KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS “HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS”

Huey Lewis & The News have never been “cool” but they’ve always been awesome, and during their ’80s heyday they were immensely popular, racking up more than a dozen Top 10 hit singles and a handful of Platinum & Multi-Platinum albums. Hipsters always thought they were square (in spite of the fact that it’s actually hip to be so), and they were too “pop” for rock fans, but I’m a rock fan & I’ve made no secret of my love for Huey Lewis & The News. I first mentioned it in my No Guilt, Just Pleasure post in 2015, and their fourth album was featured a year later in my Thirty Year Thursday series. They formed from the ashes of Clover, who backed Elvis Costello on his debut album and also appeared in my Forty Year Friday series. Their eponymous 1980 debut is usually overlooked, even by many HLN fans, but all the elements that made them superstars a few years later…catchy melodies, tight harmonies, great musicianship and Huey’s inimitable vocals…are on full display.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.

 

 

From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 5:

Huey Lewis & his group of musical cohorts have never gotten the respect they deserve, possibly because of their meteoric rise with third album Sports, the good-natured vibe of their music & videos and Huey’s “everyman” quality. Sure, they’ve never been “cool” or “edgy,” key components for critics & music snobs, but they’re all world-class musicians, songwriters & arrangers (and, after this debut album, they produced their own records) and Huey Lewis is as strong a singer & frontman as anyone from their era or beyond. The hit singles would start showing up on their next album, but most of the elements that made them so popular a few years later were already on display. “Trouble In Paradise” is likely the best-known song here thanks to a live version that appeared on the U.S.A. For Africa We Are The World album in 1985. Throughout the record they combine elements of doo-wop, classic rock ‘n’ roll and soul/R&B with a then-current new wave sensibility, driving rhythms and herky-jerky arrangements. They were likely too modern for traditionalists and too traditional for youngsters, stranding them in no-man’s land in spite of winners like “Some Of My Lies Are True (Sooner Or Later),” “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me,” “Don’t Make Me Do It,” “Stop Trying” and “If You Really Love Me You’ll Let Me.” I know I won’t convince skeptics or haters to give Huey & the boys a chance, but if you like their later material and never heard anything prior to Sports consider this a hearty recommendation for their debut and its follow up, Picture This.

 

 

If you’re a fellow Huey Lewis & The News fan, were you already familiar with this album? If so, do you like it as much as the ones that followed? Even if you’ve always dismissed them based on their ubiquitous ’80s radio hits, maybe you’ll find something to like here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this record. I know I can’t be the only one who loves it.

19 comments on “Satur-debut – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS “HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS”

  1. bobfolgerjr
    September 28, 2019

    Huey and the band are the best. Top notch, class act people who are very down to earth. Hopefully, some day Huey will obtain his hearing again.

    Also, they should be in the Rock and Roll – Hall of Fame

    Like

    • Thanks for your feedback, Bob. I’m also hoping that Huey’s hearing issues clear up, at least enough for him to sing again. I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been for him…and the whole band. So glad they’ll finally be releasing the songs they’ve recorded over the last decade. The first one, which they premiered this past week, has the classic HLN sound. As for the R&R HoF, that place lost all credibility a long time ago. Of course HLN are deserving of the recognition but I don’t think they care about it.

      Like

  2. 80smetalman
    September 28, 2019

    My first experience of Huey Lewis and the News was their 1983 “Sports” album. Like many metalheads, I thought they were a top 40 band until I saw them open for 38 Special. I was impressed.

    Like

    • Sports was also my introduction to them, although I think I knew a few of their earlier songs by that time. They are all kick-ass musicians and their music has stood the test of time. I’m glad you came away impressed by them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. deKE
    September 28, 2019

    Love Huey as he put the L in Laidback. What a career this man and band has had.
    They may have never been cool but they have always been Hip in my world.
    Great stuff and cool discovery as I first really got into them when Sports came out as well!

    Like

  4. stephen1001
    September 29, 2019

    I was just thinking of his Back to the Future cameo earlier today – “I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud!”

    Like

  5. ‘Trouble In Paradise’ – fantastic track. Had never heard before, so thanks for the heads-up.

