In mid-April, Huey Lewis shocked fans when he canceled all upcoming tour dates, citing a battle with Meniere’s disease that robbed him of his hearing. While he hopes the health problems are treatable, the “Power of Love” rocker says he’s facing the possibility that he may never return to live performance.
It’s a reality that Lewis, 67, admits he’s finding hard to accept. “I haven’t come to grips with the fact that I may never sing again,” the Huey Lewis and the News frontman said in an interview with the Today show on Monday. “I’m still hoping I’m gonna get better. They say a positive attitude is important.”
Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that produces feelings of vertigo, as well as tinnitus (or ringing) and hearing loss. Lewis says he first noticed the symptoms in March during a performance in Dallas. “As I walked to the stage, it sounded like there was a jet engine going on,” he continued. “I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t find pitch. Distorted. Nightmare. It’s cacophony.”
In a tragic twist, the lifelong rocker says his hearing loss is most severe when it comes to music. “Even though I can hear you, we can talk, I can talk on the phone — I can’t sing,” he told Today‘s Jenna Bush Hager. “I can’t hear music. I can do everything but what I love to do the most, which is a drag.”
While there’s no known cure for the disease, Lewis says 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.”
On April 13, Lewis posted a message to social media announcing the cancellation of all upcoming tour dates because his condition made it “impossible” to continue singing for the time being.
After issuing an apology to his fans, Lewis said he intended to make healing his primary goal. “I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again.”
The singer first earned renowned in the mid-’70s during his tenure in Clover, a Northern California band who later backed Elvis Costello on his career-making 1977 debut, My Aim Is True. Lewis found global superstardom himself several years later after the release of Sports, his third album with the News. One of the bestselling rock LPs of all time, the 1983 disc contained four Top 10 tracks including “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “If This Is It.”
More hits followed, including “Hip to Be a Square” — which earned a bizarre second life thanks to an infamous scene in the film American Psycho — and “The Power of Love,” which was featured as the theme to the 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future.