KEEPING TRACK - THE READER'S DIGEST SESSIONS [1996]

The Reader's Digest sessions are a collection of 24 songs (listed below) recorded by Petula over 10 separate recording sessions at Angel Studios in Islington, London during October and November 1996.

The sessions were commissioned by the Reader's Digest Association for release internationally on their various mail order CD compilations and collections. The brief for the recording project was to record a number of songs across several musical genres such as love songs, showtunes, Christmas music and a handful of Petula's own hits. The sessions also included one new original Petula composition; 'Better Late Than Never'. The recordings were self produced by Petula with orchestrations by Kenny Clayton. The majority of the cover material recorded was already familiar to Petula and had at some point formed part of her concert repertoire (e.g. 'Something', 'Your Song', 'I Dreamed A Dream' etc.).

Other songs considered for inclusion but not recorded in the Reader's Digest sessions included 'Miss You Nights' (the top 20 Cliff Richard hit written by Dave Townsend), 'This Is The Moment' (the major song from the stage musical Jekyll & Hyde written by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse), 'Where Is Love?' (from the Tony Award-winning British musical Oliver! written by Lionel Bart) and 'Pinball Wizard' (written by Pete Townshend and performed by the English rock band The Who, featured on their 1969 rock opera album Tommy) - later recorded by Petula for her US album 'Here For You'. 'Miss You Nights' and 'Where Is Love?' were rehearsed but never recorded.

Reader's Digest began to issue tracks from the Petula sessions on their compilation albums in 1997. In 1998 Reader's Digest issued their first solo Petula Clark CD compilation incorporating songs from the Reader's Digest sessions alongside back catalogue material. Over the ensuing years several Petula Clark box sets have been issued by Reader's Digest internationally and these CD releases represent some of the most scarce and hard to find Petula CDs ever issued (regularly fetching 3 figure sums on internet auction sites!).

The table below highlights all 24 tracks that were recorded exclusively for Reader's Digest in 1996 and on which Petula Reader's Digest CD they were featured.


Song Title


1998
GERMANY

 
1998
SOUTH AFRICA


1999
UK


2001
FRANCE


2009
USA


2010
UK


2010
FRANCE


2017
GERMANY


Better Late Than Never

-


C'est Ma Chanson

-

-

-

- -


Don't Sleep In The Subway

-

-


Downtown

-

-


I Couldn't Live Without Your Love

-

- - -


(Everything I Do) I Do It For You

-


I Dreamed A Dream

- - -


The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

-


I'll Be Home For Christmas

-

-

-

- -


It's Magic

-


J'Avais Reve D'Une Autre Vie

-

-

-

- - -


La Vie En Rose

-


The Last Night Of The World


The Look Of Love

-


L'Enfant Au Tambour

-

-

-

- - -


Little Drummer Boy

-

-

-

- - - -


Memory

-


My Love

-

-


Romeo

- - -


Romeo (French)

-

-

-

- - -


Something


This Is My Song

-

- -


Time After Time


Your Song


DISCOGRAPHY


MY LOVE - DAS BESTE / PEC 070750 (GERMANY) 1998
A 20 track collection featuring 18 of the 24 Reader's Digest recordings. Oddly, it features 2 non-Reader's Digest recordings: 'The Song Of My Life' and 'We'll Still Be Friends' which are 1987 / 1988 recordings issued on the albums 'This Is My Song Album' and 'My Greatest'.

 

 

THREE TIMES A LADY / RDCDB98007BZ (SOUTH AFRICA) 1998
A 3CD set featuring Disc One: Petula Clark - 'The Songs Of My Life', Disc Two: Shirley Bassey - 'The Power Of Love' and Disc Three: Sandie Shaw - 'Long Live Love'. Disc One features 21 Petula Clark recordings (19 of which are Reader's Digest recordings). This set  also features 'The Song Of My Life', 'We'll Still Be Friends' and 'Kiss Me Goodbye' which derive from the 1987 / 1988 recordings issued on the albums 'This Is My Song Album' / 'My Greatest'.
 


