Solo artist and David Bowie backing singer Linda Lewis dies, aged 72

She appeared at the first-ever Glastonbury festival and had multiple Top 40 hits throughout the 1970s

It has been announced that Linda Lewis — who has worked with artists including David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart — has died, aged 72.

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.

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.

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