Linda Lewis

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For those of a similar name, see Lewis (disambiguation).
Linda Lewis
Born (1950-09-27) 27 September 1950 (age 64)
West Ham, Essex
Origin British
Genres Pop, Soul, Rock, Ska, Funk
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1968–present
Labels Polydor, Reprise, Raft, Arista, Ariola, Market Square, Turpi
Associated acts Jim Cregan, Ian Samwell, Luther Vandross, Rod Stewart, Cat Stevens, Al Kooper, Basement Jaxx, Bobby Tench, Jamiroquai, Common, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Rick Wakeman, Junior Marvin
Website www.lindalewis.co.uk
Notable instruments
Vocals

Linda Lewis (born Linda Ann Fredericks, 27 September 1950, West Ham, Essex) is an English vocalist, songwriter and guitarist. Lewis is the oldest of six children, three of whom also had singing careers. She is best known for the singles "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" (1972), "Sideway Shuffle" (1973), and her version of Rudy Clark's "Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" (1975)[1] albums such as Lark (1972), Not a Little Girl Anymore (1975) and Woman Overboard (1977), and the later Second Nature (1995),[2] which became successful in countries such as Japan. Lewis also provided vocals for others such as David Bowie, Al Kooper, Cat Stevens, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Rick Wakeman, Rod Stewart,[3] Hummingbird, Joan Armatrading and Jamiroquai.[4]

Lewis is a self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, influenced by Harry Nilsson, Billie Holiday and Smokey Robinson, also drawing inspiration from others such as Joni Mitchell.[3] Her music blends folk, funk and soul, a mix of genres that makes Lewis a forerunner to artists such as Des'ree and India.Arie.

Biography[edit]

At the age of three the future Linda Lewis was sent to stage school and was regularly cast in non-speaking TV and film roles such as A Taste of Honey (1961) and as a screaming fan in the first Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (1964), she also sang to the public for money. Lewis joined The Q Set, a British band who performed Ska and blue beat Jamaican style music[2]

In 1964 she met John Lee Hooker who was performing at a London club and sang "Dancing in the Streets" with him. Hooker introduced her to Ian Samwell who arranged for Don Arden to manage her and she signed to Polydor, to record the single "You Turned My Bitter into Sweet", which is now a collectable Northern Soul record[5] The July 1967 release of "You Turned My Bitter into Sweet" inaugurated the singer's use of Linda Lewis as her professional name: since the Polydor roster featured singer Linda Kendrick the label felt that releases credited to Linda Fredericks might cause counter-productive confusion. Linda Fredericks adopted Lewis as her professional surname in honour of Soul singer Barbara Lewis: eventually both of Linda Lewis's sisters would pursue singing careers as Dee Lewis and Shirley Lewis, and their mother would also assume "Lewis" as her surname.[6]

During 1969 Linda Lewis formed White Rabbit with Junior Marvin, moving onto replace Marsha Hunt in the soul rock band The Ferris Wheel in 1970 and toured Europe with them. She also recorded the album Ferris Wheel (1970) and the single "Can't Stop Now" with them before the band broke up the same year.[2] On 19 September 1970 Lewis appeared at the first Glastonbury Festival (where she jammed with Terry Reid and David Lindley), having been booked by the DJ and concert booker Jeff Dexter. After a chance meeting with Warner Bros. Records executive Ian Ralfini, Lewis signed to Warner Bros. Records imprint label Reprise.[5] Lewis also worked as a session vocalist in this period,[2] which led to her appearance on albums such as Possible Projection of the Future by Al Kooper, David Bowie's Aladdin Sane (1973), Cat Stevens's Catch Bull at Four (1972) and Hummingbird's first album Hummingbird (1975).[4] She then signed to Family's new Warner Brothers distributed "Raft" label.

