However, Lewie looked likely to remain a part of a one-hit wonder group until he was signed up by Stiff Records in 1977. Following appearances on the Stiff package tours, he scored a solo hit with the humorous synthpop number, "You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties" (1980) which made the British Top 20. Although his next single "Big Shot - Momentarily" was a hit in Germany, it did not chart in the UK, but by the end of the year he was back in the British charts with what became his biggest UK hit, "Stop the Cavalry". He also went on to reach No 2 on the Australian chart in 1981 with "Louise (We Get It Right)" and to have chart successes in many other territories, the most notable being South Africa, France, Belgium, Israel, Switzerland, Austria, South America and Sweden.
Although now one of Britain's (and, incidentally, Germany's) most familiar Christmas singles, "Stop the Cavalry" was not originally intended as a Christmas song – indeed it was a no 1 Gold Record in France in the summer! In England, however, it was released in late November after the record label spotted the line referring to the festival: "'I wish I was at home, for Christmas'". Not only this but the specific style of the brass instruments and bells in the chorus are very noticeable as a 'Christmas' style theme. The melody is loosely based on a theme from Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 by Hugo Alfvén, and its major musical elements copied directly from Mozart's Rondo in D Major, K382.
In December 2005, Lewie appeared in Channel 4's Bring Back...The Christmas Number One, along with other old stars like David Essex and Slade (all of whom had big Christmas Number Ones.) They only fronted but did not play at the studio recording session of "I'm Going Home." It failed to secure a record deal despite being written by ex-Mud star Rob Davis who also appeared on the show and who co-wrote (with Cathy Dennis) the international million-selling "Can't Get You out of My Head" for Kylie Minogue.
The song and hit record "You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties" came about originally when Lewie spotted some clever lyrics in a book by Thunderbolt band mate Keith Trussell (aka Keef Trouble.) Keith had taken the book to show Lewie on one of his visits in 1978, as Lewie had always found lyrics difficult. He had been signed to the successful independent label, Stiff Records, and needed good ideas for songs. Keith left the book behind for John that day - the rest is history. Lewie thumbed through it and his eyes fell upon what struck him as being a really good antithesis line "I don't do no washing up I always leave the stuff, piled up in the sink: but you will always find me in the kitchen at parties" and rang Keith to ask if he could add a few words of his own to the main lyric idea, already well developed, change the ending of the story for the song. In the process of writing his own melody on a multi-timbre polyphonic Polymoog in what was then his 8-track studio, Lewie ended up also playing and recording the backing track apart from some additional bass guitar from Norman Watt-Roy (of Ian Dury and the Blockheads ) and some additional hi-hat percussion from producer Bob Andrews. Contrary to popular folklore the female vocal in the chorus was not the voice of Kirsty MacColl but in fact the voices of the wives of Bob Andrews (producer) and Dave Robinson (the owner and honcho of Stiff Records itself). Kirsty's only involvement was when she appeared a few times on T.V. with Jona to mime/perform the vocal chorus. However, Karen O'Brien's biography 'Kirsty Macoll: The One and Only,' claims this as Kirsty's first vocal backing recording for Stiff Records.
Lewie has not performed or released creative output for fifteen years, but is said to have been finalising a new album since then; proposed for release in 2006, 2007, and now in 2008.
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