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Huey Lewis (born Hugh Anthony Cregg III; July 5, 1950) is an Americanmarker musician, songwriter and occasional actor.He sings lead vocals 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 perhaps best known in American popular culture for their third album Sports and their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1985 feature film Back to the Future.Huey Lewis also played with the band Clover from 1972 to 1979.

Early life

Lewis was born in New York Citymarker. His father was an Irish American from Bostonmarker and his mother, Magda Cregg, was a Polishmarker refugee and the girlfriend of poet Lew Welch.His maternal grandfather had gained some success as the inventor of the red wax protective sealant used on certain varieties of cheese.

Lewis was raised in Marin County, Californiamarker, attending Strawberrymarker Point Elementary School (where he skipped second grade) and Edna Maguire Junior High School in Mill Valleymarker.When he was 13, his parents divorced and he attended and later graduated from the Lawrenceville Schoolmarker in New Jersey, in 1967, where he achieved a perfect score of 800 on the math portion of the SAT.Lewis applied to and was accepted by Cornell Universitymarker in Ithaca, New Yorkmarker.

In an interview with David Letterman, Lewis talked about hitchhiking across the country to New York and how he learned to play the harmonica while waiting for rides.He talked about hanging out at the airport for three days until he stowed away on a plane to Europe. In future interview's Lewis would reveal other encounters while travelling Europe. He claimed to sleeping rough at times. While visiting the Scottishmarker city of Aberdeenmarker with no money and nowhere to sleep Lewis claimed that the locals were very hospitable and would often offer him somewhere to stay.In Madrid, Spain, Lewis became an accomplished blues player and he hitchhiked around and supported himself by busking with his harmonica.He gave his first concerts in Madrid, earning enough money to buy a plane ticket back to the USA.

On his return, Lewis entered Cornell University, joining the engineering program.While there, he made friends with Lance and Larry Hoppen, who later played with Orleans and Eddie Tuleja of King Harvest.Initially an active student and a member of the fraternity Eta Lambda Nu, Lewis soon lost interest in college.He signed up with a band called Slippery Elm, and in December 1969, during his junior year, he dropped out of Cornell and moved back to the San Francisco area.His aim was to continue playing music, but along the way he also tried other fields of work, including landscaping, carpentry and natural foods.

Musical career

In 1971, Lewis joined the Bay Area band Clover.Around this time he took the stage name "Hughie Louis", although he would tinker with the spelling in the forthcoming years.

Other members of the band (at various points) were John McFee, Alex Call, John Ciambotti, Mitch Howie, Sean Hopper, Mickey Shine and Marcus David.Lewis played harmonica and sang lead vocals on a few tunes.Clover's main rival band (which developed into a friendly rivalry) was Soundhole (Johnny Colla, Mario Cipollina, and Bill Gibson were band members).

In 1976, after playing in the Bay Areamarker with limited success, Clover went to Los Angelesmarker.They had their "big break" in a club there when their act was caught by Nick Lowe, who convinced Clover to travel to Britainmarker with him.However, Clover arrived in Britain just as their folk-rock, known as pub rock in Britain, sound was being replaced by punk rock.

The two Clover albums produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange under the British Phonogram label were not successful. By this point, the spelling of Cregg's stage name had changed to "Huey Louis"; it is under this spelling that he is billed on both of Clover's albums for Phonogram.

Clover -- without Lewis -- also backed Elvis Costello on his 1977 debut album My Aim is True.

In 1978, the band returned to California, McFee joined the Doobie Brothers, and Clover disbanded.

Under the name "Huey Harp" Huey Lewis played harmonica on Thin Lizzy's 1978 landmark album Live and Dangerous.That same year, Lewis was playing at Uncle Charlie's, a club in Corte Madera, Californiamarker, doing the 'Monday Night Live' spot, along with future members of the News.After recording the song "Exo-Disco" (a disco version of the theme from the film Exodus) as Huey Lewis and the American Express, Huey landed a 'singles contract' from Phonogram Records, and Bob Brown became his manager.

The band played a few gigs (including an opening for Van Morrison), before adding new guitarist Chris Hays to the line-up. On Brown's advice, they changed their name again, to Huey Lewis and The News.
Lewis performing in 2006
After a failed self-titled debut in 1980, the band finally broke through to Top 40 success with the gold album Picture This (1982).It rose to #13 on the Albums chart thanks to the Mutt Lange-penned "Do You Believe in Love" (#7): the band's first hit.

The band's third LP, the #1 Sports (1983), is one of the best-selling pop releases of all time.It has sold ten million copies in the US alone.It was followed up by Fore! (1986), another #1 multi-platinum smash.

