The singer had spent more than four decades within the industry, working with some of the most famous names in music. She also had a prominent solo career throughout the 1970s, which featured a number of Top 40 hits.
Her death was announced by her sibling, Dee Lewis Clay, on social media today (May 4).
In the update, Clay confirmed the “heartbreaking” news of Lewis’s passing, and described her as a ‘beloved beautiful sister”. Although no cause of death has been announced as of yet, the post did explain that the musician had died peacefully at home (via the BBC).
The singer was recognised for her five-octave vocal range, and provided backing vocals for the likes of Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Jamiroquai.
She also performed at the first ever Glastonbury festival in 1970, and had several successful solo hits throughout the decade, including ‘Rock-A-Doodle-Doo’ which reached number 15 in the UK.
Fellow musician Midge Ure — who is also a producer and has worked with bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids and Visage — took to Twitter to pay tribute to the late musician. “Really sad to hear this. I had a massive crush on Linda Lewis,” he wrote. “‘Not a little girl anymore’ was a great song and beautifully sung by her.”
Former Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell also took to social media to share his sadness at the loss, writing: “RIP Linda Lewis. A fantastic vocalist”, and singer-songwriter, record producer, director and conductor, Mike Batt LVO, also paid tribute to the singer. “Terrible news about ‘our Lil’. She was a really great and oh so-talented friend,” he wrote in the caption.
“We made an album together for Arista. So sad. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones.” Find more tributes from the music world below.
Really sad to hear this. I had a massive crush on Linda Lewis. ‘Not a little girl anymore’ was a great song and beautifully sung by her🙏 https://t.co/Q6QC3ADePl
— midge ure💙 (@midgeure1) May 4, 2023
Terrible news about “our Lil”. She was a really great and oh so-talented friend. We made an album together for Arista. So sad. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones. #LindaLewis https://t.co/unPuSofuWO
— Mike Batt LVO (@Mike_Batt) May 4, 2023
One of the tracks I arranged and produced for my Linda Lewis whom I briefly managed in the 70s. Sad to hear of hear death🙁 – I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You (Official Audio) https://t.co/Z0oWA4lUPT
— Mike Batt LVO (@Mike_Batt) May 4, 2023
RIP Linda Lewis. A fantastic vocalist.
— Phil Campbell (@MotorheadPhil) May 4, 2023
Very sad to learn about Linda Lewis' passing. I absolutely adore "I'm Not A Little Girl Anymore".https://t.co/o1Wyjtj7Ph
— Conor Jatter (@MrJattski) May 4, 2023
We have lost another great talent. Sad to hear about Linda Lewis may she rest in peace 🙏🏿
— Edward Adoo (@EdwardAdoo) May 4, 2023
RIP to @Linda__Lewis , who rock-a-doodle-dooed a wonderful London Cabinet 11/4/17! What a force!
— Wesley Stace Blue Check (@WesleyStace) May 4, 2023
Just heard the news that singer Linda Lewis has passed away. She was a lovely person and talented singer who used to appear at our Radio London Soul Nights Out. She had a remarkable singing range and was a great performer. Linda R.I.P. and thanks for the music.
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) May 4, 2023
Sad to learn that Singer/Songwriter #LindaLewis has died, age 72.
With her many accomplishments, her might of Spirit to keep moving forward will continue being an inspiration. Rest in Power You Treasured Music Artist.🎶 pic.twitter.com/qL1EN0vFDf
— Carleen Anderson (@CarleenAnderson) May 4, 2023
Just heard about Linda Lewis.
Spoke to her last year for In Perfect Harmony and she was fantastic, a British disco sensation who sang on Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
‘The thing about Rod is that he’s tight as a duck’s behind. Still owes me a tenner.’
Rest in peace, Linda pic.twitter.com/4Sz0NmMDMV
— Will Hodgkinson (@Willjhodgkinson) May 4, 2023
Linda Lewis, singer and famed backing vocalist, dies aged 72 . This is really sad to hear , loved her as a kid but also had the pleasure of meeting her a few times such a lovely lady and so talented and unique and I would say sadly undervalued!
RIP Linda https://t.co/5kEqaBML21
— Michelle Collins (@missmcollins) May 4, 2023
I loved Linda Lewis. Quiet legend of British pop. Rock A Doodle Doo one of my favourite singles ever. Will play it this weekend on the show https://t.co/yyDS3DdvDi
— Stuart Maconie (@StuartMaconie) May 4, 2023
Lewis was born Linda Ann Fredericks in West Ham in 1950, and kicked off her career with a non-speaking role in the 1961 British film, A Taste Of Honey. She also appeared in the first Beatles film, A Hard Day’s Night, three years later, as a screaming fan in the audience.
A self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, she later launched her music career, making an appearance at Glastonbury in 1970 and releasing songs including a disco cover of Merry Clayton’s hit ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’, called ‘It’s In His Kiss’. This remains one of her most successful solo hits and peaked at the Number Six position in 1975.
Elsewhere in her 40-year-long career, Lewis also worked as a backing vocalist for David Bowie, as part of his ‘Aladdin Sane’ album.
She also lived with a group of artists and musicians in Hampstead at the peak of her career, and was often visited by Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), Sir Elton John and T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan.
She toured with Yusuf and dated him on and off for a number of years. As per The Guardian, she once wrote that it was their split that led to him converting to Islam: “To put it kindly, he was searching for greater meaning in life. To put it bluntly, he was becoming a pain,” she wrote.
She continued to create music up until her final years, releasing her last track ‘Earthling’ in March of this year. The single was made as a collaboration between herself and the UK band The Paracosmos.