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Until very recently this site used to link (http://feltribute.xyz/articles/index.htm) to a live review of Felt at the Moonlight Club in Hampstead from January 1981.
The link now appears to be broken (but I still have a JPEG of the article). Anyway, the writer (Dave McCullough) refers to the 'Jon Lawrence, the Felt singer'. With Dave being one of (if not the) earliest supporter of the band, does he know something that we don't?
I thought that his surmame was Heywood, but I'm not sure where I got that from, nor if it's correct.
I believe his surname is Hayward, a la the Moody Blues lead singer spelling. I'm fairly sure that one of the main reasons Lawrence gave for ditching it was to discourage people from asking him if he was related to Justin Hayward - an outside possibility to someone not well Felt-versed, since the Moodies are a Birmingham band (although JH himself is about the only member not to originate from there).
"Hayward" is his surname.
one of the main reasons Lawrence gave for ditching it was to discourage people from asking him if he was related to Justin Hayward
This is the likely reason, though it's common to see Nick Heyward given as the reason.
I know the Dave McCullough review you're talking about... it still exists here in the pictures section. I assume either McCullough made a mistake, or Lawrence hadn't settled on his identity at that time.
The Versatile Newts single, made by Lawrence and Nick Gilbert, is credited on the sleeve to Gilbert and "New Noise". This shows that Lawrence was playing with pseudonyms in the very early days of Felt. Maybe he was "Jon Lawrence" at one point.
More surname confusion... Lawrence gets called "Lawrence Watson" in the review of Poem of the River that appeared in Sounds (also in the pictures section here). The writer seems to have mistaken our man for a photographer of that name who worked at New Musical Express back then.
Yes, it was McCullough who awarded them with Single of the Week.
When did the surname start to slip out?
That's a good question... I'm sure there must be something earlier but the New Musical Express article "Look Back in Wrangler" from 1996 explicitly exposes Lawrence's surname.
(Links to this piece in the Articles section seem to be broken so here is the text.)
Acording to this:
Lawrence used the stage name Jon Lawrence, probably for a time, then dropped "his" first name.