Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Hugh Anthony Cregg III (born July 5, 1950), known professionally as Huey Lewis, is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. Lewis sings lead and plays harmonica for his band, Huey Lewis and the News, in addition to writing or co-writing many of the band's songs. The band is known for their third, and best-selling, album Sports, and their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1985 feature film Back to the Future. Lewis previously played with the band Clover from 1972 to 1979.
Lewis was raised in Marin County, California, living in Tamalpais Valley and Strawberry, and attending Strawberry Point Elementary School (where he skipped second grade) and Edna Maguire Junior High School in Mill Valley. When he was 13, his parents divorced. He attended and graduated from the Lawrenceville School, a then-all-male prep school in New Jersey, in 1967, and he achieved a perfect score of 800 on the math portion of the SAT. He was also an all-state baseball player.
Lewis attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His mother had an extramarital affair with Beat Generation poet Lew Welch, who became his step father. Lewis credits Welch with inspiring him in his early teenage years. His mother was close friends with the Grateful Dead's manager and extended family.
Back In Town
In 2017, even though he has spent the past two decades living on a ranch in Montana, Hewy Lewis came back to Marin. Lewis and his band, the News, have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, while their 1980s singles such as “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock & Roll” and “If This Is It” have become indispensable retro hits.
“It feels like Christmas every time I hear them play.”
And now, against those considerable odds, Huey Lewis & The News are set to release ‘Weather,’ their first new album of original material in nearly two decades and, quite possibly, their last. Recorded at the band’s own Trout Farm studio in Marin County, California, the collection is as intoxicating as it is unlikely, a timeless blend of rock, soul, and R&B that’s at once playful and sincere, wry and reflective, witty and wise.
“When my hearing goes, it’s like I don’t even exist anymore,” says Lewis, who suffers from a relatively rare inner ear disorder known as Meniere’s Disease. “It leaves me completely isolated, like I’m living inside a cocoon.”
Lewis sounds weathered to perfection on the album, delivering infectious hooks with ecstasy and authority, and the band’s arrangements are bold and muscular to match, fueled by funky horns, blistering guitars, and dazzling keyboards. Unaware of the ticking clock that would cut their work short, Lewis and his bandmates operated slowly and deliberately in the studio, writing tunes when the muse struck and recording them for the sheer joy of it.
The result is a record that captures a legendary group at the peak of their powers, performing with the kind of uninhibited heart and soul that launched them to international superstardom in the 1980s and has sustained them as one of popular music’s most enduring and beloved acts ever since.
“You’ve got to look on the bright side and stay creative,” says Lewis, who notes that there are documented cases of longtime Meniere’s sufferers recovering their hearing. “Even if I never sing again, things could always be worse. After all, I’m deaf, not dead.”