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Linda Lewis (born Linda Ann Fredericks, 27 September 1950, West Ham, London) is an English vocalist, a songwriter and guitar player, renowned for her vocals. Linda is the older sister of Shirley Lewis (singer, and background vocalist, notably for Elton John), and Dee Lewis (singer, known for the song "Best Of My Love").

Contents

Biography

Lewis is the oldest of six children. From an early age, Lewis showed promise in acting and singing; so much so that her mother decided to send her to a local stage school when she was only three years old. Over the next few years, Lewis was regularly cast in non-speaking TV and film roles: appearing in the 1961 film, A Taste of Honey, and in the role of a screaming fan in the first Beatles' movie (1964) A Hard Day's Night.

Acting, however, was never her first ambition. Possessing a five-octave vocal range, Lewis built her reputation as a singer instead, joining the British group Ferris Wheel in 1967. When the group disbanded in 1970, she went on to pursue a solo career.

A self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, Lewis was heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder and also drew inspiration from Joni Mitchell among others. With her blend of soul; folk, pop and reggae, she helped paved the way for today's artists like Des'ree and India.Arie.

In 1971, Lewis signed a solo deal with Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records, having been introduced to the record label by her then boyfriend (and now label-mate) Jim Cregan, who went on to become her husband. She also launched a career as a session vocalist. Over the next few years, her powerful and amazing range could be heard on hit albums by Al Kooper and David Bowie (she appears on his 1973 Aladdin Sane LP), among others.

Her first hit single "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" reached #15 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer of 1973 and was followed by the album Fathoms Deep, which featured former Jeff Beck group guitarist Bobby Tench. This album established her as one of Britain's most promising young female singer-songwriters but, although it was critically acclaimed it did not did have the success expected.[1] Lewis went on to release another album, but her big break did not come until Not A Little Girl Anymore (1975), featuring contributions from Allen Toussaint and the Tower of Power horn section, among others. A new single, covering Betty Everett's 1964 U.S. R&B Top Ten hit, "The Shoop Shoop Song" as "It's in his Kiss" appeared alongside it, reaching number 6 in the UK chart; now followed up with "A Tear and a Smile", on which she duets with Luther Vandross on "Why Can't I Be The Other Woman".

After over a decade of non-stop touring, performing and recording, Lewis went on hiatus during the 1980s, spending over ten years in Los Angeles out of the public eye.

Comeback

After a ten year hiatus, Lewis recorded 1995's Second Nature LP. A hit in Japan, the album reached the top of that country's charts. Its success sparked a string of gigs that were recorded and compiled on the 1996 live album On The Stage - Live in Japan (released, with one extra track, as Born Performer in Japan). An EP, "What's All this About", followed in 1996; 1997's Whatever... and 1999's Kiss of Life consolidated her comeback.

In 2006, Lewis returned to the spotlight with her newly released album Live in Old Smokey, which featured a string of new songs and previously released ones that have been re-recorded. She toured England the same year.

In 2007, Lewis toured with the Soul Britannia All Stars in the UK. BBC Four also featured Lewis in an hour-long recording from her Barbican gig with the Soul Britannia All Stars. She teamed up with Basement Jaxx for another collaboration, featured in a Japanese anime film released in June. Lewis also prepared demos for Warner Bros. Records, to be added to a second volume of her 2002 compilation Reach For The Truth.

In June 2007 the National Portrait Gallery, in London showcased the work and talent of black female musicians - this included items by Lewis, Shirley Bassey and others.

Vocal profile

The official Linda Lewis website has described the signer as having a five octave vocal range.[2] Charles Waring of Blues & Soul magazine, in Lewis' biography has described the vocal range, displayed in her 2003 The Best of Linda Lewis album, as powerful.[3] It has also been described as remarkable and dynamic by Allmusic reviewer Amy Hanson.[4]

Lewis' ability to sing in the whistle register is also mentioned by Amy Hanson in her review of Lewis' 1972 album Lark, where she writes: "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".[5] Discomuseum.com also refers to Lewis' ability in the whistle register and comparies her vocal prowess to that of Mariah Carey.[6] Although Lewis' voice has also been compared to that of Minnie Riperton, Lewis displays a wider vocal range with the ability also to sing in a lower register.[7]

