Band Review: Huey Lewis and the News

My first real memory of Huey Lewis and The News is seeing the video for “If This is It” on MTV back in the mid-1980s.  I was about nine or ten years old then, and I remember thinking the video was rather funny, and that the song was pretty good.  But the song that ultimately sold me on them was “The Power Of Love” from the film Back to the Future.  There was just something about the sound of the song that just grabbed me, and “The Power Of Love” still ranks as my all-time favorite song by Huey Lewis and The News.  After that, I started getting exposure to the material that was released prior to “If This is It.”  Among my favorites from that material are “Workin’ for a Livin’,” “Do You Believe in Love,” The Heart of Rock & Roll,” and “I Want a New Drug.”

1986 brought about the Fore! album, where they continued to primarily produce comedic videos to go along with the music.  My favorite songs from the album are “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Doing it All for My Baby,” and “Hip to be Square.”  My most vivid memory of this era is seeing the video for “Doing it All for My Baby” on MTV; this is the one that featured that haunted house, and Huey Lewis portraying a couple of roles as the mad scientist and as the scientist’s creation.

In 1988, the band released the Small World album.  My favorite song off of this one would be “Perfect World.” After this single, they released the title song and “Give Me the Keys (And I’ll Drive You Crazy).”  To me, this album wasn’t as strong as their previous releases; and this is also the era that began the band’s decline in mainstream popularity.

In 1991, Huey Lewis & The News released the album Hard at Play.  The lead-off single, “Couple Days Off,” grabbed me instantly, and it also performed decently on the charts.  This was followed up with “It Hit Me Like a Hammer”; while not one of their stronger songs, I kind of liked it.  This single also started to mark the beginning of the end of my interest in following them.

The last material I ever heard from the band were the songs “It’s Alright,” which was from a 1993 tribute album to Curtis Mayfield, and “But It’s Alright,” from their 1994 album, Four Chords & Several Years Ago.  To me, these songs lacked the sound that made the band’s earlier material so enjoyable.

Overall, I feel that Huey Lewis and The News hit their peak during the mid-1980s.  While the material after that point isn’t bad and I do enjoy listening to it, I find that most of the later songs just don’t have the strength of the earlier releases.

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