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    Fun Size Trending Topics September 23, 2021. His Name? St. Dangerous Of Course CD929

We all want to keep up with the latest and greatest music news. But sometimes, it’s great to look back on all of the fantastic (and not-so-fantastic) events in music that got us to where we are now.

Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?

That question is ingrained in the minds of millennials, as well as anyone else who saw American Psycho. These days, it seems like Huey Lewis and the News don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve, but in the mid-to-late 80s, they were unstoppable. 39 years ago today, their seminal album Sports finally went #1, months after its 1983 release.

Patrick Bateman in American Psycho describes their work prior to Sports as “a little too new wave for my tastes.” Their early work had a number of musical components including (but never limited to) new wave. Nowadays, the sound of Huey Lewis and the News is considered pure ’80s pop, but at the time was less easily defined by a single genre. And for good reason.

The roots of Huey Lewis and the News date back to 1972, when Huey Lewis and future News keyboardist Sean Hopper joined the band Clover, a jazz-funk or country rock band with a closer resemblance to Van Morrison than their later band. Early members of the band had served as the backing band for Van Morrison. Clover was a vehicle for several artists who would become more famous in later groups or on their own. Lucinda Williams was in the band, as was John McFee of the Doobie Brothers, and Jeff Porcaro, future drummer for Toto. Without Huey Lewis himself, Clover acted as the band for Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True record (uncredited for contractual reasons), an album that is considered to be new wave, power pop, or even punk rock. Clover opened for bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy. Huey Lewis even worked with Thin Lizzy during the Clover years.

Clover disbanded in 1978 and Lewis and Hopper formed Huey Lewis and the American Express with members of another band who had backed Van Morrison, Soundhole. The band were simply called “American Express” on their only official release, a disco track backed with a new version of a Clover song. The record company was afraid the name “American Express” might bring a lawsuit from the credit card company and insisted the band change their name.

The first Huey Lewis and the News album was self-titled and bore some resemblance to The Cars mixed with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The second album sold a bit better than the first and landed them a top-ten hit.

An American Psycho Publicity Stunt Made Huey Lewis Never Want To See The MovieAt the risk of quoting Patrick Bateman yet again, the band really “came into their own” on Sports. Their sound was confident and scored them five top-twenty hits. True to their roots, however, the band didn’t just chart as rock, but also as hot dance/disco and adult contemporary music.

Due to their success, Huey Lewis and the news were even asked to work on the title track for an upcoming blockbuster starring several SNL alums. They turned down the opportunity, but “I Want a New Drug” was still used as a temp track for the film, leading the actual composer, Ray Parker Jr., to write an uncannily similar song for “Ghostbusters.”

The recording of Sports wasn’t taken lightly. The band worked hard on the track listing, on creating specific sounds. The band produced the album themselves after their manager decided the sound on their demos was superior to that of the producers they had in mind. The vision for the album included the melding of old and new recording techniques as they did on the final album.

Sports combined everything the band had learned and worked on leading up to it. There are strong blues influences across the album. They cover a Hank Williams song. They play an old Clover song. “Walking on a Thin Line” and “You Crack Me Up” dip their toes into synthpop. In a way, Sports is one of the albums that best summed up popular music in the ’80s. It was a confusing time in which new genres were constantly emerging as new technologies were being discovered and as artists combined them with the widening array of existing genres that sprung up through the late ’60s and ’70s.

Only five albums hit number 1 in 1984, and the competition was fierce. Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen, Thriller by Michael Jackson, Purple Rain by Prince, and the unstoppable Footloose soundtrack were the only others. However, the only album that sold more copies than Sports in 1984 was Thriller (yet I don’t see Huey Lewis and the News selling out stadiums like Springsteen!). Sports hit the top forty in many other countries as well, including Canada, The United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, and New Zealand.

Today, on the anniversary of its rise to #1, I implore you: give Sports a chance.


Just Emma (


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Sep 27 2023 - Oct 01 2023
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Written by: Emma Sedam

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