Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Huey Lewis and the News

Heart And Sole

If This Is It

Huey Lewis & the News is a Grammy winning and Academy Award nominated US rock band based in San Francisco, California. Their greatest success was in the 1980s, when they were one of the most popular music acts of the decade. The band is known for writing simple, light-hearted songs from a working-class perspective and typically appealed to yuppies and baby boomers. Combining a rock (and sometimes, a "blues-rock") backing with harmony vocals and Lewis's voice, Huey Lewis & the News had numerous hit songs during the 1980s and early 1990s, including "The Power of Love", "I Want a New Drug", "Doin' it All (For my Baby)", "Do You Believe in Love?" "Hip to Be Square", "Stuck With You", and "Jacob's Ladder".

In 1972, singer/harmonica player Huey Lewis, and keyboardist Sean Hopper joined the Bay Area jazz-funk band Clover. Clover would record several albums in the 1970s, and in the middle of the decade transplanted themselves to England to become part of the UK pub rock scene for a time. Without Lewis (but with Hopper), they eventually became the original backing band for Elvis Costello's first album "My Aim Is True". The band returned to the Bay Area by the end of the 1970s.

Clover's main competition in the Bay Area jazz-funk scene was a band called Soundhole, whose members included drummer Bill Gibson, saxophonist/guitarist Johnny Colla, and bassist Mario Cipollina (younger brother of John Cipollina). Like Clover, Soundhole had spent time backing a famous singer, Van Morrison. After getting a singles contract from Phonogram Records in 1979, Huey Lewis united his former band mate and three of his former rivals to form a new group, American Express. They released a single "Exo-Disco" (a disco version of the theme from the film Exodus) that was largely ignored. In 1980, the band would woo guitarist Chris Hayes and move to Chrysalis Records. After the credit card organization American Express complained, they changed their name to Huey Lewis & the News.

Later in 1980, the band issued their first album, a self-titled LP. It went largely unnoticed. However, in 1982, the band released their second album, the self-produced Picture This. Shortly thereafter the album turned gold, fueled by the breakout success of hit single "Do You Believe in Love", written by former Clover producer Mutt Lange. Largely because of the single, the album remained on the Billboard charts for 35 weeks and peaked at #13. Several other singles from Picture This followed with only limited success.

Due to record label delays on the release of their third album Sports, Huey Lewis & the News was back to square one in late 1983, touring small clubs in a bus to promote the record. It initially hit #6 in the U.S. when first released. However, the album slowly became a number-one hit in 1984 and multi-platinum success in 1985, thanks to the band's frequent touring and a series of clever, funny videos that received heavy MTV airplay. Four singles from the album would reach the Billboard Top Ten:, "I Want a New Drug", "The Heart of Rock & Roll", and the above two videos "Heart and Soul" and "If This Is It".

Their song "The Power Of Love" was a number-one U.S. hit and featured in the 1985 film Back to the Future, with which they also recorded the theme song "Back In Time". Huey Lewis has a cameo appearance in the film as the teacher who rejects Marty McFly's band's audition for the school's "Battle of the Bands" contest—ironically, the piece the band plays is an instrumental version of "The Power of Love". "The Power of Love" was also nominated for an Academy Award.

Huey Lewis & the News continues to tour to this day; however, the lineup has changed significantly since the band's heyday. Mario Cipollina left the band shortly after 1994's Four Chords and Several Years Ago album and tour. His replacement since that time has been bassist John Pierce. The Tower of Power, which served as the band's horn section from the early 80's, also ceased their work with the band in 1994. Marvin McFadden, Ron Stallings, and Rob Sudduth have joined the group in their place. In early 2000, Chris Hayes decided to leave "The News" to spend more time with his growing family, though he performed on their 2001 album "Plan B," as much of it had been laid out before he left. Afterwards, Stef Burns replaced him, although guitarist Tal Morris has also filled in when Stef has had to leave due to other commitments. Chris has occasionally appeared with the band when playing in the San Francisco Bay Area and is known to play some shows with other performers and friends in the San Francisco area.

The most recent album of Huey Lewis & the News is 2005's Live At 25, a live recording of a December 2004 concert at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA. Drummer Bill Gibson (on the band's message board) and Huey Lewis (in 2006 interviews) have both stated that a new album is in the works, but there's been no mention of a potential release date. Work was expected to begin in early-2006 after Lewis finished his performance in the stage musical Chicago.

