Tony Lewis (musician)

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Tony Lewis
Lewis performing in 1986
Lewis performing in 1986
Background information
Born(1957-12-21)21 December 1957
London, England
Died19 October 2020(2020-10-19) (aged 62)[1]
GenresPop rock
Occupation(s)Musician, bassist, singer, songwriter
Years active1984–2020
Websitewww.tonylewismusic.com

Tony Lewis (21 December 1957 – 19 October 2020) was an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer and bassist of the pop-rock band The Outfield, best known for their hit single "Your Love". After a long career with that band, Lewis began work as a solo artist, releasing his first album Out of the Darkness in 2018 on Madison Records.[2]

Early life[edit]

Lewis was born on 21 December 1957 in the East End of London[3][4] and grew up in a tough, working-class neighbourhood. Music served as a bright spot in his life, and his love for music started early. The radio was always on in Lewis’ home, and his first influences were classics of the 1960s. At age 9 Lewis first heard the Beatles, and he was immediately hooked by the British rock band. Later he became a big fan of T. Rex, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, and other glam rock bands from the 1970s.[5]

In secondary school Lewis took his love of music a step further, forming his first band with Alan Jackman;[3] Lewis played bass guitar, and Jackman played drums.[6]

A few years later the two joined up with guitar player John Spinks and formed a progressive rock band they named Sirius B.[6] But in the mid-1970s the punk-rock scene was exploding in London; the progressive music of Sirius B was no longer in demand, and they disbanded.[7] Lewis then went out on his own, playing in various local bands and clubs around London, often stepping up to the microphone to sing lead vocals.[8]

The Outfield[edit]

Lewis was playing gigs around London when Spinks ran into him again. He heard Lewis singing and was inspired to get the band back together. They joined up again with Jackman, this time forming a band they called The Baseball Boys.[9] They toured around the UK, honing the power-pop sound that had been their signature. After touring for a while and tightening up their sound, the band gained a reputation for playing "American-sounding" music. After recording demos at Scarf Studios, they caught a break when they signed with an American management company. The new manager suggested[10] a name change to The Outfield, and helped them sign a record deal. The Outfield released their first album in 1985, Play Deep.[6]

Play Deep became a multi-platinum selling album and reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200 chart. The single "Your Love" made it to number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[11]

The Outfield toured extensively, and the band released their second album Bangin in 1987,[6] and a third album, Voices of Babylon, in 1989.[12] Throughout the late 1980s the band continued to tour throughout the United States.[13]

After Voices of Babylon was released drummer Jackman parted ways with the band, but Lewis continued to work with Spinks and various drummers to continue recording as The Outfield,[14] releasing albums on a fairly regular basis:

  • 1989: Voices of Babylon[12]
  • 1990: Diamond Days[12]
  • 1992: Rockeye[12]
  • 2006: Anytime Now[12]
  • 2011: Replay[15]

2014–2020[edit]

In 2014, Spinks died of liver cancer[16] at the age of 60. His friendship and musical partnership meant a lot to Lewis, and the loss of his friend was devastating. Afterwards, Lewis decided to take a break from music for two years.[13] His wife Carol eventually encouraged him to begin recording again, and get back to what he really loved doing, and what had always brought him comfort.[17] He returned to his solo roots, revisiting early lyrical ideas and playing around with a body of backing tracks. Eventually, he teamed up with his wife Carol; he discovered she had a talent for writing lyrics.[13]

Tony Lewis backstage before a concert with his bass guitar.

Lewis and his wife collaborated on a new body of work, taking on the spirit of The Outfield while allowing Lewis’ own style to shine through. In October 2017, with the support of Randy Sadd of Protocol Entertainment (who was a radio promoter for The Outfield from 2004 to 2011), Lewis was introduced[13] to Tanner Hendon and was signed to the latter's record label Madison Records. A new album was soon released, Out of the Darkness, featuring the lead-off single "Into the Light".[1] On this new album, Lewis played all the instruments, as well as producing and recording everything himself.[13]

Death[edit]

Lewis died on 19 October 2020, aged 62, at his home near London. His cause of death was not given.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Tony Lewis, singer for The Outfield, dies 'suddenly and unexpectedly' at 62". USA Today. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Forbes Magazine Interview". Tony Lewis. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Tony Lewis, The Outfield Singer, Dies at 62". Spin. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  4. ^ "The Outfield Singer Tony Lewis Dead at 62". Thirty Miles Zone. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ "The Outfield lead singer Tony Lewis dies at 62". Yahoo News. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "Tony Lewis, Lead Singer of The Outfield, Dies at 62". Billboard. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  7. ^ Gary Graff (28 July 1986). "Outfield gets a grip on musical success". Detroit Free Press. p. 4C.
  8. ^ "Breaking News: Tony Lewis, Vocalist And Bassist For The Outfield Dead At 62". Wild 80s. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Grateful Web Interview with Tony Lewis". Grateful Web. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Bill (30 November 2010). "They may best be known for their hit '80s tune, but The Outfield are back in full force and ready to please again with their upcoming 2011 release". The Rock and Roll Report. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  11. ^ "The Outfield Your Love Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e "The Outfield". All Music. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Tony Lewis of The Outfield – Out of the Darkness into the Light". Guitar International Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  14. ^ "The Outfield". Canadian Classic Rock. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Review: The Outfield – Replay". Head Full of Noise. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  16. ^ "John Spinks, Guitarist and Songwriter for The Outfield, Dead at 60". Billboard. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  17. ^ Wardlaw, Matt. "The Outfield's Tony Lewis Comes to Hard Rock Live as Part of the Latest Retro Futura Tour". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 21 May 2019.

External links[edit]