One of the most unoriginal things I've done in my life is become a fan of Huey Lewis and the News. I only liked the band (at first) because my eldest cousin, who I looked up to, was obsessed with them.
(That's the cousin in the picture at the left - plus me, my brother, and Huey Lewis.)
I listened to a lot of sports radio - hardly any music on my own - so when people asked what my favorite music was, I just said I liked Huey Lewis.
Later, when I actually did listen to them and owned their albums, I really did like them.
And Huey Lewis is in the top 3 of my early music influences - along with Billy Joel and Elton John.
About the only trivia I knew about Lewis, though, was that his real name is Hugh Anthony Cregg III.
But this week I learned a little more about him.
I'll explain the picture in a minute. First...Huey Lewis and the News is (are?) releasing a 30th anniversary edition of 'Sports', their (its?) hit album. The album features live versions, I hear, of all of the songs on the album.
So as part of the promotional tour, I guess Huey Lewis is making the media rounds. He was on two of my favorite podcasts in the last week - WTF with Marc Maron and Bullseye.
That means I heard two versions of his stories - sneaking onto a plane to travel to London for a year in Europe at the insistence of his father rather than going straight to college to play baseball, his brief time at Cornell (brief because he wasn't as interested in engineering as he was in music), and how Robert Zemeckis and he differ on the story about how The Power of Love came to be used for Back to the Future.
It also means I heard twice about his early music experience before 'The News' - he played in a band called 'Clover'. I had no idea.
I found a couple of their songs on YouTube - including one in which Huey Lewis sang lead. (He was primarily a harmonica player in the band, and it seems like this one is a rare one where he sings. I put that video at the end of this post.) As you can probably see, that song sounds a lot like Huey Lewis and the News, mostly because of Lewis' voice. Overall - and especially the ones where Lewis is just doing harmonica or percussion - the songs have a more funky, 70's-ish vibe.
As for meeting Huey Lewis? I've told this story to many people verbally, but I don't think I've ever written it. (I often tell it when I wear that orange shirt I'm wearing in that picture. I call it my 'Huey Lewis shirt'.) My cousin and I used to go to Hofstra in the summer to see Jets training camp. The day we went that year (according to the time stamp I guess it was 2005) Huey Lewis and the News played a venue on Long Island. My brother, through his radio job, thought he could get us tickets. As the day progressed, he thought he could even get us backstage to meet Huey Lewis. This was thrilling news. (It was almost too thrilling for my cousin.) But I couldn't meet Huey Lewis dressed in a sloppy Jets t-shirt.
So off to the mall we went. Eddie Bauer had a sale on these orange shirts. There was a whole rack of them, only $10. Sold. We went to the concert, got pulled into the 'Meet and Greet' area, Huey said to us, "You guys are cool, right?" My brother finagled some autographs (I have a 'Fore!' record autographed) and the concert was excellent.
Pretty great memory.
I don't know where you stand on Huey Lewis...but give it a shot - it's good music.