Petula Clark

Petula Clark, singer of "Downtown" and many other hits, will perform at World Records on Thursday. Tickets are still available and range from $50 to $80.

When you're alone, and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown to see Petula Clark perform on Thursday.

The "Downtown" singer will be at World Records next week, with a show that has the possibly difficult task of representing Clark's long and prolific career. In eight decades, she has had countless international hits (in a few different languages), sold 68 million albums and acted in 31 films.

"This is really going to be something," said Pat Evans, owner of World Records. "She's an artist with heft. Petula Clark has been an international star her whole life. At any age, it's a chance to be in a room with someone you aren't ever going to see."

Evans isn't exaggerating about the scope of Clark's career: The Brit started singing at 9 with a chance radio debut on BBC. She was at a broadcast with her father in 1942 when the show was interrupted by an air raid. When a producer asked for someone to sing to distract and calm everyone's nerves, young Clark performed "Mighty Lak' a Rose." That kicked off her early career and she became known as "Britain's Shirley Temple."

Clark hasn't slowed down since, most recently releasing a French-Canadian album earlier this year and the English-language "Living for Today" last year. Her 2017 U.S. tour was her first in the country in five decades.

A lot of people "don't know the scope of her career," Evans said. "My job is to make sure people know who this artist is before they miss her."

In addition to "Downtown," Clark's hits include "I Know a Place," "A Sign of the Times," "My Love" and "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love."

Asked for his own personal favorite song of Clark's, Evans said it had been "Downtown" but as he's heard more of her vast collection of songs, it's harder to point to just one.

"That was the first Petula Clark song I heard," he said of "Downtown." "But since that time and listening to some of over the 1,000 songs she has recorded, my favorite is whatever Petula Clark song I am listening to at the moment. Her voice is that beautiful."

The concert in Bakersfield came together in August and included quite a coincidence. Evans recalled hearing from some customers who had seen Clark perform last year and raved about the concert. Just a couple of days later, Evans heard from Clark's people, asking if World Records would like to host her.

Evans didn't want to give too much away about the concert but said he expects Clark to sing songs from throughout her music, film and Broadway career, as well as some possible covers. (Not only has Clark stayed active with her own music, she also stays in tune with newer music, judging from her 2013 cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy.")

"This is going to be a big production," he said.

Evans likened Clark's decade-spanning, worldwide success to Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. Unlike those acts, though, Clark has had a film and TV career on top of her music.

"I don't know if there's a bigger star that's come to town," he said. "And her career hasn't stopped."

With the venue set up for 440 seats, Evans said the show will be an intimate one and that he's hopeful it will sell out.

Kelly Ardis can be reached at 661-395-7660. Follow her on Twitter at @TBCKellyArdis.

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