Pete Hewlett has been one of the top musicians/singers/songwriter to come out of the Pittsburgh scene over the last half century. He has backed up some of the greatest artists in history and made history as a member of Billy Joel’s The Bridge touring band that became the first American band to play behind the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union in 1987. Hewlett’s professional career began at age 16 with Peter’s Pipers and he then formed the band Sweet Lightnin’ in 1972, which signed with RCA Records. Pete then left Pittsburgh for Cleveland where he worked with Eric Carmen and The Raspberries before moving on to the Euclid Beach Band. Urged by Sid McGinnis (The Late Show with Davis Letterman guitarist), Pete signed on with Carly Simon in 1979 as her new backup vocalist and guitarist. Simon’s 1980 Warner Brothers record Come Upstairs featured the hit song “Jesse” with Hewlett on guitar and vocals. The hit single reached #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Ironically enough, when the band went on tour to promote the album, Carly Simon collapsed at the Stanley Theater in Hewlett’s native Pittsburgh and the tour was subsequently cancelled. Pete soon teamed with Santana drummer Michael Shrieve to form Novo Combo that had two hit singles “Tattoo” and “Up Periscope” reaching 42 & 43 on the Hot 1000 respectively. Frequent openers for the likes of The Who, Cheap Trick and others, they received national attention at the 1981 Montreaux Jazz Festival and appeared on the hit TV show Solid Gold that same year.
In 1983, Pete joined superstar Billy Joel’s touring band as a vocalist and sang background vocals on his forthcoming Innocent Man in 1984. Pete’s range allowed him to hit the high notes on the more difficult tunes including “Innocent Man”. In 1986, Hewlett again worked on Joel’s next album The Bridge and performed on the subsequent worldwide tour that made history playing in Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi as part of the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in 1987. He has since played as a sessions musician and vocalist for the likes of Julian Lennon, Joe Jackson, Marc Cohn, Andrew LLloyd Weber and Amy Grant. Pete has also served as the vocalist for ads for Burger King, McDonald’s Miller Beer and others. In 2001, he teamed with Scott Anderson to form Hewlett-Anderson, releasing 2 albums and hosting Live From Studio A for WQED from 2001-2008. Hewlet was host and Anderson was music director. In 2007, Pete won a Emmy for his performance in Live… To cap off an already extremely successful career, on July 16 & 18, 2008, Pete appeared alongside Joel, Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Roger Daltrey, Garth Brooks, Don Henley and Sir Paul McCartney for the Last Play at Shea Concert marking the final event at New York’s Shea Stadium in Queens. Pete continues to sing and play guitar and is sought after as a consummate professional in the music industry.