Lulu: “David Bowie understood me. Part of me wonders: what if our relationship had continued?”

Lulu: “David Bowie understood me. Part of me wonders: what if our relationship had continued?”

While tuning in to Ready Steady Go!, I recall the Beatles proclaiming Shout as their preferred tune. Does that moment ring a bell for you? RobertWinchester49

During the release of Ready Steady Go!, the streets would become deserted as the entire country tuned in to watch. Like many other 15-year-old girls, I was completely infatuated with the Beatles. Therefore, it was truly incredible when John and Paul declared that Shout was their top pick among all the records released that week. Their influence was revolutionary and their endorsement was the ultimate validation for me. I owe my career’s start to the Beatles.

Did you have a good time winning Eurovision? DutchMarianne

It was a frightening experience as the outcome was left to chance. Four nations received an equal number of votes [and were named co-winners]. While Boom Bang-a-Bang was the only song that achieved success, I must admit there was another song [being considered for the UK entry] composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin that I favored. However, I am thankful nonetheless. Whenever I perform, I often mention: “I am grateful that you, the audience, selected the song instead of me, as we likely would have lost!”

Sidney Poitier, Lulu (right) and British actor Suzy Kendall filming To Sir, With Love in 1966.View image in fullscreen

Did you have a positive experience collaborating with Sidney Poitier on the film To Sir, With Love? Garyrob

During my time touring with the Beach Boys, [director-screenwriter] James Clavell approached me. When he suggested that I change my hair color, I found his attitude to be arrogant. As a successful pop star with a hit single and on tour with the Beach Boys, I didn’t appreciate being spoken to in such a manner. However, I believe my defiant demeanor actually landed me the role, as he was looking for someone with a rebellious and bold personality.

Sidney overwhelmed me with his height and refined appearance. He exuded intelligence and sophistication, often reading newspapers from various countries. He was also a renowned movie star, which was not something I was accustomed to in my social circle. Many people were moved to tears when my character sang the title track to him. Sidney had a knack for choosing roles that showcased his intelligence and talent. In a time where Black men were typically portrayed as servants or lower class in films, Sidney’s character of Mark Thackeray was a refreshing representation of a middle class, educated individual who was also kind. He was incredibly generous to me and we remained friends throughout the decades. Our communication dwindled towards the end, which is a regret I will always have.

What were your thoughts when Jimi Hendrix deviated from the planned performance on your TV show Happening For Lulu in 1969? -EricPodler

I couldn’t believe it. He had just been informed that the band Cream had broken up, so he stopped singing his own song and instead played “Sunshine of Your Love” as a tribute. The floor manager’s face turned red because he could hear the director yelling through his earpiece, demanding to know what was happening. Later, Jimi apologized, saying, “Lu, I’m sorry if…” He likely knew that this act would be controversial and may have even taken pleasure in that. Ridiculously, the BBC banned him afterwards, and we are still discussing it today.

Take That and Lulu on stage.

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You were an excellent selection for Take That’s rendition of [Dan Hartman’s] Relight My Fire. What was your most cherished moment during that period – and do you still stay in touch? 1Mercedes

Nigel Martin-Smith, the group’s manager, suggested me for a role. However, the record company had different plans, so the boys had to defend my position. It eventually led us to a new audience. I believe Jason [Orange] has distanced himself, but the boys still keep in touch with him. I, on the other hand, regularly communicate with Gary, Mark, Howard, and occasionally Robbie. To me, they are like extended family and we have countless fond memories together. One that stands out is when we were on tour and Gary took over the microphone in the cockpit, pretending to DJ at a club in the Midlands. We couldn’t stop laughing throughout the entire flight.

What was your response upon learning that you would be performing in a James Bond film? 25aubrey

I believed that Shirley [Bassey] had already mastered that style and there was no space for anyone else. I’ve always admired [composer] John Barry for his elegance and coolness, and I was familiar with his arrangements even before I knew the lyrics. So when they approached me for The Man With the Golden Gun, I was surprised and honored. Joining the Bond franchise is a remarkable achievement.

