When I heard that Huey Lewis had cut his own remake of “We Are the World” for Jimmy Kimmel — which I have to say was pretty darn funny — I remembered those good old days of the ’80s when he and his News could do almost no wrong.
Do you realize that, of the 38 singles they released during their career, they had 12 Number Ones? That’s a far cry from the likes of Madonna and Elton John and the Beatles (who all come in with 2 dozen or more), but that’s no bad for the grandchild of the man who invented cheese wax.
Though the 1970s were mildly kind to Lewis — his band Clover opened for Nick Lowe and he played harp on a Thin Lizzy record — it wasn’t until 1982 that his big break came with Do You Believe In Love, a Mutt Lange tune from Picture This that reached #13 on the Billboard chart.
Even though the next two singles from Picture This — “Workin’ for a Livin’” and “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do” — were not quite smash follow-ups, the table was set. From 1983s Heart and Soul through 1988s Perfect World, Huey Lewis and the News released 12 singles, eleven of which reached the Top 10.
Going back to these songs is like going back to big hair and, well, more bigger hair. Stuff like “Do You Believe in Love” and “Hip to Square” sound dated because they built around the sound of the day; that is, syndrums and synthesizers. (But, truth be told, “Dancing in the Dark” sounds dated, too…).
But, looking past their antique production qualities (yes, at 25 years old they’re considered antiques), the fact is that Huey Lewis and The News were top notch pop songwriters. Their music was popular because within the realm of pop music they wrote good songs. And, like it or not, if you listen to a few, they’ll get stuck in you head. Exactly as they’re supposed to do.
Original post: WNEW, March 1, 2010