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HAPPENING FOR LULU / LULU

BBC1
28th December 1968 - 22nd March 1969

After her variety show earlier in the year Lulu was now 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 that the show "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.

Jimi Hendrix 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 with his band. 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, trashing Hey Joe and learching into a cover of Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love, scuppering the intended duet, running overtime, and leading to a BBC ban. Thankfully a BBC video tape engineer saved that portion of the show, re-appearing on the Old Grey Whistle Test a few years' later.

The following week the show was re-titled 'Lulu', cut by ten minutes and found her singing the six qualifiers for A Song For Europe, including an early song by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Members of the Music Publishers' Associations suggested songs to a committee who then reduced the number of songs to fifteen. Lulu was then allowed to commission three further songs of her chosing. The selection of eighteen was then reduced to six by a committee of BBC representatives, an association representative and Lulu herself. Her agent Dick Katz tried to explain the cut in the show's length to Melody Maker "This was to allow Lulu to concentrate on the Eurovision songs included in the shows. The show is getting a terrific reaction."

Despite the apparent name change a March 1969 print advert for Blood Sweat and Tears' still credited the show as 'Happening For Lulu' when they were due to appear as guests.

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