I was first introduced to your amazing rendition of The Man Who Sold the World. What motivated you to perform a cover of David Bowie’s track? – Flashbleu

I initially encountered him at a recording studio in the United States while with Iggy Pop. Later, he approached me in the lobby of a hotel in Sheffield and invited me to his performance that evening, expressing his desire to create a hit record with me. This ended up becoming a reality. Although the record label wanted me to conform to a more mainstream pop image, he recognized the uniqueness and strength of my voice. I was a fan of Hunky Dory and he appeared as if he had not removed his makeup from the day before. He had fiery orange hair and pale white skin. After having a few drinks, we engaged in intense conversation for the remainder of the night.

David Bowie and Lulu in the Daily Mirror studio, 27 December 1973.View image in fullscreen

Did you cover any additional Bowie songs that have yet to be released? NickyYoung

I am familiar with two unreleased songs, Dodo (from the Diamond Dogs sessions) and Can You Hear Me (from Young Americans). There may have been a third, but I cannot recall as it was a challenging time for Bowie. He was heavily involved in the production of Young Americans and experimenting with darker themes. I was scared and distanced myself. While I have no major regrets, a part of me wonders what would have happened if we had stayed connected. I am a private person and Bowie was one of the few who truly understood me.

Can you recall any specific memories from the evening after Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy Stardust? Did you, Mick Jagger, and Lou Reed all stay at Hotel Café Royal?
According to popular belief, if you can recall everything, then you probably didn’t enjoy yourself. And to be honest, I don’t have many memories of that time! I do remember Mick expressing his joy that I was collaborating with Bowie. I had actually met him at 15 years old when we were both signed to Decca. The members of the Rolling Stones treated me like a little sister, which always bothered me because I wanted to be seen as their equal.

I thoroughly enjoyed “I Don’t Wanna Fight”, the song that you composed for Tina Turner and was featured in the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Can you share the inspiration behind this song? From Martinnew.

I collaborated on this with my brother, Billy Lawrie, who is a professional songwriter. I, on the other hand, only write songs part-time. However, he has a talent for grasping the core message of my lyrics. The inspiration for this song was my divorce. It was Sade who shared the song with Tina. I am grateful to her and owe her a debt of gratitude.

Did you actually bring Pete Townshend to your family’s home in Glasgow for tea and cookies? kaipahead

Not only was it Pete, but also at least Pete and Roger [Daltrey]. It’s possible that the entire band was there, and my parents’ apartment was quite small. The Who backed me in Glasgow when they were known as the High Numbers, but it wasn’t a casual visit with tea and biscuits. My father was a heavy drinker, so he ordered half a bottle of whiskey and six cans of lager. I still run into Roger occasionally. Nothing can replace the memories and connections you have with people from your youth.

Lulu on ITV’s The Masked Singer.View image in fullscreen

Can you recall the enjoyable experience of being a contestant on ITV’s The Masked Singer as the character “Piece of Cake”? – VerulamiumParkRanger

Honestly, there was a lot of anticipation for nothing significant because I only watched the show briefly with my grandchildren. But the main appeal of the show is trying on costumes – and being inside the cake was an enjoyable experience. It felt like being in a tube for a medical scan. It would be difficult for someone with claustrophobia to do. So it was not easy, but it was enjoyable.

Did your appearances in Absolutely Fabulous derive from your name being a punchline for Jennifer Saunders? Mikeybirdzis1234

The situation was reversed. I formed a strong friendship with Ade Edmondson, Robbie Coltrane, Ben Elton, and other modern comedians while performing in Guys and Dolls. It was through my connection with Dawn French that I first met Jennifer. It was Jennifer who came up with the famous line, “Champagne for Lulu!” Her improvisational skills are unmatched and she is truly spontaneous.

What should we anticipate on the tour? Jade99

Last year, I went on a tour consisting of 32 dates, which was quite challenging. As I am turning 75 this year, I have made the decision that Champagne for Lulu will be my final tour. I will continue to perform, but will no longer go on tours. At this stage in my life, my setlist will cover my entire career, but there will also be surprise guests to add some excitement and I will be performing some songs that I haven’t done in a long time. Even if you have seen me perform before, this will be a unique experience.

What is your trick for maintaining a youthful appearance? – bobbinstoo

When performing, I frequently mention that I have “angels on my shoulders.” The crowd may chuckle, but I am aware of how fortunate I am. Despite being 75 years old, I do not feel my age at all and I refuse to be lazy. I make sure to take care of myself by taking vitamins and staying hydrated. I am determined to start working out again, and I managed to avoid sugar for eight weeks, although I did give in and eat a chocolate bar recently.