Lulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie on November 3, 1948, in Glasgow, Scotland. She was the eldest of four and resided in a two-room tenement in Lennox town. Lulu went on to become best known in the United States for her performance of the song “To Sir with Love,” which was featured in the 1967 film of the same name, starring Sidney Poitier.
The song skyrocketed to No. 1 on the charts in America. Simultaneously, Lulu’s success back in Britain continued with more hits and TV appearances. At age 15, she had already become a singing sensation.
At age 20, on February 18, 1969, Lulu got hitched to Bee Gees band member Maurice Gibb, who himself was only 19 at the time. But like many celebrity pairings, this one faltered.
After just four years, the two split, which Lulu attributed in various interviews to Gibb’s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and excessive drinking. In 1977, the singer tied the knot with hairdresser John Frieda. Their union lasted 20 years and produced one son, Jordan Frieda.
In, 1984, she starred in a London revival of the musical Guys and Dolls. Lulu has always worked hard to stay relevant over the decades. Along with the British boy band Take That, in 1993 she recorded a cover version of the Dan Hartman song “Relight My Fire,” which reached No. 1 on the British charts.
That same year, she achieved her first hit as a songwriter, the Grammy-nominated tune “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” which was recorded by Tina Turner.
In 1993 she made a recording comeback with the single “Independence” which reached number 11 in the UK charts. This was the title track from the Independence album; all four singles released from this album reached the UK charts, as did two later singles released in 1994.
That same year she guessed on the cover version of the Dan Hartman song “Relight My Fire”, with boy band takes that. The single reached number one in the British charts and Lulu appeared as Take that’s support act on their 1994 tour.
At this time she also appeared as an unhappy public relations client of Edina Monsoon in two episodes of the BBC television programme Absolutely Fabulous and teamed with French & Saunders many times, including their send up of the Spice Girls (The Sugar Lumps) for Comic Relief in 1997, when she took the role of “Baby Spice”, mimicking Emma Bunton.
In 2002, she released an album of duets entitled “Together”, featuring the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Cliff Richard, Sting and Ronan Keating, along with a best-selling autobiography.
In 2004, she released the album Back on Track and went on a UK-wide tour to celebrate 40 years in the business, the album charting at a low No 68. In late 2004 she returned to radio as the host of a two hour radio show on BBC Radio 2, playing an eclectic blend of music from the 1950s to the 2000s.She was awarded the O.B.E., in June 2000, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for her contribution to the Entertainment Industry.