Linda Nolan has been a singer since she was four years old. Born in Dublin she relocated to Blackpool in 1962 where she made her singing debut the following year. As part of the family singing act ‘The Singing Nolans’ In that time Linda has packed a lot into her professional life. Her career has seen her embrace TV, Cabaret, Concert, Pantomime, Presenting and Stage Musicals. The early part of her career saw the act working the Working Men’s Clubs all across the North of England, Scotland and Wales. After being spotted by entrepreneur Joe Lewis at an unscheduled engagement on Christmas Day, the family were invited to become resident artistes at the prestigious London Room venue on Drury Lane in London’s West End. They would be contracted to the Hanover Grand Organisation. It was quickly decided that the five Sisters as a stand-alone act would have more potential than five Sisters and their parents. Mum and Dad stepped aside to leave the stage free for The Nolan Sisters who made their debut in early spring 1974.
The Nolan Sisters; Anne, Denise, Maureen, Bernie and Linda went on to achieve phenomenal success, encompassing hit records, tours and TV appearances. Their residency at the London Room led to their TV breakthrough in 1974 when they appeared for the entire series of ‘It’s Cliff’. The next four years saw the Sisters appear on almost every prime time TV show including, The Vera Lynn Show, Wednesday at Eight, The Harry Secombe Hour, Sez Les, The Tommy Cooper Show, Night at the Casino and the complete series of Vince Hill’s Musical Time Machine.
Two highlights of Linda’s early career included a European tour accompanying Frank Sinatra and a two week engagement in New York as support act for Engelbert Humperdinck. Several further TV appearances followed, including Summertime Special and It’s Marti.
In 1978 the Nolans were awarded their first gold disc for their debut album ’20 Giant Hits’. They also starred in the entire series of The Two Ronnies, watched by more than 20 million people.
After breaking away from Hanover Grand in 1978 the Nolan Sisters signed to the major Epic/CBS record label. This period saw the act’s biggest successes. After scoring a minor hit with their single, Spirit, Body and Soul, they achieved their ambition of appearing on BBC TV’s ‘Top of the Pops’ But it was the follow up single I’m In The Mood For Dancing that catapulted them to world fame. The single sold 350,000 in the UK alone and more than two million copies world-wide. The Nolans as they were now billed were particularly popular in Japan. The song became the first song to reach number one in the Japanese domestic chart since Simon and Garfunkel more than a decade before. The Nolans sold more than twelve million records in Japan – that’s more than the Beatles!
1980 saw a record breaking Summer Season in Blackpool and a six eek run of appearances on the hit TV show Mike Yarwood in Persons. Linda married their tour manager, Brian Hudson in 1981, their honeymoon was only five days as the act was so much in demand. Following the debut CBS album The Nolan Sisters, The act released more hit singles, including; Don’t Make Waves, Gotta Pull Myself Together, Who’s Gonna Rock You, Attention To Me, Chemistry, Crashing Down, Dragonfly and Dressed To Kill. Their second smash hit album Making Waves stayed in the charts for almost a year. It was followed by further hit albums Portrait and Altogether. The Nolans also had two their own series on BBC Two. Each series featured part of a concert recorded at the New London Theatre.
The Sisters toured the world extensively during this period, scoring huge successes in Japan, The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. They also enjoyed success in Europe, most notably their home country, Ireland.
Linda left the Nolans in 1983. A racy photoshoot accompanied the press announcement leading Linda to be nick names ‘The Naughty Nolan’ Penthouse reportedly offered her £40,000 to appear topless. As she had signed to co present ‘Crush A Grape’ she declined. Her first TV appearance as a solo artist was on the Des O'Connor show where she performed Dancing in the Street. She then joined Gene Pitney as his special guest for his UK tour. Linda’s Pantomime career started in Coventry later that year. She has since gone on to become a panto veteran. Starring in over twenty professional productions. TV appearances in her own right have included Blankety Blank, Question Of Entertainment, The Word, This Morning, The Kelly Show, Lorraine, and The James Whale Show. She also appeared in a TV drama – Breaking And Entering playing Olivia.
