She’s an icon for the 1960’s Swinging London
British singer and actress Lulu turns 71 today
Lulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie on November 3 1948 in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. She came to prominence during the 1960’s as one of the symbols of Swinging London. In 1964 she released “Shout!” which became her signature song despite being a cover of the Isley Brothers. After the success of “Shout”, Lulu’s next three singles failed to make an impact on the charts. She released “Leave A Little Love” in 1965, which returned her to the UK Top Ten. Her next record, “Try to Understand” made the Top 30. She made her acting debut in 1967 To Sir, with Love, a British vehicle for Sidney Poitier. Lulu both acted in the film and sang the title song, with which she had a major hit in the United States, reaching #1. “To Sir With Love” became the best-selling single of 1967 in the United States, selling well in excess of 1,000,000 copies; it was awarded a gold disc and was ranked by Billboard magazine as the #1 song of the year. During the late 1960’s Lulu was given several TV shows by BBC, one episode of “Lulu”, from January 1969, is remembered for an unruly live appearance from The Jimi Hendrix Experience. During this appearance, after playing about two minutes of “Hey Joe”, Hendrix stopped and announced, “We’d like to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to Cream, regardless of what kind of group they may be in, dedicate to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.” Hendrix and his band then broke into “Sunshine of Your Love”. The studio director signaled for Hendrix to stop, but he continued. Hendrix was told he would never work at the BBC again, but was unrepentant. He told his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, “I’m not going to sing with Lulu. I’d look ridiculous.”
On 29 March 1969, she represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest performing the song “Boom Bang-a-Bang” which won the contest though enrolled in controversy, three other songs, from Spain, (“Vivo cantando” by Salomé), the Netherlands, (“De troubadour” by Lenny Kuhr) and France, (“Un jour, un enfant” by Frida Boccara) tied with her on 18 votes each. The rules were subsequently altered to prevent such ties in future years, but the result caused Austria, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Finland not to enter the 1970 contest. In 1974, she performed the title song for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. During that period she also covered David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” and “Watch That Man”. Bowie and Mick Ronson produced the recordings. Bowie played saxophone and provided back-up vocals and rumors of a brief affair were confirmed in her 2002 autobiography. Lulu continues to enjoy great success specially in Great Britain where she still acts and stars on several Shows as a host and guest. Lulu turns 71 today
Look back at Lulu performing “Shout!” in 1964
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