Smiley Lewis

Lewis had a similar style to Fats Domino, but his main instrument was guitar rather than piano. Lewis’ career began—much like Domino’s—in various clubs throughout New Orleans, playing for tips and small wages alongside several hard labor jobs. Lewis released a single for DeLuxe Records, which had some regional success, but was not picked up for more sessions with the label. Instead, Dave Bartholomew picked him up for sessions with Imperial, with which Lewis stayed throughout the 1950s.

Lewis recorded several country-western and pop songs to little success in the second half of the decade. He moved on to other labels in the 1960s, but his career was cut short when he died from stomach cancer at age 53.


Wouter Keesing’s Smiley Lewis discography, c. 1990s.



Smiley Lewis 45 RPM Reissue of “I Hear You Knocking,” undated.