Tag Archives: Fore!

Rocks In The Attic #628: Huey Lewis & The News – ‘Huey Lewis & The News’ (1980)

RITA#628Before Huey Lewis and his band struck the big time with the Sports and Fore! albums, they were just another band struggling to get noticed. Neither this debut album or its two singles – Some Of My Lies Are True (Sooner Or Later) and Now Here’s You – charted, and with a result like that it’s a blessing that they got a second chance.

Many other bands – thousands in fact – would have fallen by the wayside, its players moving on to more promising ventures. Not only did Chrysalis Record give Huey Lewis & The News another shot, the band also managed to (alongside Bob Brown) self-produce their second album, Picture This, a decision that surely couldn’t have been taken lightly at Chrysalis. The risk paid off, and the band was allowed to mature into the ‘80s chart-toppers they are now remembered as.

It wasn’t an easy road though. Lewis and keyboard player Sean Hopper first joined Clover, the band that, without Lewis, went on to become Elvis Costello’s backing band on his 1977 debut, My Aim Is True. In the resulting fallout, Lewis and Hopper created a new band, enlisting players from Clover’s rival San Fransisco band, Soundhole. With guitarist Johnny Colla, bassist Mario Cipollina and drummer Bill Gibson on board, the band – initially named Huey Lewis & The American Express – signed with Phonogram in 1978 on a singles-only contract.

A year later, they brought another guitarist – Chris Hayes – into the fold and signed with Chrysalis Records. Not surprisingly, Chrysalis didn’t care for the name of the band, fearing litigation from the credit card provider, and so the name was changed to Huey Lewis & The News. Ironically, American Express credit cards would probably have loved the free publicity a few years later when Fore! struck gold.

The debut record is full of energy, and has a New Wave tinge that is missing on their later albums. The soulful backing vocals are there though, and if anything the record suffers from a lack of strong material and a rock-by-numbers production.

Hit: Some Of My Lies Are True (Sooner Or Later)

Hidden Gem: Don’t Make Me Do It

Rocks In The Attic #329: Huey Lewis & The News – ‘Fore!’ (1986)

RITA#329A definite guilty pleasure, this is the first album I ever remember owning. I doubt we actually owned a copy though, we probably borrowed the LP from the library and taped it. Thank you Oldham libraries. Still, it’s the first record I remember playing over and over. Passion for the album undoubtedly came from the inclusion of The Power Of Love from the soundtrack to the first Back To The Future film. Strangely, the track was only added to the European and Japanese releases of the album, which means that in their native country the album had to stand up on its own merits.

I remember getting a lot of stick for liking Huey Lewis & The News at the time. They weren’t cool, and that doesn’t seem to have changed over time. There’s a great reference to the band in an episode of the overlooked sitcom Up All Night (with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett) where they try and impress a recently moved-in neighbour couple. When Will Arnett’s character attends their house-warming party dressed in a Huey Lewis t-shirt, he crumbles under questioning from his wife as to whether he’s wearing the t-shirt to be ironic or not. Man, I would love a Huey Lewis t-shirt – and not to wear ironically.

Obviously the other film to feature a song from this album is American Psycho, with Hip To Be Square used to soundtrack one of Patrick Bateman’s murders. In the excellent novel by Bret Easton Ellis, a whole chapter is devoted to the merits of Huey Lewis & The News (similar chapters are devoted to Whitney Houston and Phil Collins). The disappointing film adaptation does little to capture the wit of the novel, and Bateman’s short monologue about Huey Lewis is the only concession to these bizarre chapters amongst Bateman’s obsession with ‘80s fashion and the aesthetics of business cards.

The Power Of Love is one of those movie soundtracks songs from the ‘80s that I don’t think I will ever get bored of (it doesn’t hurt that Back To The Future is such a strong film). I guess when you think about it, it’s strange that the song chosen to musically represent the film’s protagonist espouses the virtues of love, while the film ends on such a materialistic note (which would have been far worse if Crispin Glover’s claims are anything to go by). Marty’s return to Jennifer, and subsequent kiss, almost seem to take second-billing to the revelation that Marty’s father is now a successful author and can afford to buy Marty a brand-new pickup truck. The sequel’s convoluted storyline takes this a cynical step forward with Marty attempting to use time-travel to win sports bets for monetary gain.

Or maybe you shouldn’t think too hard about ‘80s films…

Hit: The Power Of Love

Hidden Gem: Naturally