After witnessing the nation’s reaction to The Beatles debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, which marked the inflection point of The British Invasion, The Ed Sullivan Show gave way to many British acts to showcase their musical talents across America. One of them was Petula Clark.
On March 14th 1965, Petula Clark took the Sullivan stage for the first time. She performed live and without rehearsing. Her flight had arrived 45 minutes prior to her performance, leaving her with no time to rehearse. That night she sang her #1 hit “Downtown” as well as “I Know a Place.”
Clark stood in the middle of the stage without moving much aside from her hands during her performance. With her trademark short curly hair, wearing a black long-sleeved dress with a white knitted collar, she captivated thousands of viewers that night.
Petula became a family friendly act and a big hit among parents. Her music, lyrics and overall look were rather conservative, unlike other rock bands from this movement like The Rolling Stones or The Animals, who some considered to be a negative influence on the youth.
Petula Clark was one of the few female members of the British Invasion and her recording successes led to a total of 13 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show between 1965 and 1969. Following her success with “Downtown,” she continued to have a thriving career not only in music, but also in film.
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