In 1984 Linda was asked to appear in her own summer show at Blackpool in a new production. The show, her first as a headliner, was ' Maggie May’s' on the town's Central Pier. The show ran for seven nights a week over six months. The show was a smash hit and she went on to reprise Maggie May for a further seven summers. In 1992 the show transferred to the town’s South Pier for a further two years now renamed as Rosie O'Grady's All Star Music Show. Having completed more than a thousand concerts in the two roles she was presented with an award for the most shows by a solo artist and a record breaking ten consecutive summer season shows in the same town.
Theatre Shows soon followed including a UK tour with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in Shooting Stars Linda undertook further tours with Mike Yarwood, Cannon & Ball, Little & Large and The Grumbleweeds. She also joined Bobby Crush on the Back to Bacharach tour. Her first venture into musical theatre came when she played Prudie Cupp in a production of Pump Boys & Dinettes with Rose Marie. She starred alongside Lily Savage (Paul O’Grady) in two nationwide tours of Prisoner Cell Block H the Musical. She rounded off 1999 with a full production summer show at the Layton Institute. In the midst of all that she found time to accept the award of best female cabaret performer.
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Linda On Loose Women
In 2001 Linda successfully auditioned for the lead role in Willy Russell's acclaimed musical Blood Brothers. She headlined in both the West End and UK touring productions for many years. In 2006 Linda was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and bravely continued with the show until ill health forced her out of the production. She was widowed in 2008 when Brian passed away with skin cancer. There followed a long period of depression, culminating in her contacting The Samaritans organisation who helped her through the difficult time Linda has since gone on to become an ambassador for the charity. She also successfully applied to become a foster parent. The Nolans reformed in 2009 for a reunion tour with Bernie, Maureen Coleen joining her. The tour was a huge success selling out arenas across the country. A CD and a DVD was released. She was approached by the One Show in 2010 to document two shows for the programme and provided the voice over for a documentary about depression.
Further Pantomimes followed and In 2014 Linda entered The Celebrity Big Brother House. Her stay in the house was marred with arguments with fellow house mate Jim Davidson. She became the fifth celebrity to be evicted from the house. Despite her eviction she was never nominated for eviction by any other housemates, who had nicknamed her "Mamma Lin." She later commented that she loved her time in the house and would return 'In a heartbeat'. She lamented that she had been seen as a "Moaning old bag." but had, in fact, been part of a much happier environment which had not been shown on TV.
In 2015 Linda joined the cast of Menopause the Musical. Initially touring Ireland in 2015 reprising the role the following year. The show then transferred to the UK the following year. She was cast as 'Soap Star'. The show played to packed houses nightly with parodies of well know pop songs. 2016 saw Linda join 'Rumpy Pumpy' a UK musical based on the true story of two Women's Institute members who campaigned for better working conditions for sex workers. Linda played Madame Holly Spencer, the brothel owner. The show had a short run which she enjoyed immensely.
Linda then starred in her annual Pantomime, this time at Preston Guild Hall as the Fairy in 'Jack and The Beanstalk'. In 2017 Linda was set to star in 'Our House the Musical'. This show covers the music of 80s favourites Madness. Sadly her cancer was found to have returned following an accident at home. Tests confirmed that the cancer was incurable, although treatable.
Her Autobiography 'From My Heart' was released in March 2018. Linda had to withdraw from ITV's ‘My Shirley Valentine Summer’, which was disappointing for her. But she was soon back on screen when she began appearing as a regular on the Loose Women panel in summer 2018. Her cancer prognosis is looking bright as she undergoes regular scans, and treatment. The cancer seems contained.
In June 2019 Linda appeared on the Jeremy Vine show as a guest panellist. As soon as Linda finished her 2019/20 Pantomime in Clacton Linda along with Anne, Maureen and Coleen held talks with Quest Red TV, where the four Sisters signed contracts for an eight week reality TV show filmed on board one of the biggest cruise liners in the world. MSV Grandiosa. The series began filming in late February 2020 and features the Nolans as they travel the Mediterranean over two cruises. The show will premiere in June 2020. As soon as she returned from filming she was to begin rehearsals for a major UK tour of the brand new musical 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' The show was postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Late April saw The Nolans, including Linda appearing on BBC TV’s ‘All Round To Mrs. Brown’s’