"You've got to look on the bright side and stay creative," Huey Lewis said after his battle with Ménière's disease robbed him of the ability to sing

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 05, 2019 03:05 PM
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Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty

On Thursday, the band announced their upcoming album Weather, which will be released Feb. 14, 2020, as well as a new single, out now, titled “While We’re Young.”

“Now, here we are / Getting older / Wondering what we’ll be / Life is short / Let’s take advantage of / Every opportunity,” the frontman sings on the new song.

The disc, which includes seven tracks, marks the first release of original material since their album Plan B in 2001. It was recorded by the Grammy-winning band at their own Troutfarm Studio in Marin County, California.

Song titles include “One of the Boys,” “Hurry Back Baby,” “I Am There for You,” “Remind Me Why I Love You Again” and “Her Love is Killin’ Me,” which debuted in September. Also on the album is a cover of “Pretty Girls Everywhere” by Eugene Church.

The music was largely recorded before Lewis, 69, was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, an illness which robbed him of the ability to sing.

“You’ve got to look on the bright side and stay creative,” Lewis said in a press release of staying optimistic amid his health battle. “Even if I never sing again, things could always be worse. After all, I’m deaf, not dead.”

Huey Lewis, 2018
| Credit: Adam Bettcher/Getty

Ménière’s disease is an inner-ear disorder that produces feelings of vertigo, as well as tinnitus (or ringing) and hearing loss. Lewis said he first noticed the symptoms in March 2018 during a performance in Dallas.

“As I walked to the stage, it sounded like there was a jet engine going on,” he said in an interview with the Today show’s Jenna Bush Hager in May 2018. “I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t find pitch. Distorted. Nightmare. It’s cacophony.”

The lifelong rocker said his hearing loss is most severe when it comes to music — “I can’t hear music. I can do everything but what I love to do the most, which is a drag,” he said.

While there’s no known cure for the disease, Lewis said that his hearing may improve with a new dietary regimen. “No caffeine, lower salt and keep your fingers crossed. It can get better. It just hasn’t yet,” he said at the time.

In April 2018, Lewis cancelled all upcoming tour dates, apologizing to fans and expressing that healing himself is his primary goal.

“I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again,” he wrote on Twitter.

Lewis first earned acclaim in the mid-’70s during his tenure in Clover, a Northern California band. The singer then found global superstardom himself several years later after the release of Sports, his third album with the News.

More hits followed, including “Hip to Be a Square” and “The Power of Love,” which was featured as the theme to the 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future.

On Tuesday, Lewis wrote to fans on Twitter, saying the band is “trying to reinvent the wheel” when it comes to pop music.

“This is pop music. And so we are in fact trying to reinvent the wheel. When you’re done, you want something that sounds at once original but also like every other song you ever heard. And that’s the game,” he tweeted. “That’s the little puzzle when you try and write a pop song.”