In spite of his all-American boyish good looks and refreshingly matter-of-fact charm, upon closer inspection you will find in Huey Lewis‘ life ( born Hugh Cregg III ) a series of contradictions. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Huey claims in our classic rock interview to have “grown up as a lower middle class kid”, yet his father was a doctor who sent Huey to private prep school in New Jersey. His mother was a free-spirited artist at the nexus of the Hippie movement, yet Huey was a clean cut “A” student athlete good enough to earn a baseball scholarship. You may read that Huey’s first pro band, Clover, was Elvis Costello‘s studio backing band on the introductory My Aim is True album, but most omit the fact that Huey did not play on it (see interesting sidebar on these very days below ). After returning to America and forming Huey Lewis and the News, their third album Sports thirty years ago would eventually sell over seven million copies, but not before Huey paid the rent as a street corner singer in Europe, a truck driver, a carpenter, a short order cook, a partner in a landscaping business (“We pretty much just pulled weeds”, Huey laughs), and the first recycling business in California.
By the early Eighties, the music business had long established a formula where, by the third album, a recording artist was expected to go big or go home. With Sports, Huey Lewis and the News went big. Really, really big. #1 sales big, 71 weeks on the Billboard chart, four Top Ten hit singles big, including “Heart and Soul”, “If This is It”,”The Heart of Rock ‘n’Roll”, and “I Want a New Drug”. And you won’t find them at home, either, as Huey took a thirtieth anniversary victory lap around the U.S. – Redbeard