“I’m still kicking!”

As she celebrates the 60th anniversary of “Shout” with a new book and tour – and Glastonbury slot – Lulu talks Bowie, The Beatles and R&B


Hi Lulu. How are you doing today?


I’m good. So what are we talking about this time? You know me, I could talk forever!

How about we start with current plans?

I’m putting out a book that’s going to be, how can I say it, different. The same goes for my Champagne For Lulu tour in April. You’ll have never seen or heard me like this before. I don’t want to say too much, because I want everything to be a surprise.


The tour coincides with the 60th anniversary of “Shout”. You recorded the song after seeing Alex Harvey, right?

It was totally inspired by him. I’d never heard The Isley Brothers version before I saw Alex sing it in a dingy little club in Glasgow. I was only 13 and went along with the other boys in my band, who were quite a bit older. It was so exciting. The place went wild when Alex started singing it. I think he’d been in Germany around the same time as The Beatles.

Talking of which, The Beatles were big fans of your version…

John and Paul said that Lulu’s “Shout” was their favourite record of the week when they were on Ready Steady Go!. That blew my goddamn mind. But they liked the same music as me. We were into black American music: Motown, R&B, the blues, gospel.

Is that what drew you to the States to record 1970’s New Routes and Melody Fair with Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd?

Yeah. I was working with people like the Dixie Flyers, the Memphis Horns, Duane Allman, Dr John, Cornell Dupree.But I struggled with a lot of it, maybe because we didn’t have enough great songs. My biggest hit was “Oh Me Oh My”, which actually came from Scotland. I don’t think the producers really understood me. When I met David Bowie a few years later, he said, “The record companies don’t get you, Lu. And they don’t get your voice either.” I aspired to be like Big Mama Thornton rather than being called the pop princess of Saturday night TV.

Bowie co-produced, sang and played on your 1974 cover of “The Man Who Sold The World”. Then you recorded more together. Can you explain the connection you had?

I was blown away by his talent. He was challenging, exhilarating, new. And I was astonished that Bowie saw me and heard me. We went to New York and recorded two or three songs. But then I left. He was into so many different things and substances, his life was going into a whole kind of wild trajectory and it made me feel anxious. I don’t believe in regret, but it’s maybe the one thing where I think, ‘Who knows what would’ve happened had I stayed?’

One of those songs was “Can You Hear Me”, which Bowie redid for Young Americans

He said, “I’ve written this for you.” I’d love to hear [my version] again, but I can’t get hold of any of those tracks now. I think they’ve all disappeared.

Is it true you’re currently working on a collaborative album, similar to 2002’s Together?

I’ve put out feelers and I’ve got a few really great people who’ve said yes. But I’m keeping that a surprise for now, like the contents of the book and tour. I’m working on several things. I’ve been studying acting for seven years and did a film last summer, Arthur’s Whisky, with Diane Keaton. And there’s a documentary that’s in talks. So there’s lots of stuff. I’ve lived longer than I thought I would. And I’m still kicking, I still have ambition. Let’s just say I have big plans!

The Champagne For Lulu tour runs throughout April, see luluofficial.com for dates and ticket info