THE VERY BEST OF ... THE SONGS OF MY LIFE / RDCD 2481 (UK) 1999
A 3CD set featuring 63 tracks. Disc One: 'These Are My Songs' - original hit recordings. Disc Two: 'It's Magic - The Shows' and Disc Three: 'Don't Stop The Music - Petula Today'. This release ultilises 14 of the 24 recordings made for Reader's Digest. Some "first time on CD tracks" were also included on this box set including: 'Life's A Game' (recorded and first issued in 1988 and as featured in the TVS TV series Gentlemen & Players), 'The Sound Of Music' and 'I Have Confidence' from the 1981 London cast album of The Sound Of Music and 'Edelweiss' also from The Sound Of Music recorded by Petula as a solo recording in 1981.

 

 

PETULA CLARK - SELECTION DU READER'S DIGEST / 3209 (FRANCE) 2001
A 3CD set featuring 68 tracks. This release ultilises 20 of the 24 recordings made for Reader's Digest. Disc Two is a rarities disc and features 21 "first time on CD tracks" from the 'AZ album' (1973), the 'Je Reviens' album (1977), plus 'Can't Take My Eyes Of You' (previously unreleased - 1973), 'Gratification' (1973), 'I Am Your Song' (1973), 'Je Voudrais Qu'il Soit Malheureux' (1975), 'Le Grec' (1978), 'L'Angleterre' (1979), 'Glamoureuse' (1984) and 'Mister Orwell' (1984).

 

DOWNTOWN - THE LEGENDARY PETULA CLARK / SSTI07501 (USA) 2009
A 2CD set featuring 24 tracks. Disc One is entitled 'Great Hits and Classic Recordings' and Disc Two is entitled 'Favorites From Stage and Screen'. This release ultilises 21 of the 24 recordings made for Reader's Digest. As with the 1998 German and South African issues,
this set features 'The Song Of My Life', 'We'll Still Be Friends' and 'Kiss Me Goodbye' which derive from the 1987 / 1988 recordings issued on the albums 'This Is My Song Album' / 'My Greatest'.

 

 

THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION / RDCD6051-3 (UK) 2010
A 3CD set featuring 60 tracks. Disc One is entitled 'Greatest Hits', Disc Two: 'Love Songs' and Disc Three: 'Standards and Showtunes'. This set features just 5 of the recordings made for Reader's Digest amongst some other hidden treasures on CD for the first time. This collection is notable for being the only release to feature Petula's previously unreleased 1976 recording of 'You're My Destiny' not to be confused with the later version released by CBS.

 


 

PETULA CLARK - SELECTION DU READER'S DIGEST / 16148 (FRANCE) 2010
A repackaged issue of the 2001 French release.
 

 
DOWNTOWN - IHRE SCHONSTEN SONGS / PCD 072892 (GERMANY) 2017
This German package features 70 tracks over 3 CDs and ultilises 19 of the 24 recordings made for Reader's Digest. 
 

In addition to the above collections representing CD releases issued as a 'Petula Clark' release, there have been numerous CD compilations issued by Reader's Digest featuring the odd track or two from the Reader's Digest sessions, e.g.: TIMELESS FAVOURITES, There Goes That Song Again - Jule Styne & Frank Loesser (issued in 1997) which featured 'Time After Time' and 'It's Magic'. In France, seven of Petula's Reader's Digest recordings were issued on the ELLES FONT CHANTER LE MONDE collection in 1998.


Outside of the Reader's Digest mail order releases, 13 of the recordings have been issued commercially on the albums 'Where The Heart Is' (issued in 1998) and 'This Is Christmas' (issued in 2009). Additionally, in 2010, a limited edition CD featuring 5 tracks from the sessions entitled 'Greatest Hits Souvenir CD' was issued and sold exclusively at concert performances in Australia and America.

In 1998, Petula performed 'Time After Time' on the UK TV show 'This Morning' to coincide with the release of 'Where The Heart Is' and her UK tour of the same name.

 

 

Corrections and submissions are gratefully accepted.

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Researched, compiled and created by Steven Warner & Tim Hutton
Selected graphics by Ray Leaning @ Muse Fine Art & Design 

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