Linda Lewis

Singer/songwriter, from Custom House, whose career has spanned 30 years. She had hit singles in 1973: ‘Rock a Doodle Do' and 1975: 'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)'. She is the oldest of six children, from mixed-race family in Finch Road, Custom House. She attended Shipman Road School. From an early age, Linda displayed a precocious vocal talent and would often sing in public. Her parents managed the Red House (formerly known as Northumberland Arms), Barking Road, Plaistow.

She was only three-years-old when her mother decided to send Linda to a local stage school. Over the next few years, Linda was regularly cast in non-speaking TV and film roles, in 1961 appearing in the film, 'A Taste Of Honey,' and in 1964, she played the role of a screaming fan in the first Beatles' movie, 'A Hard Day's Night.'
Linda's first band was The Q Set (named after a local nightspot, The Cue Club, which the group regularly performed at), they did blue beat, Ska and very heavy Jamaican style music. In her early teens Linda was concentrating on passing her 'O' Levels, with the intention of attending Art College. But in 1965, when she was fifteen, a significant event happened in her life, which played an important role in shaping her future career path. 

Linda says: 'I was in Southend on a weekend out with my mates and John Lee Hooker was playing there. We got in the club - we managed to make ourselves look older - and somehow, I got up and had a jam with the band. He wasn't actually on stage but I met him afterwards and then we met up again and he introduced me to this guy called Ian Samwell, who discovered Elkie Brooks and was the producer of The Small Faces. That's when my professional life kind of took off really.' His interest in recording Linda resulted in a contract for a one-off single release with Polydor Records and she recorded 'You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet.' The single failed to make a big impact on record buyers generally (though it has since become a highly coveted collectors' item) but it did enhance her credibility with her school friends and it prompted her to seriously contemplate a career in the music business.

In 1970, she replaced Marsha Hunt in the group Ferris Wheel and toured Europe .She moved into a house in Hampstead that was run on the lines of a hippy commune. 'It was an amazing place,' she remembers, 'and there was a big creative thing going on there.' The house was almost always full of artistic people and amongst its permanent residents were producer, Ian 'Sammy' Samwell (who had also become an A&R representative at Warner Brothers' Records. Musicians like Cat Stevens, Marc Bolan and Elton John were frequent visitors.

Linda took up the guitar and began composing songs. She used to perform in front of the other residents of the Hampstead house. 'There was a guy called Ian Ralfini,' she recalls. 'He was head of Warner's in the UK. I remember he came to the house once for dinner because Sammy (Ian Samwell) worked for him. I was just playing guitar and singing that night in the living room and the next day, he wanted to sign me up.' Linda inked a contract with Warner in 1971, signing to the company's Reprise imprint. Unsurprisingly, Ian Samwell produced Linda's first recording sessions for the label, which were released as the album 'Say No More' the same year.

In 1972's she released the album  'Lark,' and in 1973 'Fathoms Deep.' It was an album that not only consolidated her status as one of Britain's most promising young female singer/songwriters but also evidenced her singularity as a recording artist.

In 1974, Reprise issued a compilation entitled 'Heartstrings, included of two songs: 'Rock-A-Doodle-Doo' and 'Sideway Shuffle.' The former, became the singer's first UK hit when it reached Number 15 in the singles chart in the summer of 1973. As a result of her newfound chart status, she also appeared several times on Britain's premier pop music TV show, 'Top Of The Pops.'

In 1975 she released, 'Not A Little Girl Anymore,'  and the album yielded a massive international hit in the form of a disco-fied version of 'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)' originally recorded by soul singer Betty Everett in 1964. Linda's rendition peaked at Number Six in the UK singles chart.  Another album followed in 1977,'Woman Overboard' but Linda became profoundly disenchanted with the way her career was developing. Linda joined her husband Jim Cregan on a tour of America with Rod Stewart. The couple moved to LA and after much soul searching, Linda went back home to England in 1979. At the beginning of the 1980s, Linda moved back to Los Angeles. She cut an album for Epic Records, 'A Tear And A Smile,' in 1983, but by her own admission, lost interest in music for a long period, preferring to devote her time to bringing up her young son.

Linda moved back to England in the mid-1990s and made an album called 'Second Nature' for Turpin Records in 1995. The album became a hit in Japan, Other albums for Turpin followed in 1997 ('Whatever') and 1999 ('Kiss Of Life'). In 2002, Warner Music released 'Reach For The Truth - The Best of The Reprise Years', an anthology covering Linda's work during the Seventies. In 2003, Linda's work for BMG will also be issued as a Best Of collection and will include her hit singles for the label.

Linda continues to write and record, made live appearances in 2003 at Glastonbury Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and London hot spots, Ronnie Scott's Club and The Jazz Café.

Linda Lewis