31 Days of Faves: Petula Clark – I Know a Place

#9 Petula Clark – I Know a Place

A sequel is almost never as good as the original. Petula Clark‘s follow up to her smash international debut, “Downtown“, broke the rule. “I Know a Place” spent 12 weeks on the US charts, five of those weeks in the top 10, peaking at number 3. It was Clark’s second successful collaboration with producer Tony Hatch. He wrote the music and lyrics for both compositions and would play a key role in Clark’s long string of successes. The follow-up maintained the theme with, “Just get away where your worries won’t find you,” emulating Downtown‘s “When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know.”

In March of 1965, this was about as close as pop music came to euphemistically referencing the subtext of violence and death that were hallmarks of the growing civil rights movement, Barry McGuire‘s visceral “Eve of Destruction” not withstanding. That same month, President Johnson gave his “We Shall Overcome” speech. 200 Troopers attack 525 civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama in what came to be known as Bloody Sunday. And in a place called Vietnam, the first 3,500 US ground troops arrived.

There was a lot to “worry” about.

For Petula Clark, having two consecutive hits in a row was a dream come true. She told the Boston Globe the next year, “No matter what anyone tells you, to make it in the United States is still the dream of every transatlantic performer. You work for it. Long for it. And I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when ‘I Know a Place’ was nearly as big a hit as ‘Downtown’ .”

Clark became the first female solo act to take her first to singles into the top 3, a feat that would not be duplicated until Cyndi Lauper did it in 1984 with “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and “Time After Time.”