    Like

    • I think if they included “Trouble In Paradise” on a later album it would have been a hit. The live version from the USA For Africa album got a lot of airplay at the time so at least the song did eventually get some exposure. Glad you like it.

      Like

  6. Bill P
    October 1, 2019

    One of the things I like about your series is I get to revisit some of the lesser played items in my library. Each week I go about humming old favorites. This week, I was actually just reading a retrospective of SPORTS a day or so before I saw your post. I have just about all of HL&TN output and I enjoy them very much. Finally got to see them live a few years ago before Huey’s diagnosis.

    “Don’t Make Me Do It” sounds like it belongs on one of the many cheesy, campy late-70s, early 80s B-movie soundtracks to films directed by Roger Corman or released on Crown International Pictures that I love to watch. Not because the song is bad–far from it–just because it has that uptempo rock feel that would make a good SoCal beach action montage scene. “Now Here’s You” would also work but instead over a romantic day-out sort of scene with the film’s two lovers.

    The real gem for me here is “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me.” Great rocker that has elements of power pop & new wave. This whole album is a bit rawer than the later stuff but all the DNA is there.

    Like

    • Thanks Bill. I’m glad this series has helped you revisit some lesser-played gems. For the first five years of writing my blog I focused on complete catalogs of the lesser-played artists in my collection and it was a real eye-opener. Time constraints have forced me to change my focus here but I hope to get back to the original plan eventually. Knowing that these posts inspire others to revisit old favorites and overlooked albums makes me very happy.

      I love your cinematic descriptions of some of the songs on this album. Well done. And your last sentence sums up their debut perfectly: “a bit rawer than the later stuff but all the DNA is there.” Nicely done.

      Like

  7. Jim S.
    October 22, 2019

    This is weird but I literally just commented on another blogger’s site who also covered Huey. Not the debut but just an overall tribute. Yeah, I like these guys, hip square or whatever. Here’s what I said over there:

    I always liked these guys. Michelle who visits my site says they used to kick ass live more than they did on record. You can’t beat “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” Perfect tune to bop to. Also, “Workin’ for a Livin’” is a great one if you don’t know it. I featured it a while back. Also “I Want a New Drug,” and his duet with Gwyneth Paltrow, “Cruisin’” is pretty good. You doubtless know that Clover (minus Huey) was Elvis Costello’s backup band on his debut album. Damn. I have to go out tonight and it looks like there’s some Huey to listen to. Damn shame about his hearing especially for a musician. A guy in my son’s band has a similar problem which is why they call it Pray for Sound.

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on HLN, Jim. I agree with Michelle. I’ve seen them twice, in the late-’80s & early-’90s, and they are a kick-ass live band. All of them are incredibly talented musicians and their vocals are always spot-on. I discovered Clover a couple of decades ago thanks to my love of HLN, and even featured one of their albums in my series on my favorite releases of 1977 (which also included Elvis Costello’s debut). Most casual fans wouldn’t make a connection between those two artists since it’s not obvious.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        October 23, 2019

        No it is not obvious at all. I thought they did a damn fine job on the debut (listen to “Watching The Detectives,” right?) but by comparison they get trashed next to the Attractions. Since reading your and Christian’s posts I spent some time listening on Spotify. Amazing how their less well-known stuff is more 50-ish and doo-wop than I’d known. And their “Live at 25” kicks some serious ass.

        Like

      • I’m glad you’re enjoying some of the lesser-known HLN songs. There is definitely some ’50s & doo-wop in there, as well as classic soul, jazz & funk. I also love Live At 25, but if you can find some of their earlier live recordings (many on YouTube) with the original lineup you’ll be even more blown away. I know you’re a guitarist & you would really appreciate Chris Hayes’ contributions to their music.

        There are a few of your recent posts I’ve been meaning to comment on but keep getting distracted. Will get to them soon. Love your site.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        October 23, 2019

        Thanks for the tip on the earlier stuff. And the kudos on the site. Our talented staff aims to please.

        Like

      • Keep cracking the whip on your underlings to create more content. 😀

        Like

      • Jim S.
        October 23, 2019

        Lazy sons of bitches.

        Liked by 1 person

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