In the summer of 2006, the band co-headlined a US tour with Chicago. Highlights of the tour included Chicago's Bill Champlin playing with the band, and members of Huey Lewis & the News playing on Chicago's percussion-laden hit, "I'm A Man." Huey Lewis also sang the lead on Chicago's "Colour My World."

Huey Lewis and The News members
Original News
Huey Lewis - vocals, harmonica
Sean Hopper - (born Sean Thomas Hopper, 31 March 1953, in San Francisco, California) - keyboards / vocals (1979 onwards)
Bill Gibson - (born William Scott Gibson, 13 November 1951, in Sacramento, California) - drums / vocals (1979 onwards)
Johnny Colla - (born John Victor Colla, 2 July 1952, in Sacramento, California) - saxophone / guitar / vocals (1979 onwards)
Mario Cipollina - (born 10 November 1954, in San Rafael, California) - bass (1979-1995)
Chris Hayes- (born Christopher John Hayes, 24 November 1957, in Sacramento, California) - guitar / vocals (1980-2001)
The Tower of Power - horn section (1982-1994)

Newer News
John Pierce - bass (1996-)
Stef Burns - guitar / vocals (2001-)
Tal Morris - guitar / vocals (occasional fill-in)
Marvin McFadden - trumpet (1994-)
Ron Stallings - saxophone (1994-)
Rob Sudduth - saxophone (1994-)

Huey Lewis & the News (1980)
Picture This (1982) #13 US
Sports (1983) #1 US
Back to the Future Soundtrack (1985)
Fore! (1986) #1 US
Small World (1988) #11 US
Hard at Play (1991) #27 US
The Heart Of Rock & Roll - The Best Of Huey Lewis And The News (1992)
Four Chords & Several Years Ago (1994) #55 US
Time Flies: The Best Of Huey Lewis And The News (1996) #185 US
Plan B (2001) #165 US
Live At 25 (2005)
Greatest Hits (2006) #70 US

All told Huey Lewis and the News has scored 19 top ten hits over Billboards Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Mainstream Rock Charts:
"Some Of My Lies Are True (Sooner Or Later)" (1980)
"Now Here's You" (1980)
"Do You Believe In Love" (1982) #7 US
"Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do" (1982) #36 US
"Workin' For A Livin'" (1982) #41 US
"Heart And Soul" (1983) #8 US, #61 UK
"I Want A New Drug" (1984) #6 US
"The Heart Of Rock 'N Roll" (1984) #6 US, #78 UK, #49 UK (re-release)
"If This Is It" (1984) #6 US, #39 UK
"Walking On A Thin Line" (1984) #18 US
"The Power Of Love" (1985) #1 US - 2 weeks, #9 UK
"Back In Time" (1985) #3 US Mainstream Rock Chart only
"Stuck With You" (1986) #1 US - 3 weeks, #12 UK
"Hip To Be Square" (1986) #3 US, #41 UK
"Jacob's Ladder" (1987) #1 US - 1 week
"Simple As That" (1987) #47 UK
"I Know What I Like" (1987) #9 US
"Doin' It (All For My Baby)" (1987) #6 US, #93 UK
"Perfect World" (1988) #3 US, #48 UK
"Small World" (1988) #25 US
"World To Me" (1988) #84 UK
"Give Me The Keys" (1989) #47 US
"Walking With The Kid" (1989) #98 UK
"Couple Days Off" (1991) #11 US
"It Hit Me Like A Hammer" (1991) #21 US
"He Don't Know" (1991)
"It's Alright"(acapella) (1993) #6 US Adult Contemporary Chart only
"Some Kind Of Wonderful" (1994) #44 US
"But It's Alright" (1994) #54 US
"100 Years From Now" (1996) #10 US Adult Contemporary Chart only
"Let Her Go and Start Over (2001) #23 US Adult Contemporary Chart only
"I'm Not In love Yet (But I'm Working On It)" (2001)

The single "Hip to Be Square" was covered and altered by the long-running children's program Sesame Street. The chorus ran "Hip to Be a Square" and taught the children about different basic shapes.

The single "Hip To Be Square" was featured in a memorable scene from the film American Psycho (2000) in which the character Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale, plays the song while rambling on about the band and murders a business acquaintance at the same time.
The song "I Want a New Drug" was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "I Want a New Duck".

External links
A Huey Lewis and the News fanpage

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