Lulu is the nicest woman in showbusiness and has a great sense of humour too – Stephen Jardine

After working with Lulu, Stephen Jardine discovered she was humble, kind, clever, thoughtful – and hilarious

At the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes tonight, someone special will take to the stage. Very few performers get to be so big they can trade off just a single name. In America, they have Cher, Pink and Beyoncé. We have Lulu.

It’s 60 years since Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie exchanged four names for four letters and her Glasgow tenement for the top of the charts. From marrying a Bee Gee to touring with Take That, to being the only Eurovision winner to record a Bond theme, she has been a huge presence in British entertainment but tonight the final chapter opens as she begins her farewell tour. After a couple of warm-up shows, Lulu will tour Britain one last time, playing Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and the London Palladium, which has already sold out.

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Few performers have a career in music so long and varied. From the raucous pop perfection of her first hit, Shout, in 1964 through a new lease of life 30 years ago thanks to Take That, to covering a David Bowie song with him playing the saxophone, Lulu has metamorphosised every time musical fashions change.

Lulu will begin her farewell tour with a performance in Glenrothes (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for EON Productions & Prime Video)Lulu will begin her farewell tour with a performance in Glenrothes (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for EON Productions & Prime Video)
Lulu will begin her farewell tour with a performance in Glenrothes (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for EON Productions & Prime Video)

The opposite of a nightmare

She’s also much more than just a singer. Lulu had her own TV show in 1967, made over a dozen films, produced a best-selling autobiography and co-wrote an international hit for Tina Turner. Not bad for someone who left school at 15. With all that fame and success, you might expect her to be a nightmare but the opposite is true.

A few years ago, I presented a TV show with Lulu for a week. We’d never met and I’d no idea what to expect. I soon discovered why she’s often said to be the nicest woman in showbusiness. Every day we were together she was humble, kind, clever, thoughtful and hilarious. Long afterwards I picked up a magazine and read an interview in which she thanked me for helping her look good on the show. I didn’t, it was all down to her, but modesty led her to say otherwise.

Duet with Rod Stewart?

In a recent interview, she talked about her approach to life, built on over 40 years of studying meditation. “Fame is only what's on the outside,” she said. “It seems like they're rich, got everything at their fingertips. That's not really what it's all about. It's very important to have an inner life, and take care of your inner life. What I've trained myself to do is to look at what I've got and not so much what I don't have.”

Crucially, she’s got a great sense of humour. From touring with Take That’s teenagers when she was 46 to appearing in Absolutely Fabulous as a nightmare version of herself, Lulu has never taken herself too seriously. Although tonight marks the beginning of the end for her touring, she still plans to carry on writing and recording and this week dangled the tantalising prospect of a duet with Rod Stewart.

It’s not a prerequisite to be nice in the music business. Some of the most successful acts subsequently turn out to be monsters. But it’s gratifying that one of the biggest female performers ever to come out of Scotland deserves every moment of the success she has had and one final standing ovation on her farewell tour.



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