Search - Lulu :: From Crayons to Perfume: Best of

From Crayons to Perfume: Best of
From Crayons to Perfume: Best of
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

"Lulu, you and I were born in the same pool. Honey, you got soul!" -James Brown. This is the first best-of featuring this '60s star-20 songs crammed on one CD spanning almost 20 years of her career.


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CD Details

All Artists: Lulu
Title: From Crayons to Perfume: Best of
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 11/15/1994
Release Date: 11/15/1994
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Europe, British Isles, Oldies, British Invasion
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 081227181529


Album Description
"Lulu, you and I were born in the same pool. Honey, you got soul!" -James Brown. This is the first best-of featuring this '60s star-20 songs crammed on one CD spanning almost 20 years of her career.

CD Reviews

To Lulu with Love
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 12/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the camp between the hipsters and squares, Lulu, the daughter of a Glaswegian butcher, was in the latter category along with Nancy Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, and Petula Clark, who did harmless inoffensive pop. She could do a nice lilting strings ballad like "To Sir With Love" or could let loose with her Petula Clark/Ronnie Spector-ish vocals on the soulful "Oh Me Oh My (I'm A Fool For You, Baby)." Chartwise, she didn't score too many Top 40 hits, but since when is that THE measure for how respected an artist is?Her time with the Luvvers is represented by her cover of the Isley Bros.' classic "Shout," which although it didn't do well on the charts, became the song she became most associated with in the UK. Her voice is really scratchy and shrill in this song, but it doesn't detract from the song. Here are the highlights."Leave A Little Love", her first solo single, hit #8 in the UK and demonstrated her ability to sing nice pop ballads backed with vocalists and piano.Her biggest and only #1 US hit, the ballad "To Sir With Love" from the movie she also co-starred in, is a tribute to a teacher who teaches Judy Geeson's character to grow up "from crayons to perfume". Originally the B-side to her cover of Neil Diamond's "The Boat That I Row" the US DJ's played it and made into a hit. The soaring vocals, strings, and guitar embodies the epitomy of 60's pop, coming as it did in 1967. She does a competent version of the Diamond song, featuring the organs made popular in that decade, and it made to #15 on the US charts.The engaging "Me The Peaceful Heart" a #9 UK single, bombed at #53 in the US, shows her wondering why bad things happen to her, but she takes it all in style. Songs like the rocking "Boy" and "Sad Memories", with a folky twinge, "Morning Dew", with horns and orchestra a la Nancy Sinatra's middle period, and Harry Nilsson's "Without Him" were all done in 1968, showing her versatility in doing varied styles.Two songs with the Dixie Flyers, "Hum A Song (From Your Heart)" and the ballad "After The Feeling Is Gone" are included, and shows her leaving the 60's pop scene, embracing more string arrangements and a Southern soul sound. Such is also the case with the harmonious and clapping "Everybody's Got To Clap", written by her husband, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.In the 70's, she covered a few Bowie songs of which "The Man Who Sold The World" and "Watch That Man" are included, featuring backing vocals from Bowie, himself a fan of Lulu, and produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson. The musicians were the Spiders, BTW. And she joins the hallowed few who does a James Bond song, the brassy "The Man With The Golden Gun." However, her ballad single from Elton John's Rocket label, "Don't Take Love For Granted" and her single from Alfa Records, the #18 "I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)" shows her vocals matured and at their best, with the strings backing making these the best songs on this collection, rivalling "To Sir With Love."And this is a Rhino compilation, so the Billboard chart position for each song is listed. However, why exclude her highest charting UK hit, the #2 "Boom Bang-A-Bang"? After all, she is an islander. Lulu may not have had the legendary reputation and smooth vocals of Dusty Springfield, but she held her own in the 1960's and 1970's.Oh, and trivia: Lulu got her name who her manager said of her, "she's a lulu.""
Just don't just call her "Sir"!
R. Bourbeau | Maui, Hawaii, USA | 08/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The UK has given us plenty of powerhouse female vocalists with as much soul as Aretha Franklin could muster any day. Dusty Springfield was certainly one, and she is sorely missed. Thankfully, little Marie Lawrie from Scotland is still with us. Who, you ask? Why, she goes by the name of "Lulu" to you and me! (A recording executive, hearing her for the first time as a young girl, was thunderstruck by the voice he heard coming out of this tiny wisp of a redheaded Scottish tyke and referred to her as a "lulu"; the nickname stuck.)

