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Spotlight on: 'Barbara Lewis'

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Barbara Lewis [Barbara Lewis] Barbara Lewis (born February 9, 1943) is an American singer and songwriter who is of Mixed-Race Lineage
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 4, 2008
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      Barbara Lewis

      Barbara Lewis

      Barbara Lewis (born February 9, 1943) is an American
      singer and songwriter who is of Mixed-Race Lineage and
      whose smooth style influenced rhythm and blues (R&B).

      It has been said that the
      Pop-Soul sound simply
      "doesn't get much better than
      Barbara Lewis" --
      whose croon took `Hello Stranger' to #3 in 1963.

      Born and raised in Salem , Michigan , near Ann
      Arbor ,
      Barbara had been writing songs since
      the age of nine, and began recording as a
      teenager with producer Ollie McLaughlin,
      (a Disc Jockey Ann Arborradio station WHRV, later
      changed to WAAM,
      the Capitols, and Deon Jackson

      Lewis' first single release in 1962, the
      uptempo `My Heart Went Do Dat D'a did not chart
      nationally but was a local hit in the Detroit area.

      Lewis wrote all of the songs on her debut
      (including the hit `Hello Stranger'), and
      confidently handled harmony soul numbers
      (some with backing by the Dells) and more pop-savvy
      tunes, some of which, like "Hello Stranger," were
      driven by an organ and a bossa nova-like beat.

      Though her follow-ups did not have
      the same success, her song `
      'We're Gonna Love Again'
      was covered by
      The Searchers for a British Invasion hit.

      In the mid-'60s, she began doing some recordings in
      New York City, with assistance from producers like
      Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler, that employed more
      orchestral arrangements and pop-conscious material.

      The approach clicked, both commercially and artistically:
      `Baby I'm Yours',
      which was written by Van McCoy,
      and `Make Me Your Baby' were both big hits, and both
      among the best mid-'60s girl group style productions.

      Lewis cut an album in the late '60s for Stax
      (on the Enterprise subsidiary) that, as one
      would expect, gave her sound a grittier approach,
      ---- without compromising the smooth and
      poppy elements integral to the singer's appeal.

      It passed mostly unnoticed,
      and after its lack of
      commercial success, Lewis began to withdraw from
      the music
      business, after making a few more singles.

      She received the Pioneer Award from
      the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999.

      The Impact of Barbara Lewis on the Music World

      The "beach music" scene of the Carolinas
      remains a bastion of appreciation for
      records, which continue to enjoy popularity and
      airplay there decades after their original release.

      However, over the next decade, a number of other
      artists had success with Lewis' songs, most notably
      Yvonne Elliman, who made the U.S. Top 20
      (and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart) and the
      UK Top 30 with her version of `Hello Stranger' in 1977.

      In Canada , Suzanne Stevens had a hit in 1975
      with a disco version of `Make Me Your Baby'.

      Cover versions of Barbara Lewis' tracks continue
      into the new millennium with the Arctic Monkeys
      including a version of `Baby I'm Yours' as a B-side to
      their 2006 single, `Leave Before The Lights Come On'.

      Pictures of `White-faced' coverings of Barbara
      Lewis albums made during her musical career:

      (NOTE: The `White'-facing of record album covers was
      a rather racist practice that was often decided upon by
      those who led the music industry in what they claimed
      was their attempt to appeal to mainstream audiences
      – yet -- their decisions always seemed to lead to a
      denial of non-White artists having the right to see
      ever themselves reflected within their own work.)



      Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:18 pm

      "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...>
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