Inside Lulu's colourful life as she celebrates 55 years since Eurovision success

Acclaimed Scots star Lulu
Acclaimed Scots star Lulu -Credit:Getty Images for EON Productions

Lulu, the iconic Scottish singer, has had one of the most glittering careers in showbiz.

Famed for her striking performance of The Man With the Golden Gun for James Bond's 1974 film, Lulu's name resonates with many.

Born in Lennoxtown, and raised in Dennistoun, Glasgow, the 75-year-old embarked on her singing career before scaling the heights of chart success.

So let's look back at Lulu's illustrious career, from her modest roots to her impressive win at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969.

Early days

Lulu Kennedy-Cairns CBE, formerly known as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, is a Scottish icon renowned for her career spanning singing, acting, and television presenting.

Lulu's journey to stardom began when, at the age of 15, she signed with Decca Records under the guidance of Marion Massey.

Her first single was "Shout," released in 1964 under the name "Lulu & the Luvvers."

This energetic rendition of the Isley Brothers' song quickly propelled her into the spotlight, showcasing her powerful and mature voice at the age of fifteen.

Lulu, 3, with mum and brother Billy -Credit:BBC
Lulu, 3, with mum and brother Billy -Credit:BBC

"Shout" peaked at number seven in the UK singles chart.

Subsequent chart successes followed, including "Leave a Little Love" and "Try to Understand," establishing her as a prominent figure in the UK music scene.

The star was the first British female singer to perform live behind the Iron Curtain during her 1966 tour of Poland with the Hollies and has continued to captivate audiences over several decades.

Rocketing to fame and Eurovision win

Her breakthrough came when she took centre-stage in the global music scene after releasing the chart-topping "To Sir with Love" in 1967.

However, her extraordinary talent is not limited to singing alone; she also hosted several successful television series, including her own BBC specials.

The Scottish musical star secured victory for Britain at the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest with "Boom Bang-a-Bang", despite initial hesitation.

Starting her career as a teenager in the early 1960s, Lulu's strong vocals and magnetic stage presence propelled her to stardom in the UK music industry.

The versatile artist went on to work with illustrious musicians like Elton John and Paul McCartney.

James Bond

In addition to all these achievements, her contribution to the James Bond franchise with the title song for The Man with the Golden Gun further asserted her position as a musical legend.

In the 1980s, Lulu saw a resurgence in her career, achieving success in stage productions, television, and radio.

Her enduring popularity led to collaborations with emerging artists and recognition for her contributions to the entertainment industry.

Inside Lulu's love life

Lulu's first marriage was to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees in 1969 in Gerrards Cross. Their relationship, however, faced challenges due to their demanding careers and Gibb's battle with alcoholism, ultimately leading to their divorce in 1973.

Despite the end of their marriage, Lulu and Maurice remained on good terms.

Lulu also experienced a notable "amazing" relationship with David Bowie. However, she later admitted feeling "frightened" by his hedonistic lifestyle.

On the Rosebud podcast, she stated: "I had a relationship with David Bowie, that was kind of amazing really. We recognised something in each other."

Following her divorce from Gibb, Lulu went on to marry renowned hairdresser John Frieda in 1977.

This marriage lasted until 1991 and resulted in a son named Jordan who chose his path in the entertainment industry as a film producer and director.

Farewell tour

Lulu embarked on her farewell tour, celebrating 60 years in music, in April, starting with a show in Glasgow – her home city.

The star revealed that she wants to “carry on working but I want to do it differently”.

Speaking about her tour, Champagne For Lulu, on the Rosebud with Gyles Brandreth podcast, she said: “If you’ve ever seen me on tour just let me say you won’t have seen me like this."

“This is actually… I’m announcing it for the first time now.

Lulu in her younger days representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
Lulu in her younger days representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest

“This is my farewell tour with family and friends because last year I did a tour that was kind of gruelling. It was successful, it went well.

“But you need an army to be a success in your career these days.

“And I felt unsupported and then I turned 75 and I thought you know what? I want to carry on working but I want to do it differently.

“I’ve learned and I’ve also become a slightly different person. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable.”

During an appearance on Lorraine in January the singer and actress said she still wants to work after her tour and announced plans to make a new album.

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