For me, Lulu is one our greatest-ever female vocalists, although very much a hit-and-miss recording artist. She has alluded chart success many times, but I do still like a lot of her music. She has such a powerful, soulful voice, but at the same time, has recorded so many songs that just didn't suit her, because they failed to take advantage of her naturally raw voice. Whilst reading 'I Don't Want To Fight', I found out that she herself is the first to admit this, but make no mistake though, when she's at her best, she's brilliant.
'I Don't Wanna Fight' is the inspirational story of a rather fascinating woman who has worked very hard to keep a varied show business career, which now spans over forty years afloat, Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawie, better known as simply Lulu is the only female artist to have a hit single in the UK charts for five straight decades.
This best-selling book, published in hardback in 2002, is a much better read than her first attempt at writing an autobiography, 1985's Her Autobiography, because with both her parents now deceased, she was finally able to reveal the full truth about her working-class childhood in Glasgow, which she describes in here rather beautifully.
Growing up with a father who was an alcoholic, her early days were punctuated by all the violence and heavy drinking which was happening all around her. Although she doesn't always put her parents in a positive light, there is a genuine deep love and affection which she feels for them. This really shines through in what is a very honest account of her fascinating life and career.
She then moves onto her early days as a band singer, which led her first taste of musical success, scoring a top ten hit with her powerhouse performance of 'Shout', which she recorded the tender age of 14. It wasn't long before she found herself through breaking through to America with a starring role in the hit film 'To Sir With Love' with Sidney Poitier, and it's chart-topping theme song, which she herself performed. Anyone with an interest in the exciting musical scene of the Brit invasion of the 1960s, will find these chapters particularly interesting, as Lulu shares her memories of rock-pop icons like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, Scott Walker, and later David Bowie, who produced her comeback single 'The Man Who Sold the World' in the mid '70s.
We are also able to read about the many ups and downs of her private life. Her troubles have included two failed marriages, one to Bee Gee Maurice Gibb, and later to the celebrated hairdresser John Freda, a miscarriage in the 1980s, and that uninspiring (for her) decade as a whole, where she found herself unwittingly moulded into an all around entertainer and TV family favourite, by her loyal, but sometimes misguided manager, and gradually drifting away from the recording business she loves dearly.
Singer, film star, TV personality, actress, and more recently songwriter - the Glasgow artiste certainly has many talents, and as the 1990s came in, she successfully reinvented herself as a dance diva, and cemented her reputation as a national treasure, scoring the hit single 'Independence', which she wrote herself, and topping the UK charts for the first time with Take That on their 'Relight My Fire'. Now a respected songwriter with confidence at the age of 40 something, she and her brother co-wrote the title of this book, which Tina Turner recorded and turned into an international smash hit.
The book ends on a refreshingly positive note, and I just loved Lulu's work ethnic and positive attitude, which appears to have helped to hide the insecurities she has obviously felt her entire life. 'I Don't Wanna Fight' was an interesting read from the first page, and a fascinating insight into how the music business, and world of showbiz has change over the years.
On the evidence of this book, she doesn't seem very warm and cuddly as a person, there is very little humour to be found within these pages, but then again, this lady certainly hasn't had the easiest of lives, which understandably must have hardened her. She appears to be nobody's fool, and I really do respect that. In short, 'I Don't Wanna Fight' is a winning memoir, with something to interest any keen music lover, and of course, to Lulu's fans, it's the ultimate companion, complete with two inserts of attractive, glossy photographs from her childhood days right up to 2002.
Lulu's career in music has had its ups and downs, just like her life. The sixties were famous for love, drugs and rock'n'roll, but although Lulu enjoyed life back then, she was a late starter on the first, only sampled the second a couple of times, and her music deviated from the third fairly quickly. Nevertheless, Lulu's story is interesting in its own way. I read the whole book in one day and I never got bored. Each aspect of her life is covered in just enough detail so that I wasn't left thinking that I needed to know more. The book begins telling us about her parents and her childhood, explaining that they had more money than most of the families around them and why. Throughout the book, it is obvious that her parents, her sister and her two brothers are all very important to her. Lulu traces her career in music, television and on stage and screen, explaining how she was sometimes persuaded to do things against her better judgement. As I always suspected, she is much more interested in R+B than some of the fluffy pop music she was sometimes expected to record. Lulu describes some of the different records she made and the different people she worked with. Fans will be particularly interested to know about some of the music that is sitting in record company vaults, as yet unreleased. No specifics are given, but it's clear that there is some more music (apart from the tracks that were released) that Lulu did with David Bowie in the seventies, plus an album of new recordings that would have been released in 1997 but for record company personnel changes. Lulu also talks about her two failed marriages - the first to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and the second to a leading London hairdresser. It was this second marriage that yielded her only child, her son Jordan. It appears that Lulu still gets on well with both men despite their past problems. Apparently, Lulu nearly lost her life twice, once as a child when the rowing boat she was in drifted out to sea, and once in the eighties when she was in a head-on collision driving in thick fog. Later, she had a problem with her voice and at one time it seemed that she would never sing again. Fortunately, she made a full recovery. Lulu deliberately did not write her autobiography until both her parents had died, and it becomes clear early on why. If you have any interest in Lulu's music, there is enough packed into her life to make the book worth reading.
This is a great book. One of those books I will not give away because I may want to read it again. Lulu let's us know her problems she has had to face, as well as the highs in her life. She comes off as more than a rock star. A person who has let us into her life and gives courage and is truly a role model for me.
As she gets older she reinvents herself. I especially appreciate that being a woman around her age. This book is great. I recommend it for anybody especially one going through a hard time like a relationship breakup or feeling you can't be at a certain age.
I found this book a bit tedious, not much going on and not enough 'feeling'. It lacked humour and I actually abandoned the read before the end of the book. I chose the book because I admire her as a performer and was expecting some really great stories considering the industry and the era tha she represented.