCS issued discography and has since been updated by Laurie Parsons Zenobio based on a variety of sources, beginning with Record Collector's Complete Petula Clark Discography from January '86 (hardly "complete" but a nice listing nevertheless,) the Bear Family International Collection, Jim Pierson and Richard Harries' "Battersea Park" discography and input from a wide variety of serious Petula Clark collectors and miscellaneous resources. Many of the cover sleeve pictures are from the collections of Mike Jones, Laurie Parsons Zenobio, Roger Evans, Daniel Bédard and Peter Karsch. Special thanks to Roger Evans, Theo Morgan-Gan and Daniel Bédard for their invaluable assistance on the updated compilation.
A word of advice for the novice collector
by Daniel Bédard:
Begin your CD collection with the essentials:
- All of the Sanctuary releases. Some of these releases are still available on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, you can also go and check all the Sanctuary releases at www.sanctuaryrecords.co.uk. Since 2000, Sanctuary has re-released all of Petula's Pye/WB material, complete with alternate tracks and superior liner notes. Most of them have 2 full albums onto one CD.
- The French Anthologies - Volumes 1-9 which cover all of Petula French Vogue releases from 1958 to 1972. All the French songs from those years are there, no exceptions.
Volume 1 - Volume 2 -
Volume 3 -
Volume 4 -
Volume 5 -
Volume 6 -
Volume 7 -
Volume 8 -
- The International Collection (Contains all of Petula's Italian, German and Spanish recordings--a box set from Bear Family)
- The 5 CDs released in late 1997 from PolyGram (now Universal) which cover all of Petula's albums when she was with Polydor. These 5 CDs cover from 1972 to 1975.
"Just Petula" - "I'm the Woman You Need" - "Live in London" - "Come on Home" - "Now"
- Released, just last May is a 2 CD set titled "Paris-Orleans-Paris" which can be bought through the Petula Clark Official site or directly on the Zone Records site at www.zonerecordsltd.com. This set consists of all of Petula's French recordings that she did for CBS France between 1976 and 1979. This is worth getting if you enjoyed that era of Petula's career.
- Petula's 1998 album: "Here for You" is a very contemporary album with some Broadway tunes and new songs.
- The definitive hit collections: "Downtown to Sunset Boulevard"(USA), "The Ultimate Collection" (UK), "Kaleidoscope" (France), "Kaleidoskop" (Germany) and "Mes plus grands succès ~ Les Refrains de ma Vie" (Canada)
- I would also suggest the latest Live at the Paris Olympia; a recording that is available on the Silva Screen Records label. The tracks to this CD are from the performance that Petula gave at the Paris Olympia in September 2003.
Links to sources for all of the above CDs can be found by
clicking on the above titles or by scrolling through the discography 1997-2005.
--denotes a CD ESSENTIAL.