THE Argus speaks to Sixties singing sensation Lulu about what has kept her passion for music so strong after more than 50 years in the business.

Lulu is no stranger to touring. In her 55 years and more in the business, she’s sung in concerts all around the world.

Most recently, at their request, she toured the UK with Take That, recreating their joint Number One hit, Relight My Fire on stage.

Now she’s poised to go out on the road headlining her own tour – with a difference.

“It’s going to be a chronological journey through my career,” she said.

“It will feature anecdotes and hits spanning six decades. It’s the story of my life.

“I had to pinch myself at the time; now I’m pinching myself all over again when I realise how blessed I was. I’ve always said I’ve had angels on my shoulders.’

It all started when, at 14, she was taken to a club in Glasgow and an emaciated man with dyed black hair came on stage and sang the Isley Brothers’ song, Shout.

She said: “It was Alex Harvey and, looking back now, I call that destiny.

“I had a thing about British music which I thought was wet and wimpy. Dusty [Springfield] and I were both mad for American music – as were the Beatles – preferably sung by black singers.

“She and I had a real affinity. We loved each other’s company.”

They were also two of the few young women in the male-dominated music industry.

She said: “The bands took me under their wings. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were sort of like big brothers to me.

“I wasn’t the girl they all fancied; I was more like the little sister of their best friend so they looked after me.

“We all lived to make music although, let’s face it, the Beatles were really cute.”

Eric Clapton put a protective arm round her shoulder one day: “I thought ‘oh well, there’s no chance there then’.

“The Who looked out for me, too, and that included Keith Moon. Scott Walker was always kind to me.

“And I toured Poland with The Hollies, the first female singer to do so.

“It was freezing cold and the walls were scarred with bullet holes.

“The police wouldn’t let the kids stand up. They’d patrol the concert halls brandishing batons.

“It was scary. But the boys made sure I was all right.”

After the huge success of Shout, Lulu struggled. She says so herself: “It was a hard act to follow.

“I managed to keep myself afloat with some minor hits for the three years left of my contract with Decca.

“And then Mickie Most [record producer] came into my life.”

In the past she’s said, successful as he was, his choice of songs was too lightweight for her taste.

“But I’ve revised my view,” she adds.

“He gave me hit after hit and, while some of them were pure pop songs, they consolidated my career.

“He was famous and rich and successful.

“Why would he listen to a 17-year-old?

“Anyway, with The Boat That I Row, written by Neil Diamond, no less, I was back in the area of music I liked best.”

The success served up by Mickie opened many doors, not the least of which was a starring role in the film, To Sir With Love, opposite Sidney Poitier.

Lulu said she was “pretty much in awe of him”.

Lulu’s version of the title song then topped the American charts for six weeks and became Billboard’s Number One record of the year. The world was her oyster.

And that world included a certain David Bowie: “He was cooler than cool, beyond edgy, always pushing the envelope towards the dark and mysterious.

“Then you look at me... the clean-cut girl next door, always playing it safe, Miss Saturday Night TV.”

She found herself being tugged in two directions when she collaborated with Bowie. “Almost the first thing he said to me was that my voice didn’t match the image. That kind of frightened me.

“But I was fascinated, of course. He was undoubtedly a genius – and who wouldn’t want to work with a genius?” Bowie produced Lulu’s chart-topping hit The Man Who Sold The World, as well as playing on it. It’s something she was incredibly grateful for.

She said: “He showed me what I was capable of as an artist.

“But I was persuaded that maybe I needed to return to a safer place in terms of my career.”

She’d had a big hit with Boom Bang-a-Bang with which she won (along with three other entries) the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest.

“But I began to look down my nose at it,” she said.

“And that was ungracious of me, I now realise.

“I wouldn’t sing that song for more than 30 years but then I sang it at Gay Pride in Manchester at the end of August and thousands of people sang along with me.

“So I’m including it on the tour because I have to honour the fact that it was a famous moment in my career and the public obviously still loves it.

“And who am I to know better than them?

“If you’re the kind of artist who repeatedly says no to keep your integrity, then God bless you. But it’s not easy.”

In 1974 she was approached to sing the title track of the new Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun.

She got to work with Don Black who wrote the lyrics for To Sir and John Barry who composed all the Bond songs.

In 1977, she married international hairdresser John Frieda, father of her son, Jordan, who in turn has given her two adored grandchildren. Bella is nine, Teddy, six.

When the marriage unravelled at the beginning of the Nineties, she was casting around wondering what to do next.

She said: “My brother, Billy, said if I wanted to get back into the record industry I ought to start writing songs.

“I protested but he kept on at me and then I realised I’d absorbed so much knowledge down the years, I’d got an unofficial PhD in songwriting.

In collaboration with Billy Lawrie and Steve DuBerry, Lulu’s very first effort was I Don’t Wanna Fight. Sade heard the demo and happened to mention it to Tina Turner who had the same manager. She duly recorded it and it topped the charts around the world.

In 1993, Lulu released a critically well-received album, Independence, on which she’d co-written some of the tracks.

In time, Take That’s record company got in touch with hers saying they’d like to work with her.

She said: “I initially reacted with uncertainty. I was quite wrong, of course, because it brought me to a whole new audience.

“And Relight My Fire is a great song; I knew it from the Seventies.

“To be honest, I thought my vocal was just a try out, the boys loved it, though.”

She’s 70 now. How demanding does she find life on the road?

“Very,” she says, “But I’m extremely disciplined. You have to be.

“And I’m a stickler for plenty of sleep. Also, if I’ve performed the previous evening, I won’t talk until midday the next day.

“Your voice is an instrument. It needs looking after.”

For the moment, though, all thoughts are on the upcoming tour. “And I couldn’t be more excited,” says Lulu.

Not bad after 56 years in the business.

For tickets to Lulu’s tour or more information visit