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JOHNNY ON THE SPOT

Vintage Rock talks to the man whom BBC DJ Tom Robinson once described as like “a rockabilly hybrid of Captain Beefh eart, Carl Perkins and Tom Waits”
John Lewis. Not to be confused with the other John Lewis
Nick Treharne

The cover of John Lewis & His Rock’n’Roll Trio’s new album Where Would Rock’n’Roll Be? depicts the denim-clad singer standing on top of a globe with his guitar, gazing into the far beyond. On first look, the retro design suggests a 1950s-style love of the curve and its obsession with Outer Space. “Actually, there’s a funny story behind the artwork,” says the aff able performer, superficially dubbed a rockabilly, but whose back catalogue defies easy pigeon-holing. “My in-laws live in Ireland. I’ve been going there for 20 years and have become friends with a former war photographer, Richard Wayman, who switched to taking pictures of the locals. He said he’d take some photos for the album and got me up at five in the morning to catch the dramatic sunrise, making me climb up to a rock on a hill, feeling half-dead from the night before. But when the designer got the photo, he just cut out my figure and didn’t use the background. So, in the end, it could have been taken any time, any day!”

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