Before 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