Petula Clark’s I Know a Place: Psychedelic Rock or Pop?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The question of whether or not Petula Clark’s song “I Know a Place” is psychedelic rock or pop has been debated for years. This blog post takes a closer look at the song and its place in music history.

Introducing Petula Clark

Petula Clark was a popular singer in the 1960s, known for hits like “Downtown” and “I Know a Place.” She also dabbled in psychedelic rock with her song “I Know a Place,” which was released in 1965. So, what genre does this song belong to?

Who is Petula Clark?

Petula Clark is a British singer, songwriter and actress who first found fame as a child star in the 1940s. She is best known for her 1965 hit “Downtown” which reached No.1 in the US and Canada. Clark has sold more than 68 million records worldwide and has been awarded numerous accolades including a Grammy Award, an Ivor Novello Award and a Brit Award.

Born in Epsom, Surrey, in 1932, Petula Clark began her career as a child star on BBC Radio before making her film debut in 1944’s A Medal for the General. She went on to enjoy success in a number of musical films including Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Finian’s Rainbow (1968). In 1959, she scored her first UK chart hit with “The Little Shoemaker” and followed this with the No.1 single “Sailor”. Clark’s career took off in the 1960s with hits such as “Downtown”, “I Know a Place”, “My Love” and “A Sign of the Times”. In addition to her solo work, she also found success as part of a duo with French singer Sacha Distel.

As well as enjoying success in the pop charts, Clark has also had considerable success as a stage and screen actress. She has appeared in West End musicals such as The King and I (1956), Sunset Boulevard (1994) and Blood Brothers (2011). On television, she is known for appearing as Rosalind Harvey in the ITV series The Edgar Wallace Mysteries (1972-74) and for hosting her own variety show, Petula (1975-76). In recent years, she has continued to perform concerts all over the world and released several successful albums including Living For Today (2002), Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue (2005) and From Here To Eternity (2010).

What is her musical background?

Petula Clark was born in Epsom, Surrey, on November 15, 1932. Her father Leslie Clark was a successful timber merchant and her mother Dorothy Clark a homemaker. Petula was raised along with her three brothers Tony, Rodney, and Craig in a comfortable middle-class home. As a child, she enjoyed singing and often put on impromptu shows for the local children. Though she had no formal training, she possessed a natural talent for music and by the age of nine had developed a powerful singing voice.

In 1940, when Clark was eight years old, her family relocated to London to escape the Nazi bombings of Surrey. It was there that she began her formal musical education, studying piano and voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She also joined a local youth choir, which gave her the opportunity to perform in public for the first time. She quickly developed a love for performing and found herself seeking out every opportunity to sing in front of an audience.

After graduating from Guildhall in 1951, Clark began working as a professional singer. She found regular work singing in clubs and cabarets around London, but it wasn’t long before she started to find success on British radio and television. In 1954, she made her first recordings for Decca Records and soon after released her debut single “The Little Shoemaker”/“Tout Va Tres Bien” (both songs sung in French). The single was unsuccessful but did not discourage Clark; she continued to work hard and soon found herself one of the most popular singers in Britain.

“I Know a Place”

“I Know a Place” is a song by Petula Clark. It was released in 1965 as a single and later included on her album I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love. The song was written by Tony Hatch and Petula Clark. It reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.

What is the song about?

The song is about a place where “there’s no need to hide away”, meaning that it’s a place where people can be themselves without judgement. The location is never specified, but it’s implied that it’s a safe haven from the outside world. It’s also implied that this place is in one’s mind, as opposed to an actual physical location.

How does it compare to other Petula Clark songs?

Petula Clark’s “I Know a Place” is a bit of an anomaly in her musical catalogue. Compared to other songs she was known for, like “Downtown” and “My Love,” “I Know a Place” is much more upbeat and even upbeat. It’s also one of her only foray’s into the world of psychedelic rock/pop.

In many ways, “I Know a Place” sounds like it could have been recorded by The Beatles or The Kinks – it has that same kind of energy and feel-good vibe. The song is about finding a safe haven from the outside world and retreating into your own happy place. It’s an uplifting and optimistic song, which was probably needed more than ever when it was released in 1965 (in the midst of the Cold War).

Even though “I Know a Place” is definitely not one of Petula Clark’s most famous songs, it’s still an enjoyable listen and a interesting snapshot of what she was experimenting with musically in the 1960s.

What is the genre of the song?

The song “I Know a Place” was released in 1965 by English singer Petula Clark. It reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song has been described as both psychedelic rock and pop.


Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “acid rock”, is a style of rock music that was inspired by psychedelic culture and attempted to replicate its effects. This style of music often contains elements of drug use, mind alteration, and extended improvisation. Although Petula Clark’s song “I Know a Place” is not explicitly about drug use, it does contain elements of psychedelia. Therefore, it could be classified as psychedelic rock.

Is “I Know a Place” psychedelic rock or pop?

Pop songs that have a psychedelic influence are not uncommon, but “I Know a Place” is definitely one of the more overtly psychedelic pop songs to come out of the early-’60s British Invasion era. It’s also one of the catchiest and most optimistic-sounding songs in Clark’s entire catalog.

What is the difference between the two genres?

It is hard to determine where one genre ends and the other begins, but there are some differences between psychedelic rock and pop. Psychedelic rock is generally more experimental, with longer songs that often incorporate elements of improvisation. Pop, on the other hand, is typically more concise and melody-driven.

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