Everybody knows Huey Lewis. The lovable hound-dog demeanor fronting a band that seemed to be champions of the working class. Throughout the 1980s, Huey Lewis and the News created unapologetically positive rock ’n’ roll. “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” “I Want a New Drug,” “If This Is It,” “Do You Believe In Love?,” “Workin’ for a Livin,’” “Heart and Soul,” “The Power of Love,” “Hip To Be Square” ... the list of hits goes on and on. The band is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 10-times platinum album “Sports” with a national tour.
However, there are plenty of surprises about Huey Lewis. Here are a few:
1. Huey Lewis is the mystery harp
While Lewis was in the band Clover (1971-1977) he was a hired harmonica player on several albums for other artists, including Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous,” Nick Lowe’s “Labor of Lust,” Dave Edmunds’ “Repeat When Necessary” and Phillip Lynott’s “Solo in Soho.” Clover also backed up Elvis Costello on “My Aim Is True,” but Lewis was not on the sessions.
2. Huey Lewis could have done plenty of other things if this music thing hadn’t worked out.
According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lewis made a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT and enrolled at Cornell University in the engineering department. He dropped out when it seemed like music would provide him with more fun and adventure.
3. Huey Lewis is an actor.
Lewis is one of three music stars moonlighting as actors in Robert Altman’s acclaimed 1993 movie “Short Cuts” — Lewis, Lyle Lovett and Tom Waits. All of the stars won accolades for their roles. However, Lewis’ reputation was probably helped the most due to a nonsexual exposure of private parts in the film. Lewis went on to perform in several other movies (including 2000’s “Duets”) and TV shows, but kept his fly zipped.
4. Huey Lewis even performed on Broadway.
Lewis played the role of “Billy Flynn” in the Broadway musical “Chicago” in 2005 and 2007.
5. Huey Lewis really wants to produce.
Huey Lewis co-produced and played harmonica on Bruce Hornsby & The Range’s “That’s the Way It Is.” Hornsby in-kind wrote “Jacob’s Ladder” for Lewis and it became a No. 1 hit.
6. “Huey Lewis” is not Huey Lewis’ given name.
Lewis’ real name is Hugh Cregg III. His chosen name changed spellings several times (and he even appeared as “Hughie Harp” on that Thin Lizzy album), before finally settling on “Huey Lewis.”
7. Huey Lewis gave some sports stars cameos in his video.
In the video for “Hip to Be Square,” San Francisco 49er players Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana appears as back up singers.
8. Huey Lewis is not afraid of no ghosts.
He was not afraid of a lawsuit, either, when he thought Ray Parker Jr. swiped the riff from Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” for his theme song to the movie “Ghostbusters.” The case was settled out of court with Lewis getting a share of the songs’ profits.
9. Huey Lewis is a favorite of psycho killers.
“American Psycho” anti-hero Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) gives his view on Huey Lewis thusly: “Their early work was a little too New Wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.” Lewis himself recently parodied the “American Psycho” reference with Weird Al Yankovic in a video on humor website Funny or Die.
10. Huey Lewis is sometimes part of a jam band.
Huey Lewis has teamed up with Umphrey’s McGee as a guest performer several times and, in 2011, appeared with the band as Huey Lewis and the rUMors.
Huey Lewis and the News
With: Kevin Abernathy & Mic Harrison
When: 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26
Where: Tennessee Theatre
Tickets: Sold out
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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