Lulu admits she loved David Bowie ‘for a minute’ ahead of new tour
- Credit: Archant
Pop royalty Lulu reveals she was 'dazzled' by Davie Bowie and why she won't be stopping anytime soon ahead of new tour coming to the region.
Lulu is no stranger to touring and over her 55 years and more in the business, she has sung in concerts all around the world and she recently went on the road with Take That, including a date at Carrow Road, recreating their joint number one hit Relight My Fire.
Now she is poised to headline her own tour this autumn called On Fire, which will "feature anecdotes and hits over six decades".
Lulu said: "I had to pinch myself at the time and now I'm pinching myself all over again when I realise how blessed I was. I've always said I've had angels on my shoulders."
It all started when, at 14 she was taken to a club in Glasgow and a man with dyed black hair came on stage and sang the Isley Brothers' song Shout.
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"It was Alex Harvey and, looking back now, I call that destiny. I had a thing about British music which I thought was wet and wimpy.
"Dusty [Springfield] and I were both mad for American music, as were The Beatles, and I had a real affinity with her."
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They were also two of the few young women in the male-dominated music industry.
"John and Paul were sort of like big brothers to me. I wasn't the girl they all fancied, I was more like the little sister of their best friend so they looked after me."
After the huge success of Shout, Lulu struggled with the pressure to match it with future songs.
"It was a hard act to follow. I managed to keep myself afloat with some minor hits for the three years left of my contract with Decca and then Mickie Most came into my life."
In the past, she's said that, successful as he was, his choice of songs was too lightweight for her taste.
"But I've revised my view. He gave me hit after hit and, while some of them were pure pop songs, they consolidated my career.
'He was famous and rich and successful. Why would he listen to a 17-year-old? Anyway, with The Boat That I Row, written by Neil Diamond, no less, I was back in the area of music I liked best."
The success served up by Mickie opened many doors, including a starring role in the film, To Sir With Love, opposite Sidney Poitier.
Lulu's version of the title song then topped the American charts for six weeks and in 1969 she won the Eurovision Song Contest with Boom Bang-a-Bang, but she admits: "I began to look down my nose at that was ungracious of me.
"I wouldn't sing that song for over 30 years but then I sang it at Gay Pride in Manchester at the end of August and thousands of people sang along with me."
She also caught the attention of David Bowie, who she collaborated on for chart-topping hit The Man Who Sold the World, but found herself being tugged in two directions.
"He was cooler than cool, beyond edgy, always pushing the envelope towards the dark and mysterious. Then you look at me: the clean-cut girl next door, always playing it safe, Miss Saturday Night TV.
"Almost the first thing he said to me was that my voice didn't match the image. That kind of frightened me, but I was fascinated, of course. He was undoubtedly a genius - and who wouldn't want to work with a genius?"
Much has been made recently of the fact that she was in love with Bowie.
"Well, maybe for a minute", she says. "I don't know if you could call it love, though. The truth is that I was totally dazzled by him.
"He showed me what I was capable of as an artist, but I was persuaded that maybe I needed to return to a safer place in terms of my career."
That same year, in 1974, she was approached to sing the title track of the new Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun and in 1977 she married international hairdresser John Frieda, father of her son, Jordan, who in turn has given her two grandchildren Bella and Teddy.
When the marriage unravelled at the beginning of the 90s, she was casting around wondering what to do next.
"That's when my brother, Billy, said that, if I wanted to get back into the record industry, I ought to start writing songs.
"I protested but he kept on at me and then I realised I'd absorbed so much knowledge down the years, I'd got an unofficial PhD in song-writing.
"I'd been married to Maurice Gibb, for heaven's sake and the Bee Gees were as good as it gets when it comes to writing hits."
In 1993, Lulu released a critically well-received album, Independence, on which she'd co-written some of the tracks.
In time, Take That's record company got in touch with hers saying they'd like to work with her.
Lulu is now 70 but she has no plans to retire from the industry: "Look at Elton. There's your answer.
"If you're passionate about music - and I am - why would you stop?"
Lulu comes to The Apex Bury St. Edmunds on October 20 and King's Lynn Corn Exchange on October 29 and you can purchase tickets at luluofficial.com