Linda Lewis, Singer-Songwriter & Famed Backing Vocalist, Dies Aged 72

Linda Lewis dies
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Linda Lewis dies
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Photo Credit: David Tomaseti

British singer-songwriter and famed backing vocalist Linda Lewis, whose career spanned more than 40 years, has died aged 72.

Linda Lewis, the British singer-songwriter best known for her five-octave vocal range and work as a backing vocalist, has died at age 72. Her family confirmed her death on Wednesday night, and her sister shared the news on social media.

“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,” wrote her sister, Dee Lewis Clay. “The family asks that you respect our privacy and allow us to grieve at this heartbreaking time.”

With an incredible vocal range which often saw her compared to Mariah Carey and Minnie Riperton, Linda Lewis enjoyed success in the 1970s as a solo artist and a long career spanning over 40 years of providing backing vocals for artists like Rod Stewart and David Bowie.

Born in 1950 as Linda Ann Fredericks, she attended stage school and dabbled in acting. She appeared as a screaming fan in the first Beatles film, A Hard Day’s Night, in 1964. After signing with Polydor, Linda adopted Lewis as her surname in honor of singer Barbara Lewis, a surname that her two sisters and their mother would later adopt. She played guitar and keyboard, both of which were self-taught. 

Linda Lewis appeared at the first Glastonbury festival in 1970 and had four Top 40 hits throughout the following decade. Her biggest hit was “It’s In His Kiss,” a cover of a 1963 song later made most famous by Cher as “The Shoop Shoop Song.”

Lewis lived with a group of musicians and other artists in a commune in Hampstead, in a house often visited by Yusuf Cat Stevens, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. She toured with Yusuf, known then as Cat Stevens, and dated him on and off for several years. 

She married musician Jim Cregan in 1977, but the marriage only lasted three years, with Lewis writing, “We were apart too much, especially after Jim joined Rod Stewart’s band, and we were both unfaithful.”

Lewis provided backing vocals for David Bowie for his Aladdin Sane album, as well as for artists like Rod Stewart, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Rick Wakeman, Joan Armatrading, and Jamiroquai.

“When I look back, I realize I’ve lived an extraordinarily rich life,” Lewis wrote in her memoirs. “Would I do it all again, given a chance? No. Would I do some of it again? Certainly.”

Linda Lewis is survived by her husband, music agent Neil Warnock, whom she married in 2004.