Petula Clark, one of the top British singers of all time, remembers being heckled at a Montreal performance, and then consoled by a pyjama-clad John Lennon.
Clark, now 86, began her performing career as a young child, singing for radio broadcasts and appearing in films and television programs — occasionally performing in French. In 1964, her hit single “Downtown” propelled her to superstardom.
In an interview with The Guardian, Clark remembered the night she played in Montreal in 1969. The city was experiencing a tumultuous year — the Quebec Liberation Front was responsible for multiple bombings as separatist tensions between anglophones and francophones reached their peak.
Clark told the Montreal Gazette in 2017 that she had been going to Montreal for years to sing in French. So when her English hits began to rise on the charts, she thought it would be a great chance to do a bilingual show.
She was booked for multiple nights from May to June 1969 at Place des Arts. According to the Gazette, when she would begin to sing a song in French, the anglophones in the audience would begin to heckle her. When she switched to a song in English, the francophones would follow suit.