Pre Huey Lewis and the News
In 1972 Huey returned to San Francisco after hitchhiking through Europe with his harmonica. He and Sean Hopper joined a country-rock band called Clover. At a nightclub in Los Angeles (1976), Clover was spotted by English singer/producer Nick Lowe and Jake Riviera who then took the band to the U.K., but Clover disappeared in the punk fever that had gripped Europe at the time.
Monday Night Live
In 1978 Huey was playing at Uncle Charlie's, a club in Corte Madera, California, doing the 'Monday Night Live' spot, along with future News men. After recording the song 'Exo-Disco' (a disco version of the theme from the film 'Exodus') Huey got a 'singles contract' from Phonogram Records, and Bob Brown became Manager. Members of a jazz-funk band called Soundhole, which had been a rival band of Clover, were recruited for the band. They included: Johnny Colla (sax/guitar), Bill Gibson (percussion), and Mario Cipollina (bass guitar). These musicians, along with Huey (lead vocals) and Sean (keyboards), only left room for a lead guitarist. For that task Huey wooed Chris Hayes, a brother to gifted San Francisco performer Bonnie Hayes.
By this time (1979), there was a band and a recording contract, but no name. They originally called themselves Huey Lewis and the American Express. After further consideration of this name, they changed their name again to Huey Lewis and the News (HLN).