Recording Quiet Please

In a recording career that began in 1949, Petula has recorded her songs in some of the most famous studios in the world, most notably in London. 

For your enjoyment, we recently undertook a whistle stop tour encompassing 5 different London Boroughs and the City of Westminster to track down 9 of those studios in which Petula has recorded. Many of the studios no longer exist but the buildings do. To do the tour, you'll need lots of time and energy, a travel card, a bus, tube and an A-Z map of London. Naturally, we also took a camera!

Our tour is restricted to those studios where Petula has recorded her own compositions - the list of recordings and recording studios is not exhaustive.

Of her most recent work for the 2013 studio album Lost In You (which features 3 Clark co-compositions), Petula reflects: "Over the years - I've recorded in all kinds of studios, in several different countries. Some have been more fun or inspiring than others (Memphis, Nashville and London spring to mind) but nothing compares to the "Wendy House" at the bottom of producer John Williams' enchanting garden! Nestled in the heart of West London, the small perfectly formed studio became my home for over 2 months, interrupted by a few trips to Paris and New York. A studio with windows looking out on trees and flowers is unusual, and for me at least it was a joy just to hang out there and sing when the mood struck!"

Petula recording at "The Wendy House" in 2012
Petula recording at "The Wendy House" in 2012

Our whistle stop tour started in Barnes, South West London:

1. Olympic Sound Studios, 117 - 123 Church Rd, Barnes, London SW13 9HL

Olympic Studios closed in February 2009 after the Virgin EMI group announced that the longstanding renowned studio facilities which originally opened at the site in 1965 would close. In 2013, the studio space reopened as a cinema. In September 1986, Petula recorded her vocals at the Olympic Sound Studios for her 1986 album Give It A Try issued in the US on the Jango label. The album included 2 Clark compositions: Give It A Try, written with Kenny Clayton (issued on 39 different CD issues) and Mad About You, written with Dee Shipman (issued on 41 different CD issues). An alternate mix of Mad About You was released on the 2007 album In Her Own Write issued by Sepia Records.

The entrance to Olympic Sound Studios
The entrance to Olympic Sound Studios

Give It A Try In Her Own Write
Give It A Try and In Her Own Write

75 minutes later, using a train from Richmond and then jumping onto a tube to Wembley Central, we arrive at Wembley:

2. The Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) Studios, Engineers Way, Wembley

CTS Studios closed its doors in June 2000 and were demolished in 2004 to make way for the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium and its surrounding area. A studio version of Petula's composition Darkness was recorded at CTS on 18 April 1981. Darkness and Edelweiss were recorded during the same session. Both tracks were arranged and conducted by Kenny Clayton and the session was funded by the Scotti Brothers Record company.

The massive studio facility was also ultilised on 06 February 1990 for recording 4 songs from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You. Songs recorded: Someone Like You (Petula Clark and Dave Willetts), Getting The Right Thing Wrong (Petula Clark) - first issued on the 1990 First Night Records single, Home Is Where The Heart Is (Petula Clark) - first issued in 1998 on the album Where The Heart Is and I Am What You Need (Clive Carter) - first issued in 2014 as a digital download. The four songs that were recorded were to form part of an intended cast album recording that never materialised.

Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) Studios
 Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) Studios

The Sound Of Music featuring Darkness Natural Love featuring Darkness
The Sound of Music and Natural Love features Darkness
Someone Like You Where The Heart Is
Songs from Someone Like You recorded at CTS

35 minutes later, using a tube from Wembley Central to Covent Garden, we arrive at Leicester Square, Central London and after a short walk up Charing Cross Road and turning right into Earlham Street / Seven Dials we are at:

3. Redwood Studios, 15 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP

On 26 June 1985, Petula recorded her first demo recordings for the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You at Redwood Studios. The songs recorded: Here We Are (Petula Clark), Amen (Petula Clark), I Am What You Need (Paul Jones), What You Got! (Paul Jones) and Young 'Uns (Petula Clark). To date, these recordings have never been released.

Neal's Yard is a small alley in Covent Garden between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street which opens into a courtyard. Today the studio is now home to the British retailer Neal's Yard Remedies. The studios, which are still in existence relocated in the early 90s to Soho.

Neal's Yard Remedies (previously the 1985 home of Redwood Studios)
Neal's Yard Remedies (previously the 1985 home of Redwood Studios)

Staying in the London Borough of Camden we travelled 21 minutes by tube from Leicester Square to Hampstead:

4. Air Studios, Lyndhurst Road, Hampstead, London NW3 5NG

Associated Independent Recording (AIR) is an independent recording studio founded in London in 1965 by the late Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Air Lyndhurst Hall opened in 1991 and is the site of an old church called Lyndhurst Hall. The site is of significant architectural and historical interest, Lyndhurst Hall was designed in 1880 by Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse (designer of the Natural History Museum). In the spring of 2008, Petula's composition To Memphis was recorded at Air Studios which was featured on her UK chart album Then & Now issued by Universal. Interesting Fact: In 1994 Petula recorded her vocals at Air Studios for the 1995 international cast recording of Blood Brothers.  

