Synopsis of Pop Music
"If you wanted the world,
I'd surround it with a wall, I'd scrawl
These words with letters ten feet tall
To you, with love..."
In the mid-to-late 1960’s, a Scottish lass named Lulu joined Petula Clark and Cilla Black on the list of British female vocalists hitting it big in the U.S. However, Lulu stood apart from her contemporaries thanks to her uniquely energetic and soulful voice. She wrapped songs like “To Sir With Love” and “The Man With The Golden Gun” with a powerful, stirring vocal style that earned her several hits and made her an international star.
Lulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in Scotland. She began singing as a child and had her first European hit by the age of 14 with a ferociously soulful version of the Isley Brothers classic “Shout.” She continued to score hits in Europe over the next few years, but made her real breakthrough when she recorded the theme song for a film called To Sir With Love. Lulu topped the film’s sentimental-yet-soulful theme song with a stirring vocal, making it an international hit. She also played a student in this story of a black teacher adjusting to a teaching job in England.
At the end of 1967, “To Sir With Love” topped the U.S. pop charts for five weeks. She capitalized on this success by touring the U.S. for the first time and appearing on The Tonight Show. The next year, she scored another Top-40 hit on American shores with “Best Of Both Worlds,” a lush ballad with an orchestral arrangement by future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Lulu also moved into a pure-pop phase during this time, most notably winning first prize at the Eurovision Song Contest with the bubblegummy “Boom Bang-A-Bang.”
Lulu switched to more soulful material at the end of the 1960’s. She worked with Jerry Wexler, the producer for Aretha Franklin, and scored a hit with “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby).” In 1974, she modified her image once more through a teaming with friend and fan David Bowie, who produced a funky, sax-driven version of his song “The Man Who Sold The World” for her. This remake successfully blended glam and disco elements together to become a Top-5 hit in the U.K. Bowie also played the saxophone and sang backup vocals on this hit.
Lulu also made waves in 1974 by singing the brassy theme song to the James Bond epic, The Man With The Golden Gun. She continued to score hits in Europe into the mid-70’s with disco-styled tunes like “Swing Your Daddy” and “Take Your Mama For a Ride.” She took a break near the end of the 70’s to devote time to her new family but returned in 1979 to record an album called Don’t Take Love For Granted for Elton John’s Rocket Records label. In 1981, Lulu scored a Top-20 U.S. single from that album with the heartbroken “I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do).”
In the 1980’s, Lulu made the transition from singer to all-around entertainer. She received excellent notices for her work in theatrical productions like Guys And Dolls and Song And Dance and also appeared in the BBC television show The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾. In between this activity, she scored a U.K. hit in 1986 with a remake of “Shout.” In the 1990’s, she turned her attention to dance music and lit up the European charts with danceable tunes like “I’m Back For More.” She also branched out into songwriting and wrote the hit “I Don’t Wanna Fight” for Tina Turner.
Today, Lulu remains active as both a singer and entertainer. Most recently, she sang a duet with Elton John for his musical Aida. She has also recently won an Order of The British Empire honor for her services to England as an entertainer. Whether she sings or acts, there is no doubt that the multi-talented Lulu will continue to be a success.
Artist Release History1965 - Something to Shout About
1967 - Lulu (Ace of Clubs)
1967 - To Sir with Love
1967 - Love Loves to Love Lulu
1967 - From Lulu ... with Love
1968 - Boy
1969 - Lulu's Album
1970 - It's Lulu
1970 - New Routes
1970 - Melody Fair
1970 - To Love Somebody
1973 - Make Believe World
1973 - Lulu (Pickwick)
1977 - Heaven & Earth & the Stars
1979 - Don't Take Love for Granted
1981 - Lulu
1982 - Take Me to Your Heart Again
1983 - Shout
1994 - From Crayons to Perfume: The Best of Lulu
1997 - Absolutely
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