Any compilation of the music of the ’80s would be woefully incomplete without the inclusion of Huey Lewis and the News. They were everywhere from the Back to the Future soundtrack to the novel (and later the film) American Psycho.
“Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?” asks the novels serial-murdering Patrick Bateman. “Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor… In ’87, Huey released Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.” And then he brutally murders a guy.
But, that doesn’t make him wrong. That’s what we now call a “hot take.”
Songs like “Do You Believe in Love,” “If This Is It,” and “Stuck With You” were all throwbacks to a more simpler time when they were released, invoking nostalgia for the 1950s. Now, they’re on their own nostalgia tour selling the songs of the now innocent years of the 1980s.
Huey Lewis and the News have stood the test of time, still touring decades later—in part because they’ve embraced who they are. They’re a little hokey, they’re a lot wholesome compared to today’s pop acts and they’re a little slice of the ’80s—a time when our biggest concerns were The Cold War, The War on Drugs and if Sam and Diane were ever going to make a go of it.
Huey Lewis and the News play the Eccles Theater Thursday, October 19. Tickets are still available here.