In 1972 Huey Lewis returned to San
Francisco after hitchhiking through Europe with his harmonica. He and Sean
Hopper joined a country-rock band called Clover.
At a nightclub in Los Angeles (1976), Clover was spotted by English
singer/producer Nick Lowe and Jake Riviera who then took the band to the U.K.,
but Clover disappeared in the punk fever that had gripped Europe at the
In 1978 Huey was playing at Uncle
Charlie’s, a club in Corte Madera, California, doing the “Monday Night Live”
spot, along with future News men. After recording the song “Exo-Disco”
(a disco version of the theme from the film “Exodus”) Huey got a “singles contract”
from Phonogram Records, and Bob Brown became Manager. Members of a jazz-funk
band called Soundhole, which had been a rival band of Clover,
were recruited for the band. They included: Johnny Colla (sax/guitar), Bill
Gibson (percussion), and Mario Cipollina (bass guitar). These musicians, along
with Huey (lead vocals) and Sean (keyboards), only left room for a lead
guitarist. For that task Huey wooed Chris Hayes, a brother to gifted San
Francisco performer Bonnie Hayes.
By this time (1979), there was a
band and a recording contract, but no name. They originally called themselves Huey
Lewis and the American Express. After further consideration of this name,
they changed their name again to Huey Lewis and the News (HLN).
At the beginning of 1980, HLN
got a record deal with Chrysalis records and released their self-titled debut album.
It was soon followed by Picture This which featured their first top 10
hit, “Do You Believe in Love.” This album remained on the Billboard charts for
35 weeks and peaked at #13. By this time, the band had appeared on shows such
as “Fridays,” “Solid Gold,” and “American Bandstand.” In late 1982, their
record label delayed the release of their third album, putting HLN back
to square one. They then went out on a bus tour of small clubs. Shortly after
this, Sports was released.
In June 1984 the album hit number
one on the Billboard Charts! HLN continued to tour extensively, often
setting attendance records in cities, and collecting the perks and awards that
are attached to a million-selling, number one album. In fact, they opened the
1985 Grammy Awards with “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” In October 1985, Sports
was certified multi-platinum in the US and Canada, silver in the UK, and gold
in Australia. A few months later, the album went gold in Japan as well. “The
Power of Love” written for the movie “Back to the Future”, became the band's
first number one song and was even nominated for an Oscar. Also in 1985, the
band participated in the USA for Africa recording of “We are the World.”
The band also picked up several American Music Awards for their talents!
In 1986, the band received the BPI
award for “Best International Artist of the Year” in London. They also received
a total of eight awards at the Ninth Annual “Bammies” in San Francisco. In
August 1986 Fore was released and climbs to the number one spot on the Billboard
charts also! To meet the demand for the band, they went back out on the road,
playing in large venues and stadiums.
Now with those two critically
acclaimed albums under their belts, totaling fifteen million albums worldwide,
the band felt able to relax during the making of their next album. In July
1988, the band released Small World which took them in a different
direction. This album was more jazz-/reggae-/ska-oriented as opposed to their
usual good ole American rock-n-roll sound. The band continued to tour, but then
they took a break and decided to change labels.
The guys took their time writing
the next album and in 1991 the band released Hard at Play. The songs on
this album were basically written from all of their cumulative experiences
through the years. After its release, the band launched yet another
The band again changed labels and
then released an album that celebrated the roots of music. Four Chords and
Several Years Ago featured many great cover tunes. Also around this time,
the band added the great sounding “News Brothers” (horn section including-
Marvin McFadden, Ron Stallings, and Rob Sudduth) and the new bassist, John Pierce.
Although the band continued to tour, they began to restrict heavy touring to
the summer months.
In 1996, Time Flies—The Best of
Huey Lewis and the News was released. This album features many of the great
hits and several of the band members’ favorite tunes. Also included on this
album were four new songs written by the band.
On July 24, 2001, the band released
the much-anticipated Plan B album, which contains all-original songs
that the band really enjoys playing. The first single off of the album was “Let
Her Go and Start Over.” The band continues to tour and play approximately 60-70
shows a year, doing most of their heavy touring during the summer months.