Her first hit single "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" reached No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer of 1973,[1] and it was followed by the album Fathoms Deep,[3] which featured former Jeff Beck group guitarist Bobby Tench.[7] This album established her as one of Britain's most promising young female singer-songwriters and was critically acclaimed,[3] but it did not did have the expected success, probably due to Raft Records, becoming insolvent at that time. However, several appearances on the BBC TV show Top of The Pops raised her profile and an extensive world tour with Cat Stevens followed.[2] On her return to the studio, she signed to Arista Records and recorded what would become her breakthrough album Not a Little Girl Anymore (1975), which featured Allen Toussaint and the Tower of Power horn section. A cover of the "The Shoop Shoop Song" was released as a single, under the title of "It's in his Kiss", at the same time[3] as Not a Little Girl Anymore, reaching No. 6 in the UK Album Chart.[1] On 5 July 1975 Lewis opened the Knebworth Festival, being followed by Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, the Steve Miller Band and Pink Floyd. Three more albums followed over the next few years and on A Tear and a Smile (1983) she sang a duet "Why Can't I Be The Other Woman", with Luther Vandross.[4] In 1986 and 1987 she recorded with her sisters Dee and Shirley as Lewis, then Lewis Sisters.[8]

During the next decade Lewis retreated from public life and moved to Los Angeles, though in 1992 she worked on the Joan Armatrading album Square the Circle as a backing vocalist, along with her sister Shirley and Sylvia Mason-James. She then returned to record Second Nature (1995),[4] which found success in the Japanese charts. Its success led to live performances, which were recorded and released as On The Stage – Live in Japan (1996). Three more albums followed. Warner Bros. Records released Reach for the Truth-The Best of The Reprise Years (2002), an anthology of her work during the previous thirty years. This was followed by BMG releasing The Best of Linda Lewis (2003),[4] which included her hit singles. During 2003 she also appeared on the at the Glastonbury Festival,[2] and was filmed by BBC Television whilst she appeared on the Jazz and World Stage.[9]

Her song "Old Smokey" was used by the Rap artist known as Common, on his single "Go!" (2005),[10] which appeared on his album Be (2005).[11] This was produced by Kanye West and reached No. 1 on the United States R&B and Hip Hop charts.[3] She recorded Live in Old Smokey (2006), which featured new and previously released songs and toured UK the same year. On 28 October 2006 The National Portrait Gallery opened an exhibit entitled Photographs 1965–2006,[12] this featured a portrait by Lewis's former husband Jim Cregan[2] and other sitters, such as Shirley Bassey.[13] In 2007 she toured with the Soul Britannia All Stars in the UK and on 3 February 2007 BBC Four featured performances by Lewis, in a sixty minute recording of a Barbican show with The Soul Britannia All Stars.[14] In June of the same year, she collaborated with Basement Jaxx on "Close Your Eyes", which featured in the Japanese anime film Vexille.

Critical reception[edit]

Linda Lewis has a five octave vocal range.[3] Charles Waring of Blues & Soul magazine described her vocal range, as heard on The Best of Linda Lewis (2003), as "powerful".[15] In her review of Lewis's album Second Nature (1995) for Allmusic, Amy Hanson describes Lewis's voice as "remarkable and dynamic",[16] and of Lewis's ability to sing in the whistle register Hanson comments in her review of Lark (1972), "No longer a wild weapon that can soar from childlike lilt to screaming dog whistle without a moment's notice, she channels her range to the emotions it demands."[17] Lewis's voice has also been compared to Mariah Carey, and reviewer Melissa Weber commented that her voice had similarities to Minnie Riperton's and that Lewis had "a wider vocal range [than Riperton], with the ability also to sing in a lower register."[18]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Chart positions from the UK Album Chart[1]

Live albums[edit]

Collaboration[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • Heart Strings – Reprise (1974)
  • The Best of Linda Lewis (Compilation) – BMG (1996)
  • Best of Linda Lewis – Camden (1997)
  • Reach for the Truth: Best of the Reprise Years 1971–74 (Compilation) – Rhino (2002)
  • Legends (Compilation) – BMG (2005)
  • Hampstead Days – (Previously unreleased 1970s sessions and concert material) 2014

Singles[edit]

