Mythical Synth-Pop Folk Singer Lewis Previously Believed Dead or Missing Is Alive and Well
Singer-songwriter Randall Wulff — otherwise known as Lewis — has become something of a hipster legend during the past three decades. And although many believed him to be dead or never having existed at all, turns out he was just in Canada the whole time.
Lewis released two synth-folk albums in the early ’80s — ‘L’amour’ in 1983 and ‘Romantic Times’ in 1985 — then promptly faded into obscurity. In 2008, a Canadian record collector stumbled across the ‘L’amour’ LP at a flea market, and then passed another copy he found to a friend who writes for the site Weird Canada. A post in 2012 brought new attention to Lewis and the original pressings of the records, which Noisey reports began selling for hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars online.
That was good enough for Seattle’s Light in the Attic Records, which reissued both albums earlier this year to unexpected critical acclaim. But nobody knew anything of the whereabouts of Wulff — only really known for his shirtless portrait on the ‘L’amour’ album cover — which led some to believe the singer was long gone or possibly just the pseudonym for some other unnamed artist.
A friend of Wulff’s, however, recently tipped off Light in the Attic that the man behind those albums — the same one depicted on the ‘L’amour’ cover — wasn’t so mysterious at all: He was just living quietly back home in Canada. Pitchfork reports that label reps embarked on a journey in search of Wulff and posted a statement about it here. In part, it reads:
Feeling deflated after 48 hours of tirelessly searching, we suddenly spotted him in plain sight. We found him looking calm, cool and collected, sitting outside a little neighborhood coffee shop drinking a large hot coffee. He looked great just sitting there basking in the summer sun with his classic blond hair, white shorts, white, billowy dress shirt (confidently unbuttoned to the navel), shiny white tennis shoes, and a wooden cane, which he cited was from a recent accident, but he seemed to walk fine. He had that undeniable charm of some golden-era Hollywood actor.
Wulff reportedly had no interest in his recent fame and refused to accept any royalties from his reissues. The label said, “When we mentioned that we’d been looking for him for years, he was surprised, responding that he’s been right there all along and shops for groceries at his neighborhood store.”
Out of respect for Wulff, the label said it will not repress the albums once they’re sold out unless the singer tells them otherwise. “It doesn’t feel right collecting money from his art and him not sharing in it regardless of how incredibly positive he was about the entire thing. The royalties will continue to be set aside into an escrow in case he ever wants them.”
Wondering what all the fuss is aboot? Listen to ‘I Thought the World of You’ from ‘L’amour’ right here: