To Sir With Love
by Lulu

Album: To Sir With Love (1967)
Charted: 1


  • This is the title song to the 1967 movie of the same name. Lulu was in the film with Sidney Poitier - she got the gig after director James Clavell saw her open a show for The Beach Boys. At first she had just a small role in the movie, but Clavell was so impressed with her that he expanded her role and had her sing the theme. The film stars Poitier as a high school teacher who has a big impact on his unruly students. Lulu plays one of his students, and sings this song to him at the end of the film as the students show their appreciation for the teacher.
  • Lulu is a charismatic Scottish singer known for her moving rendition of this song. She was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Laurie (one source cites "Lawrie" as the spelling). She also sang the title song for the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. From 1969 to 1973, Lulu was married to pop star Maurice Gibb. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA, for above 2
  • This was Billboard's single of the year for 1967, having been #1 for five weeks in the USA. However in Lulu's native UK it was only ever a B-side to her #11 hit "Let's Pretend."
  • Don Black wrote the lyrics and Mark London composed the music. Black revealed to the Sunday Times August 10, 2008: "It's one of the very, very few songs that I've worked on where I've written the words first. Normally, I may give the composer a title or suggest a couple of lines, but I don't like to write the whole lyric first. If you write the lyric first, you tend to ramble. You want the structure there to work against it."
  • Lulu performed this song on The Ed Sullivan Show on October 22, 1967, which was the day after hit #1 in America.
  • The version used in the movie has three verses. For the single release, the third verse ("Those awkward years, have hurried by...") was edited out.
  • This was produced by Mickie Most, and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame was the musical director. At the time, Most was the, er, most successful producer in the UK, a consistent hitmaker whose CV includes "I'm Into Something Good" for Herman's Hermits and "Sunshine Superman" for Donovan. Most set up his own record company, RAK, in 1970, and signed Hot Chocolate, Suzie Quatro and Racey to the label.

