It was kind of astounding to find out recently that 60’s pop songstress Lulu, had never officially toured the USA until 2013! The voice behind one of the most iconic ballads of all time, To Sir, With Love (and she was also one of the standout young actors in the Sidney Poitier classic film of the same name), Lulu’s career may have peaked in the swinging 60’s, but certainly did not end there.
Lulu (whose name is officially, Lulu Kennedy-Cairns), who is 68 years old, is as active now as she was when she was serenading Poitiers teacher character Mark Thackeray (or “Sir”) on celluloid in 1967. Her latest album, Making Life Rhyme, was released a little over 2 years ago, and features a stellar cover of Jimi Hendrix’ Angel (The Jimi Hendrix Experience were responsible for what has become the most well known performance on Lulu’s variety show, Happening For Lulu, when Hendrix stopped a performance of Hey Joe to go into an impromptu tribute to Cream and cranked out Sunshine of Your Love, much to the annoyance of the shows producers, whom were trying to get Hendrix to stop, and found their pleas ignored).
Looking amazing in a black fedora and sporting Converse high top sneakers, Lulu, who performed at the Bull Run in Shirley, Massachusetts on June 2, 2017, opened up with a duo of past hits – her cover of the Isley Brothers Shout and her 1967 ditty The Boat I Row, before launching into Poison Kiss (the only song from Making Life Rhyme that she performed all night) and, after fondly reminiscing about him – turned out an atmospheric take of David Bowie’s classic, The Man Who Sold The World.
The former wife of Bee Gee’s Maurice Gibb, Lulu has been doing three Bee Gee penned tracks on her current tour with, Run To Me, To LoveA Somebody, and I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You. She then added a sampling of a fourth Brothers Gibb tune when she appropriately tossed in a few lines from their 1967 hit, Massachusetts.
While not an actual Bond girl, Lulu was the voice behind 1973’s The Man with The Golden Gun, for which she dedicated to the recently deceased Bond actor, Roger Moore.
Lulu, who is quite the storyteller, was quite clear during the night about her love for American music and did blistering takes of Ray Charles’ Unchain My Heart, Aretha Franklin’s Rock Steady, Otis Reddings’ I Can’t Turn You Loose, and a killer duet with her guitarist on Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog.
Not shy about her accomplishments, Lulu reminded all, just before performing her signature song, To Sir, With Love, how it was number 1 in the US for six weeks – while recollecting about the groundbreaking nature of the film, and the magnificence of its star Poitier.
A prodigious night from a true 60’s icon.
The set list:
Shout (from Something to Shout About, 1965)
The Boat That I Row (from Love Loves to Love Lulu, 1967)
Poison Kiss (from Making Life Rhyme, 2015)
The Man Who Sold the World (from Heaven and Earth and the Stars, 1976)
I Don’t Wanna Fight (b-side of single How ’bout Us, 1993)
Bee Gees Medley:
Run to Me
To Love Somebody
I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You
Unchain My Heart (Ray Charles cover)
The Man With the Golden Gun (from Heaven and Earth and the Stars, 1976)
I Could Never Miss You (from Lulu, 1981)
Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby) (from New Routes, 1970)
Rock Steady (Aretha Franklin cover)
Hound Dog (Big Mama Thornton cover)
To Sir With Love (from Love Loves to Love Lulu, 1967)
I Can’t Turn You Loose (from A Little Soul in Your Heart, 2005)