Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 09/26/2019

Most people in the US probably consider Lulu to be a one-hit wonder thanks to her chart-topping single To Sir, With Love in 1967. While many can probably point to Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You) from 1970 as a song that disqualifies her from that title, it was actually her third highest-charting record in the US.

Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie grew up Glasgow, Scotland. By the time she turned 13, she was already singing with the Bellrocks on Saturday nights. She got her stage name from a comment made by her future manager: “Well, all I know is that she’s a real lulu of a kid.” She was only 15 when her cover of the Isley Brothers’ song Shout reached #7 on the UK charts (the single only managed to touch #94 on the Hot 100).

Several more singles followed, but none reached the US charts and she moved to new record label. She also began appearing as a co-host on a television show in the UK.

Her big break came when she was selected to act and sing in the film To Sir, With Love in 1967. She sang the title song as a thank you to her teacher (played by Sidney Poitier) as part of the film’s climactic scene. After the success of that single, her former record company rereleased Shout but that time it fared even worse, peaking at #96 in spite of an extra 12 seconds that were added to the song.

Thanks to the exposure of the film, Lulu was finally able to host her own television series. She also married Maurice Gibb, one of the members of the Bee Gees.

1970 brought her to a third record label, and the first single she recorded for them was Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You). The single reached #22 in the US.

Lulu’s last hit record in the US came in 1981 with the release of I Could Never Love You (More Than I Do). The single peaked at #18 and reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The record barely made it to #62 in the UK and was her last visit to the US Top Forty.

Lulu was still touring and singing live in 2019.


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