Tony Lewis, the singer of ’80s pop-rock band The Outfield, has died at the age of 62. According to a statement, Lewis died at his home near London on Oct. 20. No cause of death was given.
“Tony Lewis, singer of the ’80s rock band The Outfield, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away,” reads the statement. “Tony’s music touched people around the globe for decades. Lewis and the late John Spinks took the ’80s by storm with The Outfield’s infectious pop songs, including ‘Your Love,’ ‘All The Love’ and ‘Say It Isn’t So.’ ‘Your Love’ reached No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1986 and is still widely known today, with features in various TV spots and commercials, gaining millions of streams each month.” The “Your Love” video currently boasts more than 300 million views on YouTube.
The band had achieved huge success in the U.S., but weren’t as known in the U.K. Still, the band continued to record and tour through the 1980s and into the early 1990s.
Speaking to The Grateful Web in 2019, Lewis said, “I grew up in East London. I sang in an American accent even though my friends said I sounded more like Michael Caine in real life. It would sound pretty funny if I sang ‘Your Love’ in my real accent.”
In 2017, Tony Lewis signed to Madison Records and released “Out of the Darkness” in 2018. Featuring a sound that harkened back to The Outfield, standout track include “Into the Light” and “Only You.” Earlier this year, Lewis released “Unplugged -- The Acoustic Sessions.” And in June, he appeared on RW Quarantunes, a by-invitation-only online fundraiser and greatest hits showcase where he performed “Your Love” solo and sounded phenomenal.
Tony Lewis is survived by his wife, Carol.
Tony Lewis biography
Tony Lewis, musician; songwriter and record producer is probably best known as co-founder of The Outfield. Together with John Spinks, the two took the 80s by storm with their infectious pop songs, including “Your Love,” “All the Love,” and “Say it isn’t So.”
Their debut album, Play Deep, was issued in 1985, and would go on to reach triple platinum sales status and the Top 10 in the US album charts. “Your Love" peaked at No. 6 and continues to remain one of the most liked songs from the past 30 years and still continues to grow. On a weekly basis, “Your Love” is played on over 1000 radio stations, and averages over 2 million streams on Pandora, 1 million views on Youtube, and 1 million streams on Spotify.
Tony Lewis’s love of music started early. Born and raised in London’s East End, a notorious and diverse area. The radio was always on and his first influences were the classic 1960s singles played on an old radio gram. At age 9 Tony first heard the Beatles, and immediately he was hooked. Later he became a huge fan of T Rex and other glam rock bands, even modeling his hair on the great Marc Bolan.
Tony Lewis knew Alan Jackman at school and they formed a band, with Tony playing bass. Since he could only afford a 3 foot guitar lead, he was never able to sing because he couldn’t reach the microphone. A few years later, Tony put an advertisement in a London music paper and met guitar player John Spinks. They later formed a prog rock band called Syrius B with Alan.
When Punk Rock exploded onto the music scene in London, the group disbanded. Tony Lewis went out on his own, playing in various local bands in pubs and clubs all over London, by this time he had a longer guitar lead and stepped up to the microphone to take on the vocals. Tony was playing one night in a pub in East London, John Spinks was there and John said “With your voice and my songs, we could form a great band”. John asked Tony if he could play bass and sing on some demo’s he had written, Alan played drums on the demos and the chemistry felt right and the songs started to flow, so “The Baseball Boys” named after a street gang in the popular film The Warriors became a real band.
While holding down full-time jobs, The Baseball Boys toured the UK, tightening up their act and honing their craft. A local recording studio, Scarf Studios allowed the band to make their demos on a shoestring budget. Their hard work paid off when they were introduced to an American management company. Along with advising a name change, they helped get the band a record deal. In 1984, The Outfield signed with CBS Columbia and began working on their first album, Play Deep. Tony Lewis was now officially a professional musician.
Play Deep was well received in the United States, eventually becoming a multi-platinum selling album, with the single “Your Love” reaching No. 6 in the billboard charts. The Outfield began touring with bands including: The Hooters; Nightranger; Howard Jones; Asia; Starship; Mike and the Mechanics, and Journey. The Outfield toured extensively through the US and South America headlining their own shows on the club, festival and theatre circuit.
After the success of the first album, Tony Lewis and John went on to record many more albums with various drummers. The two were great friends and wrote and recorded together until John’s passing in 2014.
After the death of his longtime friend and collaborator, Tony Lewis took a break from music. He had always written and recorded solo work since before the creation of The Baseball Boys, and eventually Tony was inspired to get back into music. He revisited his early lyric ideas, and even with a body of backing tracks, he just couldn’t seem to find anything that worked. Tony told his wife ‘none of this sounds right’ so she agreed to help him and soon Tony discovered that Carol had a talent for writing lyrics and telling a story. Together with his ability to form song structure and melody arrangements, they began creating songs together.
The result was Tony’s first solo album, Out of the Darkness on Madison Records, which takes on the spirit of The Outfield, while letting Tony’s own style shine through. On the album, Tony played all of the instruments, as well as produced and recorded everything on his own. Mixed by Tanner Hendon and Wyatt Oates of Madison Studios. three singles were released, Into The Light, Here And Now, I’ll Still Be Here, to high critical success from industry and fans.
Tony Lewis has been working on a new EP, which will be released on Madison Records in Spring of 2021.