Lulu's hit career began back in 1964 as a 15 year old with her storming version of the Isley Brothers' 'Shout'... She had further hits throughout the 60s and into the 70s, but 'Independence' was her first record since 1982 and a triumphant comeback, reaching No. 11 in early '93At time of writing, Lulu has just released the latest of her many comeback albums, amid the typical bout of publicity about how she's really a soul singer despite her silly stage name and uncool Californian showbiz image. So far, she's being outsold by the new Calexico album.
But back to a previous comeback. It is true that the album to which this was the title track was her first in 11 years, unless of course you count the 1984 exercise instruction record Shape Up And Dance, but she had been more active on the singles market, scoring a big hit with a re-recorded 'Shout' in 1986 and following it up with a cover of 'My Boy Lollipop'. She also recorded the theme tune to a cartoon version of 'Nellie The Elephant' in 1990. It wasn't a hit though, and you can kind of see why she though her career might need a bit of a rethink.
It might not have been the most logical move to switch to contemporary dance music, but it actually worked remarkably well, with Brothers In Rhythm applying a similar sort of production to what Kylie was doing in her post-SAW years. Lulu is obviously the better singer, if not quite as good as she seems to think, and this is one of her best showcases because it doesn't give her the chance to overdo things. Neither is the backing in the way. And she even got Bobby Womack onto Top Of The Pops with the follow-up single, so that alone seems to justify its existence. By the end of the year she'd also had her first hit as a songwriter and her only Number One single (collaborating with Take That) though the run was shortlived.
Also appearing on: Now 54 [with Ronan Keating]
Available on: Greatest Hits (UK comm CD)