Lulu started belting out the hits as a teenager in Britain several years before a certain breakthrough film starring renowned Bahamian-American, Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier, playing a new teacher who's trying to get through to a bunch of East London toughs, would be released. Lulu's recording of the title song from the 1967 film To Sir, With Love would provide her with the USA's biggest hit of that entire year--The Beatles included!--and, as it happened, it would also become Lulu's only #1 American hit (thus far). Incidentally, she also co-stars in the film and sings the title song near the end of the film (with a third verse that's missing from the single) as part of a tribute from the rehabilitated students to the beloved teacher they simply call "Sir."

The strange thing is, although the film was popular in the UK, the title song never became a hit in Britain. Their loss, believe me.

The title of this marvelous compilation album, From Crayons to Perfume: The Best of Lulu, features part of the lyric from "Sir," but its 20 tracks are much more than that one huge smash. It opens with her first English hit, her 1964 cover (credited as "Lulu and the Luvvers") of the Isley Brothers' R&B hit "Shout"--you still know the song, as the stain pre-treatment product uses the tune in its current TV ads.

It amazes me that this little fireball of a singer would only have three other Top 40 singles in the U.S. besides "Sir." In 1969, she cracked the Top 25 with "Oh Me, Oh My (I'm a Fool for You, Baby)," which Aretha herself later recorded and scored as a hit on the R&B charts. "Best of Both Worlds" was a follow-up to "Sir" in late '67, but because of her newfound success, her former record label decided to re-release "Shout" simultaneously, so she ended up effectively competing against herself on the music charts. Until probably the arrival of the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack in 1977 (referring to the ubiquitous Bee Gees), artists rarely had songs released to radio and for sale at the same time. "Best" did manage to hit the Top 40, but "Shout" topped out at #96: exactly two spots lower than the original single charted at in 1964.

Then, much later, she had the wonderful Top 20 dance hit "I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)" in 1981, which closes this compilation. "Miss You" was originally recorded in '79 under Elton John's Rocket Records label, but when first released it went nowhere. Then, an outfit called Alfa Records made a compilation of her late '70s recordings and created the eponymous album simply titled "Lulu." "Miss You" would be re-released, became a hit in the U.S., but then Alfa Records promptly filed bankruptcy while the album was in release and the artist was trying to promote it. Her followup single, "If I Were You," also became a mid-chart hit for Lulu and would earn her a Grammy nomination. Curiously, "If I Were You" is not in this compilation album. That's a shame, because it's a great cut.

Some may not know that Lulu is the ex-wife of Maurice Gibb, the deceased member of the Bee Gees. He, along with Lulu's brother Billy Lawrie, co-wrote "Everybody's Got to Clap," from 1971, included here. Her affiliation with David Bowie in the early '70s provides us with her recordings of the the truly strange Bowie compositions "Watch That Man" (which has been covered by a number of other artists) and "The Man Who Sold the World."

Better instead is one of her trademark recordings, the James Bond title theme to The Man with the Golden Gun from 1974. Although the single never charted in the U.S., the song is as associated with Lulu as much as "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Goldfinger" are with Shirley Bassey and "For Your Eyes Only" is with Sheena Easton.

Other favorites include the Neil Diamond-penned "The Boat That I Row" (the "B" side to "To Sir, With Love"); Harry Nilsson's "Without Him," from 1968; and the gorgeous ballad "Don't Take Love for Granted," recorded in 1978 and released on the 1981 album "Lulu."

Although this compilation was released in 1994, Lulu has continued composing and recording throughout the years. She co-wrote Tina Turner's last Billboard Top 10 hit single, 1993's "I Don't Wanna Fight," from the soundtrack to the superb film What's Love Got to Do with It?. The film title obviously refers to Turner's global #1 smash from 1984 and her signature song from the triumphant album that heralded the birth of Tina's amazing solo career, Private Dancer. For the film, Angela Bassett was awarded the 1993 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (the first time an African-American actress had won a Golden Globe in that category), as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, for her searing performance as Tina Turner in her early years of tremendous success and unspeakable suffering with Ike Turner. Bassett's on-screen husband, Laurence Fishburne, was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Ike Turner.

