The Curious Case Of Lewis Taylor

Lewis+Taylor.jpgSome months ago, the planets all aligned in such a way that several friends of mine began speaking of an artist that I had been searching for the past 10 years. It all began when my best friend had a mixtape (yes, a cassette) with a song that I played until the tape literally popped. Saddened but unfazed, the song I loved remained at the forefront of my mind while I yearned to put a name to the artist I craved to know so much more about. When I finally learned that it was UK's Lewis Taylor, I was overjoyed. Rapturously ecstatic even. Upon learning that he has retired from music indefinitely, I was overcome with sadness. Word has it Lewis became frustrated with his record company's handling of his work and, despite being a phenomenal multi-instrumentalist, decided to withdraw from performing and recording. I am, therefore, writing this to serve two purposes: to hip anyone out there to how truly amazing this dude is and also to persuade him out of his much-too-long hiatus. To put this in perspective into those unaware of him, consider that his admirers included Elton John, David Bowie, D'Angelo, Chaka Khan, Darryl Hall, Esthero (please click to see their video) and Aaliyah. Do yourself a favor and Google him. He has an impressive discography. Find them. Listen to them. Love them. You can thank me later. 

Lewis Taylor: "Damn"

Lewis Taylor: "Consider"
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  • My two best late music discoveries in the 2000's were Omar an Lewis Taylor. I don't know if I buy the record label excuse. After 2004 he was putting out records on his own imprint Slow Reality and another record label re-released two of his earlier records.

  • Floedezzy

    I have his first two albums and I love them both. "Everybody Here Wants You" is my favorite. Another unappreciated artist. What a shame.

  • BadGurl

    I've been a huge fan of Lt for years. He always had a bigger presence overseas but once I relocated to the US I realized he was a virtual unknown and anything by him was difficult to find. He's stunning acoustically if you ever get to hear him but my all time fave track is probably "Ghosts". A beautiful truly haunting look at his life.

  • BadGurl

    Actually, i wanted to recommend to other SB fans, check out the track "Bittersweet" for something mind-blowing. SICKEST track in my top 20 list of all time. Minimal gritty perfect. There was a remix of it on a compilation album called Dusk at Byron Bay released on an Aussie label. Also amazing.

  • when i really try to impress a "so-called" musikhed like myself, i pull out some Lewis Taylor...and when they ask "who is this", i smile inside...

  • JustChaz

    I'm on vacation, but I still had to post about the incredible Lewis Taylor. He good. Real good. Ok I'm done.

  • Lisa Seymour

    Yes, Lewis Taylor's "Bittersweet" is the s*it! I used to have it on cassette (yes, cassette). I see it's available on iTunes. Thanks for the reminder; I'm going get it NOW.

  • Lewis Taylor is the best thing that English Blue Eyed Soul ever produced. Fact. The day I found him, my life changed.

  • rapnerd

    As you mentioned in the write up, I remember hearing about Lewis Taylor from Aaliyah. She mentioned him on a couple of interviews when asked what/who she was digging as far as other music goes. After hearing her mention him, I looked him up but unfortunately couldn't find much info/music on him, so much of what he looked like/sounded like was still a mystery to me until this post. So, thanks SB for this post. Lewis Taylor is definitely dope.

  • I found about LT about a week or so before I started working in an indie music store here in Chicago. Trust, as soon as I was hired, I had My dusty fingaz on anything he put out. His retirement is something I speak about with huge sadness. I still get folks doin' double-takes and rubber-neckin' when I play his music. My only LT regret is that I didn't see him in concert in NY. I suck for that. I pray for his return like Jesus -- yeah, it IS that serious for Me.

