Spotlight on ……
Helen was born in Bethnal Green and brought up in Clapton, East London. With the release of her singles ‘Don’t Treat Me Like A Child’ (No. 3), ‘You Don’t Know’ (No. 1), ‘Walking Back To Happiness’ (No. 1) and ‘Tell Me What He Said (No. 2), at the tender age of fourteen, she achieved international stardom, following up these discs with a half a dozen more single hits plus best-selling EPs and LPs. She appeared many times as a London Palladium headliner and topped the bill in a nationwide concert tour of Britain with the Beatles as her support act!
During this time, she won many awards, including The Variety Club Silver Heart as The Most Promising Newcomer, The Melody Maker Award as Britain’s Most Popular Female Vocalist and runner-up to Top World Female Singer. By the age of 19, she’d sold millions of records world-wide and had three silver discs to her credit.
As a bill-topping singing star, she has appeared all over the world and, after her first string of international hit records and major TV appearances, moved on to star in pantomime, cabaret and films, while continuing to release records quite frequently. She has appeared extensively in the theatre, including appearances in: ‘I’ll Get My Man’, ‘How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying’, and ‘Never Too Late’. In the West End, she has appeared in ‘The French Have A Song For It’, and as Nancy in Lionel Bart’s ‘Oliver!’ She played Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’ and created the part of Brenda Wellbeloved in the musical ‘Ello, Ello, Ello!’ She also starred in the American musical ‘Seesaw’ to great critical acclaim. Helen appeared in 22 episodes of the TV soap opera ‘Albion Market’ and often popped up on TV music shows.
With the release of her album ‘Straighten Up And Fly Right’, in 1983, the jazz world sat up and took notice of her voice and in 1984, this led to her fantastically successful 17-year association with Humphrey Lyttelton and his band, which finished in 2001. They made three big-selling albums together: ‘Echoes of The Duke’, ‘Humph ‘n’ Helen’ and ‘Sing, Swing Together’. Their shows played to packed houses all over Europe and the UK. Helen teamed up with the late Benny Green for the Johnny Mercer tribute show ‘The Quality Of Mercer’ and the album of this show also proved a great favourite. Helen also guested with The BBC Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
In 1990 Helen recorded the first of her phenomenally successful gospel albums entitled ‘The Pearl’. This was followed by the equally successful albums ‘Kadosh’ (1992), and ‘Nothing But The Best’ (1995), which contained a duet with Cliff Richard. Helen’s fourth gospel album was entitled ‘Enter Into His Gates’ and most of the tracks from all four albums were put onto ‘The Gospel Collection’, which was released in 2002. Helen’s gospel outreach evenings are presented to packed houses all over the UK and she has also presented these evenings in South Africa, Spain, Holland and Russia.
Helen’s autobiography, entitled ‘Walking Back To Happiness’ (what else!) was published in 1993 and she was the gob-smacked subject of ‘This Is Your Life’ in 1995. In 1998, Helen headlined a 50-date sell-out UK tour with The Searchers and The Swinging Blue Jeans. Over the years, she has also regularly performed in concert with Craig ‘Only Sixteen’ Douglas as her guest. In 1999 Helen’s new show with her band, entitled ‘Simply Shapiro’, was premiered and this also proved to be a big success as did the album from the show. She is one of our most enduring stars and there are, no doubt, many chapters still to be written as Helen continues to thrill audiences world-wide with that unique voice.
At the end of 2002 Helen retired from showbusiness but continues with her Gospel Outreach evenings and on 10th February 2010 released her new Gospel album entitled ‘What Wondrous Love Is This’ The album can be obtained from www.mannamusic.co.uk
or at Christian Bookshops and other outlets. There are many entries re Helen on You Tube and one of her old fan’s also runs www.helenshapiro.com
Helen with Michele at the Launch of The Singer's Singer.
For More information on Helen's new album visit
For more information on Helen's career visit