2/2/18: Lulu “Oh Me Oh My”

Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie sure does have an amazing voice. Of course, I’m talking about Lulu. If you don’t know who she is, get ready for a treat!

Lulu is a Scottish singer-songwriter, an artist with a significant international following, even if it isn’t as strong here in the United States as it is elsewhere. You might remember a movie starting the great Sidney Poitier, called “To Sir With Love.” Lulu not only sang the theme – remember when most movies had a theme? – but also played a part in the film, as a student inspired by her teacher. The song from “To Sir With Love” was a hit in its own right, but you might know another one of her movie-related works a little better: “The Man With The Golden Gun,” from the James Bond flick of the same name.

Lulu has had quite a successful career in the music business. She’s an actor and well-known television personality in the UK, as well. Just a few months ago, her family history was the subject of an episode in the UK version of “Who Do You Think They Are?”

Lulu’s background certainly is interesting. She started her professional singing career at the age of 13, covering the Isley Brothers’ “Shout!” at 15, a record that saw a fair amount of chart success. That was followed up with more success from songs like “Leave a Little Love” and “Try to Understand” in 1965, and was just a couple years later that she made her acting debut in “To Sir With Love” and sold well over a million copies of her record accompanying the film in the United States alone! Billboard Magazine even ranked it as “The #1 Song of 1967,” which is tough to believe, considering all the other great music that came out in 1967. That’s not to say the song – and the movie – aren’t great, and it sure is a lot of success for someone who was still only 19 years old!

She began a long stint as a TV show host in the late ‘60s, and story goes that she had booked The Jimi Hendrix Experience for a live appearance, and was supposed to sing along with the band. After playing about two minutes of “Hey Joe,” Hendrix abruptly stopped playing and said “we’d like to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to Cream… dedicate it to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.” Then, the band launched into “Sunshine of Your Love.” The stage director tried to get the band to stop, but they didn’t. Hendrix would never appear on BBC-TV again, but he didn’t care. I read that he told his girlfriend later, “I’m not going to sing with Lulu. I would look ridiculous.”

Lulu did a song in 1969 that’s always stuck with me, and it’s stuck in my head today. Every time I hear someone say, “Oh me” or “Oh my,” my immediate response is “I’m a fool for ya Baby.” Dumb, I know, but this outstanding song shows off her fantastic voice. It’s been covered by other artists, such as Aretha Franklin, B.J. Thomas, and Ronnie Spector. At 69 years of age, Lulu is still performing, and she can still hit all the high notes, too!