Comments: 25

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFifty years ago today on October 15th, 1967, "To Sir With Love" by Lulu moved into the #1 position on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    The Top 10 on October 15th, 1967:
    #1. TO SIR WITH LOVE by Lulu
    #2. THE LETTER by The Box Tops {Was the #1 record the four previous weeks}
    #3. NEVER MY LOVE by The Association
    #4. HOW CAN I BE SURE by The Young Rascals
    #5. EXPRESSWAY TO YOUR HEART by The Soul Survivors
    #6. IT MUST BE HIM by Vikki Carr
    #7. SOUL MAN by Sam and Dave
    #8. LITTLE OLE MAN (Uptight-Everything’s Alright) by Bill Cosby
    #9. GIMME LITTLE SIGN by Brenton Wood
    #10. YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • Atticus from San FranciscoI was thirteen years-old when I first heard "To Sir, With Love." From the first time I heard the song it became my favorite record: I have probably listened to the song more times than any human on earth. I joined the Lulu Fan Club USA which at that time was based in Salina, Kansas, and led by a woman named Carolyn Steiner. "TSWL" was not only Billboard's Number One Song of 1967, it was the first time in the Rock Era that a solo woman singer had the year's top song. It is amazing that a young 18 year-old girl had not only such vocal power but expert phrasing and genuine emotion. Thanks, Lulu.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 22nd 1967, Lulu performed "To Sir with Love" on CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was beginning its second week as the #1 record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    {See the next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 14th 1967, the Columbia Pictures movie 'To Sir With Love' opened in theaters across the U.S.A. and Canada...
    Though the movie was filmed in London, England it did not premier there until October 29th, 1967...
    On September 3rd, 1967 the song "To Sir With Love" by Lulu entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #74; and on October 15th it peaked at #1 (for 5 weeks) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 9 of those 17 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on October 29th, 1967 Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" peaked at #2 for 3 weeks, during that period "To Sir with Love" was at #1...
    Lulu had nine other records make the Top 100, her next biggest hit was "I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)"; it reached #18 in 1981...
    Lulu, born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, will celebrated her 66th birthday this coming November 3rd, 2014.
  • Karen from Manchester, NhThis (and Barbra Streisand's "People") was my first favorite song, and I still love it. I actually won a contest by singing it on the radio. I love the movie as well; my daughter, who wants to be a teacher, watched it with me recently and loved it as well (although I had to translate a few things for her; she's only 9).
  • Harry Iii from Honolulu, HiI remember when the movie came out; it was about May '67 or so. I was in 4th grade, I believe. Loved the movie, bought the 45-rpm single. Had a General Electric stereo, I played the record til it wore-out. It was on Epic Records; had that yellow label with black lettering, and the Epic logo in an oval motif at the top
  • Paul from Washington Dc, DcTerrific song. I remember I borrowed the 45 from one of my older sister's girlfriends and played it to death. I believe Don Black also composed "Ben" for Michael Jackson; am I right?
  • John from Beltsville, MdCool factoid: Lulu's early band was called "Lulu And The Luvvers", I believe. The bass player was James Dewar, who went on to be the singer/bassist with Robin Trower.
  • Adrian from Johor Bahru, MalaysiaA common theme for Teacher's Day
  • Samuel from Kilsyth, United KingdomLulu`s first BIG BREAK, was in the LINDELA JAZZ CLUB Edinburgh(scotland)that was owned by a relation of mine `Sinclair`. The name LINDELA, is made up as follows,ELA was his wife, and his Daughter was LINDA,he took the `A`off LINDA, and joined the both names together, hence `LINDELA`, Lulu did not `play fair`to her Backing Group, she wanted to get on, so she DROPPED them, to make a Career for `HERSELF`(FACT).
  • Mike from Houston, TxMy sloppy sentimental reaction. As the comment very touching. Esp now that I have daughter.
  • Barb from Meadow Vista, CaThis was the first grown up movie I saw when I was about 10. It was great and stuck with me all these years. The song really sums up the movie.
  • Samuel from Philippines, Otheroh how swiftly time travels.i saw his movie "to sir wih love" back in my high school days.i can remember exactly how i felt about this movie.very beautiful yet nostalgic.i really admired lulu singing the movie theme, ogether with the other song "it's getting better" by the mindbenders.i even learned to play the guitar chords of these 2 songs.t'was quite a worth-while memoir.
  • Matthew from Milford, MaThis is one of my favorite songs, it's so touching...
  • Leya Qwest from Anchorage, AkListen to the cover by Chaka Khan. She sang it on the short-lived Tony Danza tv show. It's on YouTube and it's awesome.
  • Kelsey from Southampton, PaI like this song because I use to sing it all the time and To Sir With Love the movie was so great that now i see it all the time.
  • Ivan from Dallas, Tx"To Sir With Love" was released in Hong Kong as a single, with the flip side B a lesser-known song "Let's Pretend". Her then husband Maurice Gibb also had a "MTV" song "Railroad" shown on a Hong Kong TV station named TVB. Barry and Maurice also had a boat-rowing MTV "Don't Forget to Remember" on the same TV station. Around that time (late 60's) there're lots of primitive MTV's on TVB, like CCR's version of "I Heard It Thru' the Grapevine" & "Looking Out my Backdoor", Carpenters' "Hurting Each Other", Glen Campbell's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", Kenny Roger's "Tell It ALl Brother", Beatles' "Lady Modonna"...etc.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThis song sounds almost like a James Bond theme in its own right. Small wonder that the singer was eventually chosen to do an actual one.
  • K.k.chandran,film Di from Trivandrum, Indiathe movie moves us from the unreal to the real."to sir with love"is really for ever.thank you.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoGreat performance of a great song.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesThe upbeat Neil Diamond composition "The Boat That I Row" on the "To Sir With Love" Epic single flip side had made the top 10 in England during the summer of 1967. In America, disc jockeys preferred the ballad "To Sir With Love", thus becoming a #1 hit for five weeks during the fall of 1967. Incredibly, "To Sir With Love" never became a hit in England. In San Juan, it was the #1 song of 1967 in the WHOA-AM survey.
  • Jo from Newcastle, AustraliaLulu was briefly married to Maurice Gibb (late, of Bee Gees) in 1969 (FYI: at the time, her brother Billy Lawrie worked with Maurice on his solo LP, and single, "Railroad")
  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WaLulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, on November 3rd, 1948, the eldest of a family of four, in Lennox Castle, Lennoxtown, Glasgow - the daughter of a local butcher. She started singing almost immediately.
  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WaPlaying the part of Cheeky 'Barbara Pegg' - in 'To Sir With Love', alongside Sidney Poitier. She was great, too, and once again was acclaimed by the Press for her performance when the movie was released in April 1967, and later on went to break box-office records all over America. She completely justified the faith put into her by the film's writer, producer and director James Clavell, who said at the time: "This girl has a naturalness, a straightforward quality coupled with a really exciting personality, A very important movie quality indeed". He said it all.
  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WaThat's not all. 'To Sir With Love' shot to the very top of the American Singles Chart to give Lulu a unique distinction in International showbusiness.

    She was the only non- American female singer- ever to have topped the US Singles Chart for five weeks, and at that time only one of five British female singers to have topped the chart.

    Lulu joined this elite band in 1967 when 'To Sir With Love' - the title song from her debut movie appearance - was released as a single ? and within weeks, it was sitting at the very pinnacle of the US Chart. The record stayed there for five weeks and by November 1967 had sold a million copies. In all, the record-making single went on to sell nearly 4,000,000 copies worldwide. It was a remarkable feat for the lovely green-eyed singing star: it was the first time in recording history that a US hit by a British artist was never given a domestic release, even though it was a No1, but then, Lulu has been breaking records and making International showbusiness history ever since.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Lori McKennaSongwriter Interviews

Lori's songs have been recorded by Faith Hill and Sara Evans. She's performed on the CMAs and on Oprah. She also has five kids.

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Yoko OnoSongwriter Interviews

At 80 years old, Yoko has 10 #1 Dance hits. She discusses some of her songs and explains what inspired John Lennon's return to music in 1980.

MetallicaFact or Fiction

Beef with Bon Jovi? An unfortunate Spandex period? See if you can spot the true stories in this Metallica version of Fact or Fiction.

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.