Song Lyric Sunday – To Sir With Love

This week’s prompts for Song Lyric Sunday are Educate, Learn, School and Teach. I have gone back in time and chosen ‘To Sir With Love’ by Scottish singer and songwriter, Lulu. It was from the movie of the same name featuring Sidney Poitier as a high school teacher in the East End of London in 1960s, and It was Lulu’s acting debut. I find the song almost hypnotic. She commands the music and lyrics masterfully and makes it memorable. Lulu was a very popular in the 1960s with a soulful, rock and roll, raspy voice. She married Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. They divorced four years later and then she married Hair Stylist, John Frieda. They remained married for fourteen years and subsequently divorced. They had one son.

A fun fact I was not aware of: Lulu also co wrote ‘I Don’t Want To Fight’ for Tina Turner along with her brother Billy Lawrie, and Steve DuBerry.

Lulu is still performing and has hardly aged. At 73 she looks amazing!

The Song

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. 

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.

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

Those schoolgirl days 
Of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind 
I know they will still live on and on

But how do you thank someone 
Who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try

If you wanted the sky 
I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high 
"To sir, with love"

The time has come 
For closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave 
I know that I am leaving my best friend

A friend who taught me right from wrong 
And weak from strong
That's a lot to learn
What, what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon 
I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart 
"To sir, with love"

Writer/s: Don Black, Mark London 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

  21 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – To Sir With Love

  1. August 14, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    I loved this song and the film it came from Christine. Great choice.

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks Di. I haven’t seen the film in years but now i want to ☺️💕

  2. August 14, 2022 at 9:14 am

    This is a very pleasant song Christine and a perfect choice for the theme today. Thanks for starting off mt Sunday with a smile.

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Oh my pleasure Jim. Thanks! ☺️

  3. August 14, 2022 at 6:09 am

    I don’t know why this song slipped from my memory. It was very HIGH on my list at the time. Perfect song, wonderful movie and great performers!
    Thankyou Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 7:25 am

      Thank you Jen! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I have to watch the movie again. ☺️💕

      • August 14, 2022 at 9:18 am

        😊👍

  4. August 14, 2022 at 4:29 am

    That was a really good movie and song. Lulu is one of those women that looks better as they age. Its ironic how the only problem “Sir” had with his students was unruliness. Today its weapons. The times have changed.

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 7:28 am

      Yes isn’t that the truth. How ugly we have become in such a short time. 🥲

  5. August 14, 2022 at 2:07 am

    A really great choice. Damn, now I wish I’d have thought of it!

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 7:29 am

      Thanks Fan. 🤣💕

  6. August 14, 2022 at 12:50 am

    Excellent choice from the wee lass from Glasgow! Alba ga brigh!

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 7:31 am

      Och aye John! ☺️

  7. August 14, 2022 at 12:37 am

    Wonderful choice Christine. Lulu has such a powerful voice and “To Sir with Love” was such a fitting tribute for her talent. I was very young when I first saw this movie but always remember the wonderful actor Sidney Poitier in that role.
    We are mourning the loss of two beautiful musical women here in Australia this week, Judith Durham from The Seekers fame and Olivia Newton John who went onto to Hollywood fame in “Grease”.
    Not only were they talented women but beautiful souls as well.
    Music to cherish and bring back wonderful memories too.

    • Christine Bolton
      August 14, 2022 at 7:34 am

      Thanks Lynn. Yes indeed. I remember Judith Durham very well. And of course Olivia. They both left us quite young when you think about it. Music always stirs memories and makes new ones for us too. I hope you are doing well. ☺️💕

      • August 14, 2022 at 12:44 pm

        Fabulous song and great Movie , perfect choice Christine.💜💜

      • Christine Bolton
        August 14, 2022 at 9:13 pm

        Thank you Willow. Always loved Lulu and her fantastic voice ☺️💕

      • August 15, 2022 at 10:07 am

        Big voice certainly!

      • Christine Bolton
        August 14, 2022 at 9:16 pm

        Thanks Willow. I love it too ☺️💕

      • August 14, 2022 at 6:08 pm

        All good here thanks! Still playing the old music! Good for the soul!

      • Christine Bolton
        August 14, 2022 at 9:14 pm

        It certainly is. Be well Lynn ☺️💕

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