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04 May 2023

Linda Lewis, Much-Loved Singer-Songwriter, Dies Aged 72

Linda Lewis
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Linda Lewis, the singer-songwriter famed for the hit Rock-A-Doodle-Doo, has died at the age of 72, her family has announced.

The singer’s sister Dee Lewis Clay shared the news on social media writing, “It is with the greatest sadness and regret we share the news that our beloved beautiful sister Linda Lewis passed away today peacefully at her home. The family asks that you respect our privacy and allow us to grieve at this heartbreaking time.”

Famed for her five-octave vocal range, Lewis enjoyed both solo success in the 70s and an impressive career of providing backing vocals for artists including David Bowie and Rod Stewart.

Born Linda Ann Fredericks in West Ham in 1950, Lewis attended stage school and appeared as a screaming fan in the first Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night in 1964. That year she sang with blues great John Lee Hooker at a club in Southend-on-Sea, a performance that led to her being managed by Don Arden and signing to Polydor Records.

She adopted Lewis as her surname in honour of singer Barbara Lewis. Her sisters, Dee Lewis and Shirley Lewis, also singers, and their mother would all later use the surname too.

She formed White Rabbit with Junior Marvin in 1967 before replacing Marsha Hunt in the soul rock band The Ferris Wheel. A self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, she appeared at the first Glastonbury festival in 1970 and had four Top 40 hits throughout the next decade – the first coming with Rock-a-Doodle-Doo which reached No 15 in the UK in 1973.

She signed to Arista Records and recorded her breakthrough album Not a Little Girl Anymore (1975), which featured Allen Toussaint and the Tower of Power horn section. Her biggest hit followed with It’s In His Kiss – a cover of a 1963 song later made famous by Cher as The Shoop Shoop Song.

Her career as a backing vocalist saw her work with David Bowie (for his Aladdin Sane album) as well as Rod Stewart, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Rick Wakeman, Joan Armatrading and Jamiroquai.

She continued to perform until the end, with her last track Earthling, a collaboration with UK band the Paracosmos, released in March this year.

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