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HAPPENING FOR LULU / LULU

BBC1
28th December 1968 - 22nd March 1969

After her variety show earlier in the year this time Lulu was given a more progressive show, in keeping with her musical tastes.

Johnny Harris was the musical director this time around, rather then the usual Harry Rabinowitz or Ronnie Hazelhurst. Pan's People were used as the dance troupe, rather than the Young Generation, the backing singers were the soulful Sue and Sunny rather then The Ladybirds and the Producer was Stanley Dorfman. Lulu was very definitely given an upgrade this time around.

The Radio Times had announced the show as "The first programme in a new series of music and laughter" while producer Stanley Dorfam predicted "will be 45 minutes of live, unscripted, anything-can-happen television". He wasn't wrong.

Her then fiance Maurice Gibb appeared on the first show as did Atlantic Records' band Cartoone in the New To TV portion of the show which would also feature Apple Records' The Iveys on the second show. It would be that second show on 4th January 1969 that would be memorable.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience had lost a lump of hash down a dressing room sink plug hole but manage to retrieve it in time for a pre-show smoke, leading to an erratic, but legendary performance. The shows' producer wanted the band to accompany Lulu on a version of To Sir With Love after they had performed Hey Joe, but they veered off-piste into a cover of Sunshine Of Your Love instead, scuppering the intended duet, running overtime, and leading to a BBC ban. Thankfully a BBC video tape engineer recorded that portion of the show, re-appearing on the Old Grey Whistle Test a few years' later.

The following week the show was retitled 'Lulu' and she would sing the six qualifiers for A Song For Europe, including an early song by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Although the intention was to show Lulu in a contemporary light in the end it would only lead her to Boom Bang-A-Bang.