KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Thirty Year Thursday – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS “FORE”

[Welcome to Thirty Year Thursday, the weekly series on my favorite albums of 1986]

Artist: HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
Album: FORE

Huey Lewis And The News - ForeIt’s no secret that I’ve loved the music of Huey Lewis And The News for a long time, and they’ve been featured twice here at KamerTunesBlog: in my No Guilt, Just Pleasure post and in the Great Out Of The Gate series about my favorite debut albums. In those posts I’ve said things like: “Huey Lewis is as strong a singer & frontman as anyone from their era or beyond” with a voice that’s “somehow rough-as-sandpaper and smooth-as-honey at the same time,” “they have to be one of the best vocal bands of their (or any) era” and “they’re all world-class musicians, songwriters & arrangers.” Clearly I’m an unapologetic fan. I’ve always felt they haven’t received the recognition they deserve from critics & musical tastemakers, but that doesn’t matter to their dedicated legion of fans. Even hard rockers who have dismissed them are probably unaware of Huey’s connection to Thin Lizzy, having appeared on their legendary Live And Dangerous LP. He was also a longtime friend of Thin Lizzy singer/bassist/songwriter Phil Lynott, dating back to Huey’s previous band Clover.

Following up their 1983 breakthrough, the multiplatinum Sports, was never going to be an easy task, so they waited three years before unleashing their fourth album, the cleverly titled Fore. Like its predecessor, Fore topped the charts and contained multiple Top 10 hits. The bouncy pop nugget “Stuck With You” was the perfect choice for lead-off single and went straight to #1, while its follow-up, “Hip To Be Square,” was nearly as successful. The former is a perfect late-summer song, augmented by a memorable promo video that could only have been successful in the ‘80s, while the latter is just plain goofy fun. They’re also examples of why the band may not be taken seriously, but since when did music have to be serious to be good? Bruce Hornsby Huey Lewis And The News Photo 1986& his brother John co-wrote album opener “Jacob’s Ladder,” a melodic rocker with lyrics critical of TV evangelists that also topped the charts. Hornsby recorded his own version two years later. “Whole Lotta Lovin’” never fails to make me smile, as Huey eagerly (and humorously) awaits his lover’s return: “Late last night I read the letter you sent, woke up this morning under a tent.” The Tower Of Power horn section shines on several tracks, including the aforementioned “Hip To Be Square,” album closer “Simple As That” and the last Top 10 single from the album, “Doin’ It All For My Baby.” I was fortunate to perform that song with my college band and our 5-piece horn section and it’s long been a personal favorite. The horn chart, rhythm section and Huey’s voice are all spectacular. “Forest For The Trees” is uplifting & inspirational without being cloying, while the a capella nugget “Naturally” is undisputed evidence of the band’s vocal prowess. The only thing that could have improved this album was the inclusion of “The Power Of Love” from the previous year’s Back To The Future movie & soundtrack. Some later CD reissues did just that, even inserting it into the middle of the record. Huey Lewis And The News might be forever tied to the ‘80s in the eyes of many fans but, to my ears, their music is timeless and I can’t believe 30 years have gone by since I bought Fore on the day it was released.

Here’s a live medley of “Whole Lotta Lovin’” and Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” from 1989, followed by a couple of my favorite songs from the album, including the extended  Frankenstein-inspired video for “Doin’ It All For My Baby.” Skip to 3:38 if you just want to hear the music.

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21 comments on “Thirty Year Thursday – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS “FORE”

  1. Jeff Kempin
    May 12, 2016

    Eh, I don’t know about Huey Lewis. But you know what? They did make some great, catchy pop songs. I like the Picture This and Sports albums pretty well. I guess I lost touch with them after that. Nowadays, four years between albums is considered normal. Back then, artists put something out every year, or, in the case of someone as prolific as Prince, more often than that, like, every 6-10 months.
    But back in ’86, waiting four years for the next album by your favorite artists was an eternity and left the door open for so many other great bands to steal your attention and money.
    I see Huey Lewis and the News as the bar band that made good. THere’s nothing fancy about them, they are who they are and that’s okay. Not every band has to release a Grand Artistic Statement, sometimes you want bands that can make songs that sound good in your car, played loud while driving fast. I think HL & tN fit that bill nicely.
    Great job Rich!

    Like

    • I’ve often heard them described as a “bar band that made good” but as someone who’s seen…and played in…numerous bar bands I can say that very few bands have that combination of talent. Their chops…instrumental, vocal and songwriting…are world-class.

      I’m glad you can appreciate their music even if you’re not a big fan

      Like

  2. J.
    May 12, 2016

    I’ll be honest, I’ve always scanned any albums I’ve seen for The Power Of Love before having a look at the cover for a few minutes before putting the record back in the rack.

    I know now that (a) looking for that track is pointless on my format of choice, and (b) it’s worth picking up whichever album I see regardless. Particularly this one! Cheers, Rich!

    Like

  3. stephen1001
    May 12, 2016

    I hadn’t known about that Thin Lizzy connection, neat!
    I’m among the masses who associate him with Back to the Future (and quit differently with American Psycho). I’ll keep an eye out for this – after your post about the bridge, I picked it up for $1 at a local used shop, definitely a good return on investment!

    Like

    • I thought about mentioning the American Psycho reference but the post was already too wordy. I really think Huey and the boys deserve a lot more recognition, and I think many rock fans would enjoy their music, especially the first few albums. Hope you find another good “investment” disc on the same level as “The Bridge.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. keepsmealive
    May 12, 2016

    I usually read but rarely comment (and always feel guilty because I SHOULD be commenting! I gotta get on that) but for huey I will absolutely pop in and give him the big thumbs up. This albums (and Sports) were SO formative to me, as a kid. We had all the tapes, and we played the hell outta them.

    Right on, Rich. Right on, indeed!

    Like

    • I’m the same way with commenting so no worries. I’m always lurking and reading, and I’ll chime in when I have something I HAVE TO share. Glad we’re in agreement about Huey and the boys.

      Like

  5. keepsmealive
    May 12, 2016

    Also, I can still sing all of Naturally, from memory, at the drop of a hat. You wouldn’t wanna hear it, but I can do it!

    Like

  6. 1537
    May 13, 2016

    Nice write up Rich. This is pure essence of 80s to me.

    Like

    • Thanks. Not sure if you consider “pure essence of 80s” a good thing but I have no problem with that assessment…even though I think their sound is timeless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1537
        May 16, 2016

        I did mean that in a good way then – it’s just good, easy music.

        Like

      • I like that…”good easy music.” Of course, it sounds “easy” but it takes some talented people to sound as good as they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Vinyl Connection
    May 13, 2016

    ‘Jacob’s ladder’ is one of my favourite songs from the 80s. Didn’t know Huey recorded it before Bruce. Sehr interesant!

    Like

    • I’m always pleased when something from this series cracks through your hard candy shell, Bruce. This one surprises me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vinyl Connection
        May 14, 2016

        So should I fess up that although I’m not a fan of the pure pop stuff, I have great big soft spot for ‘Workin’ for a living’ which I think was on the first album?

        Like

      • Nice ‘fessing, Bruce. I’m sure it feels good to get that off your chest. “Workin’ For A Livin'” was on their sophomore album, Picture This. Their self-titled debut album should be more highly regarded by fans of late-’70s/early-’80s New Wave but it didn’t have any hits (other than “Trouble In Paradise” which later became a hit via the live version on the We Are The World album).

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Forty Year Friday – CLOVER “LOVE ON THE WIRE” | KamerTunesBlog

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