Lulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, the first child of a Glasgow butcher, on 3 November 1948.
In 1964, at the tender age of fifteen – but with the voice of a middle-aged woman with a heavy smoking habit – Lulu and her backing band The Luvvers reached #7 in the UK charts with her version of The Isley Brothers‘ Shout.
Originally named The Gleneagles, Lulu joined The Luvvers a year before their chart breakthrough and they played their brand of rowdy R&B-influenced music regularly in Glasgow’s clubs.
Despite this promising debut, subsequent sales were disappointing, although their third release, Here Comes The Night, preceded the hit version by Them by several months.
Playing with Lulu in The Luvvers were Ross Nelson (Guitar), Jim Dewer (Guitar), Alex Bell (Guitar/keyboards), Jimmy Smith (Saxophone), Tony Tierney (Bass) and David Miller (Drums). The group folded in March 1966, leaving Lulu to a career as a solo pop singer.
The theme tune from the film gave her a million-selling US #1, and in the UK it reached #6, despite being relegated to B-side of the inferior Let’s Pretend.
Further UK hits followed, notably Me, The Peaceful Heart, Boy and I’m A Tiger. Having established herself as an entertainer of wide appeal, Lulu was granted her own television series and later represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest. The painfully trite Boom-Bang-A-Bang tied for first place and provided her highest UK chart placing at #2.
She married Maurice Gibb (from The Bee Gees) in 1969 but the marriage was over by the end of 1973. Her brief marriage was followed by another switch of labels and musical styles when she worked with famed producer Jerry Wexler on two albums.
A lean period of flop singles ended when David Bowie intervened to produce and arrange her hit version of The Man Who Sold The World.
During the 70s, she concentrated increasingly on stage work and developed her career as an all-round entertainer, a spin-off of which was becoming the long-standing model/endorser for the Freeman’s mail-order catalogue.
In 1974, she sang the title song for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
In the 1980s she married (and divorced) hairdresser John Frieda, and appearances in Guys And Dolls, Song And Dance and the television program The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole distracted her from the studio but a disco re-recording of Shout, in 1986, repeated the Top 10 success of 22 years before.
In 1993, Lulu released Independence, an album of “modern disco-pop with a flavour of classic soul and R&B”.
Co-produced by Bobby Womack and London Beat, the title track registered strongly in the UK and US charts, and was followed by another single, I’m Back For More, on which Lulu duetted with Womack.
She was, by then, creating some of her own material, and one of her songs, I Don’t Wanna Fight Any More, written with her brother, Billy Lawrie, was recorded by Tina Turner.
Later in the year, Lulu reached UK #1 as guest vocalist on Take That‘s cover version of Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire. A series of minor hits followed over the rest of the decade as Lulu continued to work hard to cement her reputation as a 60s survivor and keep in the news.
She was awarded the OBE in June 2000 for her contribution to the entertainment industry.