  • hoodedMonk

    In my mind the past decade has been marked by 2 purely musical tragedies. Two events that could have moved the entire culture of music forward, completely out of the negative aspects of the 90's and the cultural depression after 911.
    The first was the never fully realized recording of Lauryn Hills then new material that was performed acoustically on Unplugged. That album was destined to be the "Songs In The Key Of Life" for this generation. As such...the space time continuum has been perverted. ( I'm only half kidding)
    The other was the mismanagement and under promotion of the best new artist since Prince. As a musician I bowed down to that mans vision and execution of some of the best songs i have heard since Prince. If you can't find his albums just sign on to Pandora an put his name in and wait for some of his songs to play. But that album with "Lucky", "Damn", Bittersweet" and OMG the song "Betterlove"..........WOW!!! I know the man had Brian McKnight sweating bullets.
    I am biased because its on the short list of "Last Album I fell in Love To" ( not with) so it is imprinted in my mind. But hey, he is like Marilyn Monroe to me. Gone from us while still at full least professionally. I know the industry sucks so I don't blame him.
    But "DAMN"!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • For me Lewis Taylor sits right up there with Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, and Earth Wind and Fire as one of my favorite all time artists. I have every album, every remix project, and limited edition. As much as people talk about Lewis Taylor, Lewis II, and his uber-accessible commercial project, Stoned, for me his final release (re-release really), The Lost Album, is a magnum opus of soft rock blended with California soul. The fact that the masterpiece sports three haunting acoustic cuts from his debut is just icing. I wrote a three page lament in my review of the album chastising us, the buying public, for not supporting brilliance like Lewis Taylor so that they could reach their creative peaks (Genius that he is, I still say he was two albums from his crowning glory when he left). To be fair, LT may have left the scene because of vocal issues as much as out of industry frustration. He'd had surgery on some nodules on his vocal cords just a few months before he retired. So, the mystery only deepens...Come Back, LT, come back!

  • Wow, Lewis Taylor brings back so many memories. Stoned is such an incredible record. Hell, all of his records are incredible, but Stoned is one of my favorite of all time.

  • No you you didn't put my personal secret private joy out on front street. I thought it was our dirty little secret! I'm both saddened and overjoyed. Bittersweet (another one of his dope ass songs) best describes how I feel about this. But alas, the world shall know his greatness. The secret shall be ours no more. Dude deserves to be know and who beter than Ill Mami to give him a fitting reintroduction to the real soul community. Enjoy it good people... Eat this shit up!

  • adeosun

    This is so weird. I just added the two albums I own by him to my Ipod, and I've been listening to him all weekend. Then I come here and there's a post about him. Like someone else mentioned, I first heard of him through Aaliyah, and I was very saddened that he is no longer doing music.

  • OH YES! I love Lewis Taylor and am so glad that I'm not the only one up on him!

  • t

    It's official: I'm in love with "Damn" and all things Lewis Taylor. I swear I knew of him way back and just didn't remember him. Thank you for reminding me. Have been playing "Damn" on repeat since I read this article. You must also check out Bittersweet, Whoever, Betterlove, Lovelight, Lovin U More, The way you done me, and How. You can find them on imeem.

  • Jeddy

    I LOVE THIS MAN"S MUSIC!!!! He is what American musicians and singers, and producers need to hear. His music is annointed, and it keeps you interested and guessing what melody, harmony, etc. is coming next. I was too sad when I found out that he is no longer recording or performing. As a matter of fact, it still makes me sad. I think Im gonna go cry in a corner now.

  • MixBass

    LT is a once a generation kind of artist. His harmonic and melodic gifts are fresh and at times plain dangerous, like for example "I'm on the floor". No other person on the planet could come up with that bassline and melody. Nice to see people still digging his music.

  • Edd H

    Lewis Taylor's "Lost Album" material really does out-Big Star Big Star and takes soul and California vocal pop and fuses them in ways that boggle my mind. Like Prince, he makes music that is formally and emotionally right, not thrown together. He's barely known here in the US, but we who have listened have recognized a pure musician on a very, very high plane. Just got thru listening to the LA vocal ensemble Sonos, who have done a nice version of Taylor's "Bittersweet."

