Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mononymic Artists: Lulu

Lulu: Feelin' Alright


Raspy-voiced Scottish Britpop soul singer Lulu had already recorded a couple of albums by the time she made her film debut in To Sir With Love at the tender age of nineteen, playing the rebellious Barbara "Babs" Pegg to Sidney Poitier's inspirational inner-city teacher. Lulu's memorable delivery of the film's title song charted at number one in the US, but her career neither began nor ended there; the woman has released scores of hit singles in her long, rich career, won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969*, appeared as a judge and TV host for plenty of programmes since, and was named an OBE in 2000 in recognition for her contributions to British music.

To prove her prowess, here's one of many favorite funky coversongs she took on during her peak as a name-brand musician, from a 1970 major-label release spawned, in part, by her engagement to first husband Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. The Memphis-style horns, actually recorded in Alabama's Muscle Shoals, really drive the song forward, though the song could really use a bit more cowbell. And if you like this, you really should check out her takes on Dylan's The Mighty Quinn and Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World.

*Bonus points: Lulu's winning Eurovision Song Contest entry, Boom Bang-a-Bang, was only the second Nonsense Song to win the contest; the following year, it would be succeeded by a song from another Mononymic Artist, Irish singer-songwriter Dana

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