Discography

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Albums

  • Say No More (1971) (Reprise)
  • Lark (1972) (Reprise)
  • Fathom Deep (1973) (Raft)
  • Heart Strings (1974) (Reprise)
  • Not A Little Girl Anymore (1975) (Arista) (#40, September 1975)
  • Woman Overboard (1977) (Arista)
  • Hacienda View (1979) (Ariola)
  • A Tear And A Smile (1983) (Epic)
  • Second Nature (1995) (Sony)
  • Born Performer: Live in Japan (1996) (Sony)
  • The Best Of Linda Lewis (1996) (BMG)
  • Whatever... (1997) (Turpin)
  • Best Of Linda Lewis (1997) (Camden)
  • Kiss Of Life (1999) (Turpin)
  • Reach for the Truth: Best of the Reprise Years 1971-74 (2002) (Rhino)
  • Legend (2005) (BMG)
  • Live In Old Smokey (2006) (Market Place)

NB. Chart placing relates to the UK Albums Chart[8 ]

Singles

  • "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" (#15, June 1973)
  • "It's In His Kiss" (#6, July 1975)
  • "Baby I'm Yours" (#33, April 1976)
  • "(Remember The Days Of The) Old Schoolyard" (#44, 1977) (written for Lewis by Cat Stevens and inspired by St. Joseph's in London, where he went to school).
  • "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You" (#40, June 1979)
  • "Reach Out" (with Midfield General) (#61, August 2000)

NB. Chart placings relate to the UK Singles Chart[8 ]

References

  1. ^ Linda Lewis - singer songwriter - Biography
  2. ^ Lindalewis.co.uk
  3. ^ Cmt.com
  4. ^ Answers.com
  5. ^ Artistdirect.com
  6. ^ Discomuseum.com
  7. ^ Angelfire.com
  8. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 320. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links


Linda Lewis
Born September 27, 1950 (1950-09-27) (age 60)
Origin British
Genres Pop, Soul, Rock, Ska, Funk
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1968–present
Labels Polydor, Warner Bros. Records, 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, London) is an English vocalist, songwriter and Guitarist known for her singing. Lewis is the oldest of six children two of whom also had singing careers. She is best known for her cross-over music, also the singles "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" (1972) and "Sideway Shuffle" (1973)[1] also albums such as Lark (1972), Woman Overboard (1977), Fathoms Deep (1973) and later on had renewed success with 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 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 making Lewis a fore runner to artists such as Des'ree and India.Arie.

Contents

Vocal range

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".[5] In her review about Lewis's album Second Nature (1995) for Allmusic Amy Hanson describes Lewis's voice as, "remarkable and dynamic"[6] and of Lewis' 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.".[7] 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 also commented that Lewis had "a wider vocal range [than Riperton], with the ability also to sing in a lower register."[8]

Biography

At the age of three 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 started to build her reputation as a singer by joining The Q Set, a British band who performed Ska and blue beat Jamaican style music [2]

In 1964 she came 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". Now a collectable Northern Soul record.[9]

During 1969 she 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. They also recorded the singles "I Can't Break the Habit", "The Na Na Song", and "Can't Stop Now", also the album Ferris Wheel (1970), before the band broke up the same year.[2] On September 19, 1970 Lewis appeared at the first Glastonbury Festival, 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.[9] At the same time Lewis also launched a career as a session vocalist,[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]

Her first hit single "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" reached #15 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer of 1973[1] and was followed by the album Fathoms Deep,[3] which featured former Jeff Beck group guitarist Bobby Tench.[10] 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 the Warner Bros. Records vanity label 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 recorded what would become her break through album Not A Little Girl Anymore (1975), which featured Allen Toussaint and the Tower of Power horn section. A covering 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 #6 in the UK Album Chart.[1] Three 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]

During the next decade Lewis retreated into her private life and moved to Los Angeles. She returned to record Second Nature (1995)[4] which found success in the Japanesecharts. Its success led to live performances which were recorded and released as On The Stage - Live in Japan (1996). Three more albums followed and consolidated her ability, once again, to attract a sizeable audience. Warner Bros. Records released "Reach For The Truth-The Best of The Reprise Years" (2002), an anthology of Linda's 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.[11]

