Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
She's been one of Britain's best-loved personalities for 38 years, but Lulu has just made her first U.K. top-10 album chart appearance. It's happened with "Together," a set of collaborations with Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Sting, among others.
The Scottish singer, effervescent as ever at 53, has been a familiar figure via hit records and film and TV work dating to her 1964 debut U.K. hit, a raucous version of the Isley Brothers' "Shout." In the U.S., she remains best known for "To Sir With Love," the 1967 No. 1 title track from the film in which she appeared with Sidney Poitier and Judy Geeson.
On May 18, she returned to the small screen with the ITV Network screening in the U.K. of "An Audience With Lulu" as an introduction to the new album, which arrived in stores two days later on Mercury (but is so far a U.K.-only release). Designed to put her chart-standing back on par with the public goodwill toward her, it has already had just that effect, debuting at No. 4 and moving toward gold certification (100,000 shipments).
The record opens with the pairing of Lulu with close friend Elton John on a cover of Womack & Womack's "Teardrops." After a feisty remake of Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame" with Liverpool trio Atomic Kitten, she calls on McCartney for a clever interpretation of his 1976 hit "Inside Thing (Let 'Em In)" with Wings, using samples and new vocals by the ex-Beatle.
Other guests include Joe Cocker, Cliff Richard, Russell Watson, and Irish stars Ronan Keating, Westlife, and Samantha Mumba, and the set concludes with Lulu and Take That's 1993 U.K. chart-topper, "Relight My Fire."
"It's about doing decent songs with decent people, working hard and, for me, having fun," Lulu says. "To do a job you love and be able to have such interesting, fantastic people working with you, it's a great idea."
Lulu plans to make another album next year. "People say, 'Why do you still do it?' " she says. "Well, there's no other reason other than I love to."
Excerpted from the July 20, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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