CHARTING SINGLES
Title Month/Year Recording info Chart peak
for UK unless
otherwise indicated
"Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" 06/1973 producer: Jim Cregan
Raft 18502 B-side "Reach for the Truth"
(album Lark)
15
"Play Around" 10/1973 producer: Jim Cregan, Linda Lewis
Raft 18505 B-side "On the Stage"
(album Fathoms Deep)
"Breaker"
"Sideway Shuffle" 03/1974 producer: Marc Berthoumieux, Will Nott
Raft 18507 B-side "Safe and Sound"
(album Heart Strings)
"Breaker"
"It's in His Kiss" 07/1975 producer: Bert DeCouteaux, Tony Silvester
Arista 17 B-side "Walk About"
(album Not a Little Girl Anymore)
6
#9 (Ireland)
#19 (Italy)
"Rock and Roller Coaster" 10/1975 producer: Bert DeCouteaux, Tony Silvester
Arista 25 B-side "The Seaside Song"
(album Not a Little Girl Anymore)
"Breaker"
"Baby I'm Yours" 04/1976 producer: Bert DeCouteaux, Tony Silvester
Arista 43 B-side "The Other Side"
33
"This Time I'll Be Sweeter" 10/1976 producer: Bert DeCouteaux, Tony Silvester
Arista 65 B-side "So Many Mysteries to Find"
(album Not a Little Girl Anymore)
51
"I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You" 06/1979 producer: Mike Batt
Ariola 166 B-side "The Best Days of My Life"
(album Hacienda View)
40
Midfield General featuring Linda Lewis
"Reach Out"
08/2000 producer: Damian Harris
Skint 54 B-side 1."Triangle" by Midfield General 2. "Reach Out – Hakon Remix"
(album Generalisation by Midfield General)
61

Songs[edit]

Song Primary Release Notes
(Close The Door) Take Your Heart A Tear and a Smile 1983
(Remember the Days of) the Old Schoolyard Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
(You Are An) Angry Young Man Kiss of Life 1999
109, Jamaica Highway Hacienda View 1979
All Comes Back To Love Best of 1997
All My Laugh Kiss of Life 1999
And of The Sun Whatever 1997
Baby I'm Yours Best of 1997
Been My Best Lark 1972
Beggars And Kings Hacienda View 1979
Best Days of My Life Legends 2005
Bonfire Woman Overboard 1977
Born Performer Second Nature 1995
Breathing Space Whatever 1997
Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine Live in Old Smokey 2004
Can't We Just Sit Down And Talk It Over Best of 1997
Come Along People Say No More 1971
Come Back And Finish What You Started Woman Overboard 1977
Comes Back to mMy Love Legends 2005
Cordon Blues Legends 2005
Da'lin' (Groove) Kiss of Life 1999
Destination Love A Tear and a Smile 1983
Do Ya Know Dino? Second Nature 1995
Doin' The Right Thing Whatever 1997
Donkey's Years Say No More 1971
Don't Come Crying Whatever 1997
Don't Let It Go A Tear and a Smile 1983
Dreamer of Dreams Woman Overboard 1977
Earthed Again Kiss of Life 1999
Easy Whatever 1997
Far Cry Whatever 1997
Fathoms Deep Fathoms Deep 1973
Feeling Feeling Lark 1972
Flipped Over Your Love Best of 1997
Follow The Piper Say No More 1971
For Love's Sake Second Nature 1995
For Mama Say No More 1971
Funky Kitchen Say No More 1971
Gladly Give My Hand Lark 1972
Goodbye Joanna Fathoms Deep 1973
Grandaddy's Calypso Live in Old Smokey 2004
Guffer Fathoms Deep 1973
Hampstead Way Say No More 1971
He's A Diamond Whatever 1997
Hymn Say No More 1971
I Am What I Am A Tear and a Smile 1983
I Can't Get Enough A Tear and a Smile 1983
I Do My Best To Impress Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
I Don't Do Don't Live in Old Smokey 2004
I Dunno Say No More 1971
I Keep a Wish Live in Old Smokey 2004
I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You Hacienda View 1979
If I Could Fathoms Deep 1973
I'm in Love Again Fathoms Deep 1973
I'm Not A Little Girl Any More Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
In The Heat Second Nature 1995
It Don't Hurt Kiss of Life 1999
It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time Hacienda View 1979
It's in His Kiss (Shoop Shoop Song) Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
It's the Frame Lark 1972
Kingman-Tinman Fathoms Deep 1973
Kiss of Life Kiss of Life 1999
Lark Lark 1972
Last Call Whatever 1997
Light Years Away Woman Overboard 1977
Like I Dance Kiss of Life 1999
Little Indians Lark 1972
Lookin' Forward (To Lookin' Back) Born Performer 1996
Love Inside Second Nature 1995
Love Plateau Second Nature 1995
Love Where Are You Now (That I Need You) Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
Love, Love, Love Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
Lullabye Fathoms Deep 1973
Magic in the Music Say No More 1971
Makes You Wonder Whatever 1997
May You Never Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
Moles Fathoms Deep 1973
Moment of Diamond Second Nature 1995
Moon And I Woman Overboard 1977
More Than a Fool Lark 1972
More Than Enough Second Nature 1995
Mr Respectable Whatever 1997
My Aphrodisiac Is You Hacienda View 1979
My Friend The Sun Woman Overboard 1977
My Grandaddy Could Reggae Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
My Love Is Here To Stay Woman Overboard 1977
Never Been Done Before Best of 1997
No.1 Heartbreaker Woman Overboard 1977
Nobody But You Kiss of Life 1999
Number One Heartbreaker Best of 2003
Old Smokey Lark 1972
On The Stage Fathoms Deep 1973
Our Day Will come Kiss of Life 1999
Peter's Garden Say No More 1971
Play Around Fathoms Deep 1973
Reach for the Truth Lark 1972
Red Light Ladies Fathoms Deep 1973
Rock A Doodle Do Heart Strings 1975
Rock and Roller Coaster Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
Rolling For Awhile Hacienda View 1979
Safe And Sound Heart Strings 1975
Save The Last Dance For Me Hacienda View 1979
Shining Woman Overboard 1977
Sideway Shuffle Heart Strings 1975
Sleeping Like A Baby Hacienda View 1979
So Many Mysteries To Find Woman Overboard 1977
So Sixties Second Nature 1995
Soon Come Second Nature 1995
Spring Song Lark 1972
Sweet Heartache A Tear and a Smile 1983
Sweet To Do Nothing Second Nature 1995
Take Me for a Little While A Tear and a Smile 1983
That's Love Hacienda View 1979
The Best Days of My Life Hacienda View 1979
The Other Side Legends 2005
The Same Song Say No More 1971
The Seaside Song Legends 2005
This Boy A Tear and a Smile 1983
This Time I'll Be Sweeter Not a Little Girl Anymore 1975
Too Good To Be True Kiss of Life 1999
Walk About Legends 2005
Waterbaby Lark 1972
Waving Live in Old Smokey 2004
We Can Win Say No More 1971
Wearing wings Kiss of Life 1999
What Are You Asking Me For Lark 1972
Whatever Whatever 1997
What's All This About? Second Nature 1995
Why Can't I Be The Other Woman A Tear and a Smile 1983
Winter Wonderland Legends 2005
Wise Eyes Fathoms Deep 1973
You Came Woman Overboard 1977
You Don't Know What You're Missing A Tear and a Smile 1983

