I would think that most of the folks who find their way to the GMC on a regular basis would be familiar with a 1960s British singer named Lulu — or at least will remember her huge number-one pop hit, “To Sir With Love.” As you will also recall, it was the theme of a 1967 movie starring Sidney Poitier, a film that also marked Lulu’s modest debut as an actress.
Born in Scotland as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, Lulu was still in her early teens when she began appearing professionally and wowing fans in Glasgow clubs. And she was just sixteen when she recorded her first UK hit, “Shout,” an Isley Brothers’ R&B song on which she demonstrated a decidedly strong singing style along with plenty of charisma.
For the next couple of years she continued to build a career, touring with acts like the Hollies and making lots of records with diverse songs like “The Boat That I Row.” Poitier’s film was being put together in London at about that time, and she was chosen to sing the theme (uncredited!), a song that would present a softer side of the singer. It would make her an international star.
In the years since, Lulu has gone through some ups and downs — including marriage to the Bee Gees’ Maurice Gibb — but she has continued to find performing success in a number of areas. Although she has never again reached the top of the charts, she’s recorded many successful albums, has toured regularly, and has made countless TV and movie appearances. At last report, she is still very active — almost a half-century after her first appearance on a stage in Glasgow.