A Rockapaedia Obituary
Band: The Outfield
Tony Lewis died aged sixty-two on 19th October 2020 at home near London. UK and his cause of death was not disclosed. Tony was survived by his wife, Carol.
Tony was born in the East End of London and grew up in a tough, working-class neighbourhood where music served as a bright spot in his life, and his love for music began early. The radio was always on in Lewis’ home, and his first influences were classics of the 1960s. He became a fan of the Beatles, T. Rex, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, and varius glam rock bands of the 1970's.
In secondary school Tony took his love of music a step further, forming his first band with Alan Jackman in which he played bass guitar and Alan played drums. A few years later the two joined up with guitar player John Spinks and formed a progressive rock band they named Sirius B but in the mid 1970s the punk-rock scene was exploding in London and the progressive music of Sirius B became in limited demand so they disbanded. Then Tony then went out on his own, playing in various local bands and clubs around London, often stepping up to the microphone to sing lead vocals.
Tony was playing gigs around London when John Spinks bumped into him again and when John heard Tony singing he was inspired to get the band back together. They joined up again with Alan Jackman, this time forming a band they called The Baseball Boys. They toured around the UK, honing the power-pop sound that had been their signature. After touring for a while and tightening up their sound, the band gained a reputation for playing "American-sounding" music. After making demo recordings, they found a break when they signed with an American management company. Their new manager suggested a name change to The Outfield and helped them sign for a record deal. The Outfield released their first album in 1985 called Play Deep which became a multi-platinum selling album and reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200 chart and the single "Your Love" made it to number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Outfield toured extensively and the band released their second album called 'Bangin' in 1987 and a third album, Voices of Babylon, in 1989. Throughout the late 1980's the band continued to tour throughout the USA.
After Voices of Babylon was released, drummer Alan Jackman parted ways with the band although Tony Lewis continued to work with John Spinks and various drummers to continue recording as The Outfield and released albums on a fairly regular basis.
In 2014, John Spinks died of liver cancer at only sixty years of age.. His friendship and musical partnership had meant a lot to Tony and the loss of his friend was hard to take. After thisTony decided to take a break from music a couple of years but his wife Carol eventually encouraged him to begin recording again and get back to what he loved doing. Tony then returned to his solo roots, revisiting early lyrical ideas and playing around with a body of backing tracks. Eventually he teamed up with his wife Carol and re-discovered that she had a talent for writing lyrics. Tony and Carol then collaborated on a new body of work, taking on the spirit of The Outfield but allowing Tony Lewis’ own style to shine through more.
In October 2017 Tony Lewis was introduced to Tanner Hendon and was signed to the record label Madison Records. A new album was quickly released called 'Out of the Darkness' and featured a lead-off single named "Into the Light". On this new album, Tony Lewis played all the instruments besides producing and recording everything himself.