  • Vic

    I was at the NY show and it was by far the most amazing night of my life. Seeing the realization that his music touched so many and having him be overcome by emotion while the hundreds of us lucky people sang back up on every song without a beat missed. I was surprised today by a track I hadn't really paid attention to be for and it was almost like LT released a new track. Sorry to gush, but before LT no music ever made me feel that way.

  • Dopinion

    @cornfed | September 5, 2009 5:58 AM | I regret to inform you, that the so called surgery on his vocal chords was a hoax, to justify abandoning his US record company (that had gone through great lengths to organize a Spring-tour in the US; even got him on Conan O'Brien in January, following a radio-tour). Not saying this to downtalk LT (I agree with most said about him up here), just the facts. The dates were planned, the tickets on presale. He canceled them using the nodules story, where really he simply was terrified having to go out there and perform multiple live shows.
    He did not enjoy playing his studio songs live, felt out of place (famous quote: "like someone who'd been tricked into turning up in drag"). Which is also the main reason behind his retirement; he did not want to keep returning to a period (read: the songs) in his life that he'd moved on from, where for most public it was inspiring and new, and just what they wanted to hear. Personally, what I'm missing most is his extraordinary talent on the lead guitar, that today only sounds in north English hibernation. Hopefully one day he will release some of the recordings he's surely still producing, in whatever form, with whatever name.

  • JP

    I was at the NYC show. Simply mind-blowing. A staggering talent. He seemed so surprised when the audience sang along he pointed to the audience while looking to the wings of the stage and said something like "Look! See, they know it." It felt so intimate, but powerful. A stunning performance of his virtuosity on the guitar and that incredible voice. I had just been through an extremely difficult break up and that was the most cathartic show of my life (second was the "Purple Rain" tour in 1985, Miami on Easter Sunday).
    I first heard him in '97 and ran out and bought the CD "Lewis Taylor" immediately. One of my favourites that is STILL on heavy rotation. All the best to him. If he comes out with new music we'll be ready to be enraptured all over again.

  • Wonx

    In the Aaliyah interview (if I recall correctly) she was asked what item would she bring with her if she was stranded on a deserted island, and without hesitation, she remark "my Lewis Taylor cd". Like so many people here Aaliyah was also introduced to LT by a friends mix tape on cassette.
    In my humble opinion, of all the songs he has ever written "spirit" is the most haunting. Sung in accapella it has so much raw emotion, it makes Take 6 sound like a boys choir

  • Samuel

    As for many of you that are dedicated to this site, music is and always will be one of the most important parts of my existence.
    Bearing this in mind Lewis Taylor is hands down the greatest artist I have ever has the pleasure of listening too.
    Lewis you changed the way I listen to music and you set the bar on which I view all other artists.
    Thank you.

  • Samuel

    Find me weak find me strong.. i get all messed whenever.. you call my name.

  • AG

    He has co-written a song on the upcoming JLS album.

  • DC

    Lewis Taylor is the Truth. He's one of the all time greats, no matter how hard he tries to cover up his legacy. Hopefully we'll all get the real story (and some new music) someday.

  • Pass The Deutschy

    Did he report the videos? It might have been someone else. Some people are vindictive like that.

  • Pass The Deutschy

    I discovered LT late one night on Kiss when they played: "Whoever" and the lyrics just struck a chord with me. I got his album and played it to DEATH every note, every beat, every lyric of the first album (is it called Damn Sad?) I know off by heart. He is sickeningly talented and I really would love to hear more of and from him.

  • Pass The Deutschy

    Even just reading these comments makes me nostalgic and emotional. All these people appreciating this great artist and remembering how they discovered him. I love your comment, I did work experience in Xfm and nearly got a job in a record label too. I always thought the first album was called Damn Sad lol! That's what it says on the front but apparently it's just called "Lewis" haha!

  • Nick

    Running an hour-long mix of some of the many highlights of Lewis' all-too-brief career on the Gray Area Show, Saturday 12th February 2017 at 10pm. Hope you can listen in to some special memories. Best wishes, Nick


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