Scottish actress, singer and television personalityMusical artist
Lulu Kennedy-Cairns (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie; 3 November 1948) is a Scottish singer, actress and television personality.
Noted for her powerful singing voice, Lulu began her career in the UK before becoming internationally known. Later in her career, she had major chart hits with “To Sir with Love” from the 1967 film of the same name, which topped the Billboard Hot 100, and with the title song to the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. In European countries, she is also widely known for one of the Eurovision Song Contest 1969 winning entries “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, and for her 1964 hit “Shout”, which she performed at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
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Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie was born in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, and grew up in Dennistoun, Glasgow, where she attended Thomson Street Primary School and Onslow Drive School. [ 2 ] She lived in Gallowgate for a while before moving to Garfield Street, Dennistoun. [ 3 ] When she was 12 or 13, she and her manager approached a band called the Bellrocks seeking stage experience as a singer. She appeared with them every Saturday night : Alex Thomson, the group’s bass player, has reported that even then her voice was remarkable. She has two brothers and a sister, and her father was a heavy drinker. [ 4 ] Aged 14, she received the stage name ” Lulu ” from her future manager Marion Massey, who commented : ” Well, all I know is that she’s a real lulu [ a ] of a kid. ” [ 6 ]
In August 2017, Lulu’s family history was the subject of an episode in the UK series Who Do You Think You Are?. The research showed that her mother had been brought up by another family. The investigation into her genealogy showed that Lulu’s maternal grandparents had different religions. Her grandfather Hugh Cairns was a Catholic and her grandmother, Helen Kennedy, was a Protestant. Cairns had been a member of a Catholic gang and was found in the research to have been in and out of prison at the time of the birth of Lulu’s mother. Kennedy was found to be the daughter of a Worthy Mistress of the Ladies’ Orange Lodge 52; the discovery explained why the two families had opposed the union between Kennedy and Cairns.
In 1964, under the wing of Marion Massey, she was signed to Decca Records. When she was only fifteen, her version of the Isley Brothers ‘ ” Shout “, credited to ‘ Lulu và the Luvvers ‘ and delivered in a raucous but mature voice, peaked at No. 7 on the UK chart. Massey guided her career for more than 25 years, for most of which time they were partners in business, and Massey’s husband Mark produced some of Lulu’s recordings. [ 1 ]After the success of ” Shout “, Lulu’s next charting single was ” Leave a Little Love ” in 1965, which returned her to the UK Top Ten. Her next record, ” Try to Understand “, made the Top 40. [ 8 ]
In 1966, Lulu toured Poland with the Hollies as the first British female singer to appear live behind the Iron Curtain. In the same year, she recorded two German-language tracks; “Wenn du da bist” and “So fing es an” for the Decca Germany label. All her Decca recordings were made available in 2009 on a 2-CD set entitled Shout!, issued on RPM Records. After two hit singles with the Luvvers, Lulu embarked on a solo career.
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After failing to reach the charts in 1966, Lulu left Decca and signed with Columbia, to be produced by Mickie Most. She returned to the UK singles chart in April 1967, reaching No. 6 with ” The Boat That I Row “, written by Neil Diamond. [ 8 ] All seven singles she cut with Mickie Most made the UK Singles Chart, ending with ” Boom Bang-A-Bang ” reaching number 2 in 1969. [ 8 ] When Most died in 2003, Lulu was full of praise for him and told the Đài truyền hình BBC that they had been very close. [ 11 ]
Lulu 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 No. 1. “To Sir with Love” became the best-selling single of 1967 in the United States, selling well in excess of one million copies; it was awarded a gold disc, and was ranked by Billboard magazine as the number 1 song of the year. In the UK, “To Sir With Love” was released on the B-side of “Let’s Pretend”, a number 11 hit.
In the late 1960s, Lulu’s pop career in the UK thrived and she had several television series of her own. Her first BBC series aired in 1965 on BBC Two, where she co-hosted Gadzooks! It’s The In-Crowd, with Alan David, completing the run as solo host under the rebranded Gadzooks! In 1966, she made regular appearances on BBC One’s Stramash!. After appearing again on BBC Two in 1967 in a successful TV series that featured music and comedy, Three of a Kind, Lulu was given her own BBC One TV series in 1968, which ran annually until 1975 under various titles including Lulu’s Back in Town, Happening For Lulu, It’s Lulu and Lulu. The series often featured resident guests, including Adrienne Posta, Roger Kitter, Paul Greenwood and Pan’s People, along with dance troupes choreographed by Nigel Lythgoe and Dougie Squires. The 1972 series was billed as It’s Lulu… Not to mention Dudley Moore, with Dudley Moore and his trio appearing in each of the thirteen shows. Bernie Clifton was her resident guest for the last of the BBC series, airing from January to April 1975. Her BBC series included music and comedy sketches and appearances by star guests.
One episode, 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 signalled 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.”
Concurrently with her TV series, Lulu also hosted several ‘one-off’ specials. These included Lulu At Bern’s Restaurant in 1969; a show recorded in Sweden with the Young Generation; 1970’s The Young Generation Meet Lulu (also recorded in Sweden) and Bruce Forsyth Meets Lulu in 1975.
On 29 March 1969, she represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest performing the song “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, written by Peter Warne and Alan Moorhouse, the song chosen from a selection of six by viewers of her BBC1 variety series Happening for Lulu and on a special show hosted by Michael Aspel in which she performed all six one after another. One song, “I Can’t Go On…”, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, came last in the postcard vote but was later recorded by Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw, Polly Brown and Elton John himself as well as by Lulu. In Madrid, Lulu was accompanied by Sue and Sunny while the orchestra was conducted by Lulu’s musical director Johnny Harris. Lulu later recalled:
I had a series on TV, and Bill Cotton was the Head of [ Đài truyền hình BBC ] Light entertainment [ at the Đài truyền hình BBC ], and he said to my manager : ” I’d like her to do the Eurovision Song Contest, on the series “. And she came to me and I went ” Why ? What do I want to do that for ? ” … and she said that he said that ” you’ll get good ratings, and he is the boss, and he wants you to have good ratings. Maybe I could have said no, but I felt I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. And I thought … I was full of myself, thinking ratings isn’t what it’s all about … But, you know, Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote a great tuy nhiên that didn’t go through … I had this amazing band, like 20 pieces. We did all these different songs … every single one of us said ” Which one is gonna win ? Which one is gonna win ? ” and we all laughed and went : ” Bet you it’s that Boom boom bang a bang a bang a bang … ” But then it won. Somehow there was an intelligence working there … and it was a huge success .