Huey Lewis says “rewarding” Broadway musical saved him

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Seven years ago, Huey Lewis was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. It led to the loss of much of his hearing, effectively ending his recording career. That’s why he says working on the new Broadway musical The Heart of Rock & Roll has been his “salvation” during this difficult time.

Speaking to People, Huey said the show, which is based around his hits with The News, has “been a salvation for me personally, and it’s really been gratifying.” He adds, “I can’t sing or perform, but I can do this.”

“Musical theater is probably, I think because it’s the most demanding, also the most rewarding form of artistic expression and it’s immensely collaborative,” Huey notes. “So we’ve been working as a group for almost a decade now on this, and [we’re] very excited to see it all come together.”

Huey spoke with People at the premiere of The Greatest Night in Pop, a new Netflix documentary about the making of the 1985 charity single “We Are the World.” He says he was “nervous out of my mind” at the recording session because he was singing with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.

However, he says he was brave enough to suggest that they run through the song all the way through, no matter how many times the participants messed up their parts, just so that everyone would get a chance to practice their lines.

“Michael [Jackson] was so sweet, he said, ‘That’s a good idea,’” recalls Huey. And after the session, he and Michael “exchanged messages once or twice,” adding, “He congratulated me on my next record.”  

But even more exciting, says Huey, “I got a note from Bob Dylan that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. It was a special evening.”

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