Air Studios
Air Studios

Then & Now featuring To Memphis
Then & Now featuring To Memphis

Travelling by tube for 13 minutes on the Northern Line from Hampstead to The Angel:

5. Angel Studios - 311 - 312 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 2TU

In 1996 Petula recorded her composition Better Late Than Never at Angel Studios, London during sessions funded by Reader's Digest - a host of other tracks were also recorded including a selection of Petula's 60s hits and various cover songs that were to be featured on various Reader's Digest CD releases. Better Late Than Never was first released in 1999 as part of the now highly collectable 3 CD box set The Songs Of My Life released by Reader's Digest.

Songs from the Clark / Shipman musical J'Accuse ...! The Passions of Emile Zola were also recorded at Angel Studios in 2011 by West End performers Dave Willetts, Jill Martin and Meredith Braun for the concept cast recording issued by Stage Door Records.

Angel Studios
Angel Studios

Better Late Than Never as featured on the album The Songs Of My Life J'Accuse
Better Late Than Never and J'Accuse concept cast album

From The Angel, we travelled by tube for 15 minutes to Piccadilly

6. Radio Luxembourg Studios, 38 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 7SG

In 1952, 38 Hertford Street became the studios and offices of Radio Luxembourg London (RLL). Petula first recorded for Radio Luxembourg London in 1952 when she presented her own 15-minute weekly programme from the Hertford Street studios.

1952 Newspaper Advert

In August 1980, Petula collaborated with her then musical director Kenny Clayton on a set of concept instrumental themes intended for film. Petula composed four diverse instrumental pieces that Kenny Clayton recorded with The Kenny Clayton Trio (piano, drums, bass) on 02 August 1980. The recording sessions took place at the Radio Luxembourg London Studios in Hertford Street, London. All four themes were first released on the 2007 retrospective In Her Own Write issued by Sepia Records.

38 Hertford Street
38 Hertford Street today

38 Hertford Street is no longer a recording studio (it is now the home of several businesses and private flats) - Radio Luxembourg moved premises in 1990 to their current location at 74 Newman Street, London.

From Mayfair, we walked up Park Lane to Marble ArchPRT Studios

7. PYE / PRT Studios, Great Cumberland Place (Bryanston Street), London, W1

The home of Pye Studios (later PRT Studios from September 1980) was located in the basement of ATV House in Great Cumberland Place (Bryanston Street). Petula's megahit Downtown was recorded here. Of her own compositions, the following were recorded at Pye / PRT Studios:

1977 - Put A Chrysler Sunbeam In Your Life (vocal recorded at Pye Records, Studio 2)
1977 - When You're Gone
1977 - What Am I Doing Here
1977 - Songbird
1977 - You're My Destiny
1977 - Put A Little Sunbeam In Your Life
1977 - Put A Little Sunshine In Your Life
1986 - Guess You've Got A Lot To Learn - recorded by Petula Clark and Majorie Barnes (from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You)
1986 - Liberty - recorded by Lance Ellington (from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You)
1986 - Look Where The Journey Led - recorded by Petula Clark (from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You)
1986 - Love Is All That Really Matters - recorded by Petula Clark and Steve Barton (from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You)
1986 - Three Time Loser - recorded by Petula Clark (from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You)

The ATV offices and PRT Studios closed in 1989 when PRT moved to smaller premises in Chiswick. The building was demolished in 2003 to make way for a new contemporary building.

ATV House / Pye Studios on Great Cumberland Place (1970s)
ATV House / Pye Studios on Great Cumberland Place (1970s)

ATV House / Pye Studios on Great Cumberland Place (2000)
ATV House / Pye Studios on Great Cumberland Place (2000)

Pye Studios

From Marble Arch, we travelled 4 minutes by tube on the Central Line to Queensway

8. Redan Recorders, 23 Redan Place, Queensway, London, W2 4SA

Redan Recorders was a multi-media recording studio providing music production for countless theatre shows in the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond. The studio was ultilised by Petula in December 1987 which produced polished demos from the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You including an ensemble cast performance of Amen together with full company performances of Into The Light, Get It Together and Home Is Where The Heart Is. These sessions were funded by Bill Kenwright. 

The Redan Recorders studio closed in 1991 and is now home to several non-music related businesses.

Redan Recorders

The Redan Recorders Studio Building
The Redan Recorders Studio Building

For our final stop, we travelled 15 minutes by tube from Queensway to Fulham Broadway

9. Snake Ranch Studios, 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0QD

Snake Ranch Studios produced the second set of demo recordings for the Clark / Shipman musical Someone Like You which were recorded in December 1985. The songs recorded were Empty Spaces (Petula Clark), Green Hills Of Old England (Petula Clark), Green Hill, West Virginia (Petula Clark), Love Is All That Really Matters (Petula Clark, Paul Jones and Majorie Barnes), Someone Like You - as the Major's Ballad (Steve Barton), Young 'Un (Majorie Barnes).

Snake Ranch

Snake Ranch Studios closed in 2003 and is now the home of property developers Chelsea Waterfront.

Snake Ranch Studios
Snake Ranch Studios Building

That's your lot - we hope you enjoyed the tour!

2021 www.petulaclark.co.uk

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

Images / videos / ephemera from the Petula Clark Archive - Warner / Hutton Collection. Multimedia files used on this website and our social media platforms are presented for entertainment and study purposes only and are used within the guidelines of the fair use law. Copyrights held by the various / respective owners who may request their withdrawal by e-mail