Huey Lewis opens up about his friendship with "sweet" Michael Jackson
31 January 2024, 15:34
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Their interaction in the studio has been under the spotlight recently.
For the record of 'We Are The World', the US equivalent of Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas', Jackson and Lionel Richie pulled favours - with the help of Harry Belafonte - to bring the country's greatest stars into the same room for one night.
The likes of Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, and Ray Charles all came together to record the remarkable charity single.
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However, there was one performance that has since piqued public opinion - when Huey Lewis sang a few dodgy notes and Michael glared at him with surprise and confusion.
It seems like a star of his calibre might've been disappointed with Huey's contribution at the time, but there was no bad blood between the two, as Huey recently opened up about their friendship.
Talking to People magazine at the Los Angeles premiere of The Greatest Night In Pop, Lewis admitted his awe at being in the studio with the world's greatest pop star.
MJ and Huey Lewis - We are the World set
"There was something there and we exchanged messages once or twice," Lewis revealed about his friendship with Michael. "He congratulated me on my next record."
Huey did admit, that he was "nervous out of my mind" during the entire recording session, due to the sheer volume of influential musicians in the room.
"And one thing I do remember, which is interesting, is that they wanted to do the lead vocal in one pass for the most part because there were, I think, five microphones and they wanted to phase one up while you phase the other out so that the room ambience matched and everything," he says.
He adds, “And so the first run through Lionel sings, 'There comes a time' and then somebody messed up about, I guess Stevie Wonder did the first time."
"So they went back and did it again. And then Stevie Wonder kind of messed it up a little bit, playfully," Lewis confessed
"Then they did it a third time. Then they got all the way around to Al Jarreau and he kind of fooled around, messed up. So they start again."
Huey then told the People magazine reporter that he then asked the sound engineer, "'Hey, Humberto, next time somebody messes up, can you let them go all the way through so I can rehearse my line?'"
"We never got to rehearse on lines in the thing. And Michael was so sweet, he said, 'That's a good idea'."
In 2009, Huey talked to Entertainment Weekly about the experience of recording 'We Are The World', and was similarly full of praise for Michael Jackson even then.
"We never got a chance to rehearse our lines down at the end, as it were. So I sort of stood up for that. I said, 'Hey, can you go all the way through, at least, so I can rehearse? Stevie Wonder over there has sung his part four times!'."
"And Michael thought that was really funny, so he said, 'Yeah'," Lewis revealed at the time. "And the very next pass, we did the whole thing, we made it all the way."
"Clearly it was the good version. And I saw Quincy [Jones] telling the engineer, 'Okay, let’s do another,' and Michael had his headphones off, and Quincy says, 'All right, let's do another one!'"
"And Michael, very concerned, grabs my hand and says, 'They're gonna save that last one, aren't they?!?', because he knew that was the one."
"Obviously, what can be said about the guy?" Huey continued. "Super talented, and super fabulous, and super sweet at the same time. He was very comfortable. He was just really nice, man. Michael was just a really sweet guy."