Also in 1993, Lulu released the new album Independence on both sides of the Atlantic. The title track from the CD became a hit on Billboard's dance-singles chart and also cracked the pop-singles Hot 100. And Britcom fans will have noticed that Lulu was a frequent guest-star on the cult favorite Absolutely Fabulous (better known as just "AbFab" for short), starring "sweetie dahlings" Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley (1992-2005). Lulu and Saunders are close friends.

But for those who prefer their vintage Lulu, opt instead for "From Crayons to Perfume," and revel again in "To Sir, With Love," "Oh Me, Oh My," and "I Could Never Miss You." She's graduated from crayons to perfume with style, grace, beauty, and that incredible, roof-raising voice.

2006 UPDATE: If you happen to catch yourself in New York City in the fall of 2006, do yourself a favor and see the Broadway production of "SHOUT! A Mod Musical." The title is taken from Lulu (and the Luvvers)'s first Britain/U.S. hit, her 1964 cover of the Isley Brothers' hit "Shout!" The cast comprises five outstanding young British female singers who provide a revue of many of Britain's great female vocalists of the 1960s, so Lulu is well represented along with the likes of Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey, and others. If you're a fan of the impact these artists have had on American (and worldwide) music, you owe it to yourself to see this show!

2008 UPDATE: "American Idol" fans may have caught Lulu appearing with Peter Noone, lead singer of Herman's Hermits, in a '60s-themed evening during the juggernaut's sixth season, which was won by teen sensation Jordin Sparks. I don't know what Lulu was "on" that night, but she absolutely shredded "To Sir, With Love" to bits and left not even a hint of the original melody even remotely recognizable. It was an utterly horrible mess, as one certain perpetually grouchy British "AI" judge might haughtily declare it--on one of his "good" days.

I recently (see update below) saw a PBS pledge special called "The British Beat," presented by Petula Clark and produced by the amazing T.J. Lubinsky, who is somehow able to bring back to the stage performers and groups who haven't performed together for years and often decades, as part of the PBS "My Music" pledge-week series, which have become incredibly popular for both the network and the series' producer.

Such is the case, for example, for Peter and Gordon in "The British Beat," who hadn't performed together for nearly 40 years, but somehow Lubinsky got them together for this special. Their performances of "A World Without Love" (a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney that was never released by The Beatles, by the way) and "I Go to Pieces" sounded as beautiful and fresh today as it did four decades ago. And no, there was no lip-synching to the original recordings. They were singing and playing guitar live, along with the orchestra assembled in the concert recorded live in Manchester, England. It was utterly glorious to hear those unmistakable harmonies again!

To get back to my original point, Lulu appeared on this special and performed "To Sir, With Love," gracefully and beautifully. She added some 21st century runs that are always screaming to come out of her remarkably bluesy, jazzy voice, but she did her #1 song justice. It was miles better than her performance on "Idol." If she was trying to introduce a 40-year-old song to a bunch of teens and 20-somethings or endear herself to those of us who have loved her and that song for just as long, she made a horrific and disgraceful mistake. But since I'm reviewing the CD and not her 2007 performance on "American Idol," nothing changes my original rating.

CD Rating: **** (out of 5)...Updated from original review, 04 Sept 06 / 24 Jan 08 --BOB BOURBEAU"
Lulu's best from the sixties and seventies
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 07/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At her best, Lulu was - and still is - one of Britain's finest singers. This skilfully compiled CD proves it. Lulu also recorded some songs that really don't bear repeated plays, but Rhino has wisely excluded them from this set. It is for that reason that I bought this CD instead of one of the various British compilations. The best of her British sixties hits are here, but anybody seeking Let's Pretend, Love loves to love love, I'm a tiger and Boom bang a bang can find them elsewhere easily enough.Shout (a cover of an Isley brothers song) is what Lulu is best remembered for in Britain, while To sir with love (which includes the phrase From crayons to perfume in it's lyrics) is what Lulu is best remembered for in America. Both of them, though totally different types of song, show Lulu at her brilliant best.Other classics include The boat that I row (a British hit, and the flip side of To sir with love, which remained the B side in Britain), Leave a little love (a lovely ballad), Oh me oh my (later covered by Aretha), The man with the golden gun (one of the best James Bond theme songs) and I could never miss you, a top 20 American hit.Also worthy of mention is the weird David Bowie song, The man who sold the world. I didn't like it when it was first released, but I appreciate it better now.So, I regard this as the best compilation of Lulu's early music, it being that rare breed - a compilation that includes all the great tracks without all the rubbish."