Lewis produced Nick Lowe's 1985 cover of "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)", and later produced several songs(including one where he sang backup & played harmonica) on Bruce Hornsby & The Range's debut album, The Way It Is. Hornsby thanked him by writing the song "Jacob's Ladder", a #1 single from The News's next album.Huey Lewis and the News provided backup vocals and played on the song.He and his bandmates also performed on USA for Africa's 1985 fund-raising single We Are the World, and spent the remainder of the 1980s and early 1990s recording fourteen Top-20 Billboard Hot 100 hits and releasing two more hit albums: Small World (1988) #11 and Hard at Play (1991) #27.By the time the band released the album of cover songs Four Chords & Several Years Ago (1994) #55, their chosen lower profile and lack of promotion from new label Elektra saw their Top 40 appeal dip.

Huey Lewis has sung with Umphrey's McGee at several shows beginning with the 2005 Jammys and is featured on two tracks of their album Safety In Numbers.

The band, now in self-proclaimed semi-retirement, still plays 80+ U.S. dates a year, with an occasional European tour.The average fee for Huey Lewis and the News to play a private college-sized show is around US$200,000.
Lewis performing in Nashville, TN.
November 2008.

On February 13, 2007, Lewis was interviewed on the podcast series "Stuck in the 80s."During the interview he revealed that the band has written several new songs that they planned to record in 2008.He also stated that, given how much the industry has changed since their last album, he was unsure how they would sell the new material.

During a show at the California State Fairmarker on August 21, 2007, Lewis was named Sacramentomarker's "Musician of the Year" by the fair's General Manager and presented with a gold statue of the California state bear.

Lewis recorded a duet version of "Workin' for a Livin'" with Garth Brooks, which was included on Brooks' 3-Disc set The Ultimate Hits, in late 2007.

On July 4, 2008, the eve of his 58th birthday, Huey Lewis and the News were the opening act for the annual A Capitol Fourth celebration on the west lawn of the U.S.marker Capitolmarker in Washington, D.C.markerMore than a half million people attended, and millions watched live on PBS.The band performed "The Heart of Rock & Roll", "The Power of Love" and "Workin' for a Livin'".

Ghostbusters lawsuit

In 1985, Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr. over similarities between Parker's theme for the 1984 movie Ghostbusters and Lewis's "I Want a New Drug." The case was settled out of court, with both parties agreeing to keep the settlement secret. In 2001, Parker sued Lewis, alleging that in a "VH1 - Behind the Music" Episode, Lewis had discussed the settlement in violation of their nondisclosure agreement.


Lewis has made appearances in several movies.The first was a cameo in Back to the Future (1985), as a judge in the Hill Valley High School band audition.The band also recorded two songs for the film soundtrack, the "Back in Time" and "The Power of Love". Lewis played Reba McEntire's husband in her music video for 1992 single, "Is There Life Out There".

Lewis's second movie appearance was in Short Cuts (1993), in which he had a more significant role. In addition, Lewis appeared in the first few minutes of the movie Sphere (1998) as the helicopter pilot.After that role, he had a large part in Shadow of a Doubt (1998) which appeared on Showtime.He had an uncredited role in Dead Husbands (1998) as the husband killed during the opening credits.

Duets (2000) was probably Lewis's largest role in a major Hollywood feature film. In it, he played Gwyneth Paltrow's father, Ricky Dean, a karaoke hustler.Duets led to the smash-hit duet "Cruisin'", a cover of the Smokey Robinson classic, with Paltrow.The song reached the top spot on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.In 2002, he appeared in the film, .com for Murder, starring Nastassja Kinski.He has also made guest appearances on the television programs Just Shoot Me! (2002), One Tree Hill (2004), and King of Queens (appearing as himself).

In 2006, Lewis made his Broadwaymarker debut in the six-time Tony award-winning musical Chicago, starring as attorney Billy Flynn.


See Huey Lewis and the News discography for albums and singles by the band. Below are specific contributions by Huey Lewis as a solo artist.



The following table denotes singles that Lewis has charted with solo credits.
Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US AC US Country CAN Country
2000 "Cruisin'" (w/ Gwyneth Paltrow) 109 1 Duets (soundtrack)
2008 "Workin' for a Livin'" (w/ Garth Brooks) 115 19 19 The Ultimate Hits (Garth Brooks album)


  1. Huey Lewis Biography - Discography, Music, Lyrics, Album, CD, Career, Famous Works, and Awards
  2. Search Results
  3. Kaliss, Jeff. "Huey Lewis still spreads the news", San Francisco Chronicle, June 24, 2005
  4. interview
  5. According to the band's own VH1 special.
  6. [ "Stuck in the 80s" podcast 2007-02-13
  7. Parker Sues Huey Lewis: Huey Lewis and the News : Rolling Stone
  8. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks from

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