Her song "Old Smokey" was used by the Rap artist known as Common, on his single "Go!" (2005),[12] which appeared on his album Be (2005).[13] This was produced by Kanye West and reached #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,[14] this featured a portrait by Lewis's former husband Jim Cregan[2] and other sitters, such as Shirley Bassey.[15] In 2007 she toured with the Soul Britannia All Stars in the UK and on February 3 2007 BBC Four featured performances by Lewis, in a sixty minute recording from the Barbican show with The Soul Britannia All Stars.[16] In June of the same year, she collaborated with Basement Jaxx on Close Your Eyes, which featured in the Japanese anime film Vexille.[17]

Discography

Albums

Chart positions from the UK Album Chart[1]

  • Say No More Reprise (1971)
  • Lark Reprise (1972)
  • Fathoms Deep Raft (1973)
  • Heart Strings Reprise (1974)
  • Not A Little Girl Anymore (1975) Arista #40 UK
  • Woman Overboard Arista (1977)
  • Hacienda View Ariola (1979)
  • A Tear And A Smile Epic (1983)
  • Second Nature Sony (1995)
  • Born Performer: Live in Japan Sony (1996)
  • The Best Of Linda Lewis BMG (1996)
  • Whatever... Turpin (1997)
  • Best Of Linda Lewis Camden (1997)
  • Kiss Of Life Turpin (1999)
  • Reach for the Truth: Best of the Reprise Years 1971-74 Rhino (2002)
  • Legend BMG (2005)
  • Live In Old Smokey Market Place (2006)

Singles

Chart positions taken from UK Singles Chart[1]

  • "Rock-a-Doodle-Doo" #15 UK (June 1973)
  • "It's In His Kiss" #6 UK (July 1975)
  • "Baby I'm Yours" #33 UK (April 1976)
  • "(Remember the Days of The) Old Schoolyard" Cat Stevens #44 UK (1977)
  • "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You" #40 UK (June 1979)
  • "Reach Out" with Midfield General (#61, August 2000)

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e 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 Lindalewis.co.uk "Linda Lewis, Biography". lindalewis.co.uk. http://www.lindalewis.co.uk/biography/biog_1.html Lindalewis.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Linda Lewis, Credits". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:g9fpxqu5ldte~T4. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  5. ^ Waring, Charles. Cmt.com "An article on Linda Lewis". www.cmt.com. http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/lewis__linda/bio.jhtml Cmt.com. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  6. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Second Nature". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:axfixqw5ldhe. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  7. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Lark". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gxfixqw5ldhe. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  8. ^ Weber, Melissa .A. Angelfire.com "Linda Lewis,brief biography". www.angelfire.com. http://www.angelfire.com/biz3/bss/lindalewis.html Angelfire.com. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  9. ^ a b Get Ready to Rock (May 2009). "Linda Lewis, interview". myspace.com. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=59056022. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  10. ^ Hanson, Amy. "Linda Lewis, Fathoms Deep". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hxfixqw5ldhe. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  11. ^ "Linda Lewis at Glastonbury 2003". myspace.com. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=4850903. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  12. ^ "Common, the single (EP) Go". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:avfqxzehldde. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  13. ^ "Common, Be". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3xfrxqesldae. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  14. ^ National Portrait Gallery. "exhibition of Photographs 1965-2006". www.npg.org.uk. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/display/photographs-1965-2006.php. Retrieved 2010-07-02. [dead link]
  15. ^ National Portrait Gallery. "Portrait of Linda Lewis(1950-)". www.npg.org.uk. http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person.php?search=ss&firstRun=true&sText=linda+lewis&LinkID=mp86670. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Soul Britannia Allstars". barbican.org.uk. http://www.barbican.org.uk/=music/event-detail.asp?ID=5239. Retrieved 2010-07-02. [dead link]
  17. ^ "2077 Isolation of Japan". animenewsnetwork.com. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=7812. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 

References

  • 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


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