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The (new) Story of Huey Lewis

Suddenly, and without warning, the beloved pop star lost his ability to hear amplified music.

By Dave Holmes


Dave Holmes is Esquire's L.A.-based editor-at-large.

Feb 6, 2020

A version of this story appears in the March 2020 edition of Esquire. We just loved this beautifully written story by Dave Holmes so much we wanted to share it here. Thanks Dave for adding your heart to this story and sharing it with Huey Lewis fans world-wide.


Then came January 27, 2018.

Huey was backstage at a News gig in Dallas, and all at once the opening act turned into distortion. “They’re playing, and it sounds like it’s warfare ... like there’s an airplane taking off.” He went through with the gig, but even the sound in his in-ear monitors was a jumble. He couldn’t find pitch in his own music. “It was the worst night of my life.” An ear specialist put him on a steroid regimen for twenty-eight days. No change. He saw a rheumatologist, then an immunologist, then an otolaryngologist at Stanford. The best any of them could do was to diagnose it, and barely. “They tell me I have Ménière’s disease, but nobody knows what Ménière’s is. It’s a syndrome based on the symptoms. If you have vertigo, stuffed ears—like it feels like you just got out of a swimming pool—and hearing loss and tinnitus,” all of which Huey has experienced, “then they call it Ménière’s.” He shrugs. “But they don’t know what it is.” They also don’t know what causes it or how to cure it. His doctors have put him on a low-salt diet, but he’s not sure it’s helping. The condition might go away as it came on. It also might not.

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Dave Holmes Writer-at-Large Dave Holmes is Esquire's L.A.-based editor-at-large.

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