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 320. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Joynson, Vernon. The Tapestry of Delights – The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras. Borderline. p. 507,508. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Linda Lewis, biography". lindalewis.co.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Linda Lewis, Credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Get Ready to Rock (May 2009). "Linda Lewis, interview". myspace.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Linda (3 July 2007). interview, Linda Lewis. Interview with Alex Dyke. Big Al Unleashed. Isle of Wight Radio. 
  7. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Fathoms Deep". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Lewis at 45cat
  9. ^ "Linda Lewis at Glastonbury 2003". myspace.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Common, the single (EP) Go". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Common, Be". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  12. ^ National Portrait Gallery. "exhibition of Photographs 1965–2006". www.npg.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ National Portrait Gallery. "Portrait of Linda Lewis(1950–)". www.npg.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Soul Britannia Allstars". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2010. [dead link]
  15. ^ Waring, Charles. Cmt.com "An article on Linda Lewis". www.cmt.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Second Nature". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Lark". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  18. ^ Weber, Melissa .A. Angelfire.com "Linda Lewis,brief biography". www.angelfire.com. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 

References[edit]

  • Joynson, Vernon. The Tapestry of Delights – The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963–1976. Borderline (2006). Reprinted (2008). ISBN 1-899855-15-7
  • Roberts, David. British Hit Singles & Albums. 19th edition. Guinness World Records Limited (2006). ISBN 1-904994-10-5

External links[edit]