Huey Lewis and the News - Sports
Every so often an artist or band comes along who are massive in the US but not the UK (e.g. Bush or Hootie & the Blowfish) or vice versa (e.g. Robbie Williams or The Stone Roses). Back in the 80’s there was Huey Lewis and the News. Huge in the States, their third album Sports went to number one and seven times platinum, as well as producing four top ten singles. In the UK one single at no. 39, and the album at no. 23 is as good as it got. Their easy going blue collar appeal in the US hadn’t yet transfixed us on this side of the pond; the follow-up Fore! was a slightly bigger hit on these shores - maybe thirty years on is a good time to re-appraise it’s predecessor.
Despite it’s slightly cheesy beating heart intro ‘The Heart Of Rock And Roll’ waves the flag for proper rock 'n' roll. Set against the backdrop of the rise of New Romantics as it was back in 1983, only the jazz solo really dates it. The one night stand eulogising ‘Heart and Soul’ is the first of a slew of bittersweet love songs. In ‘Bad Is Bad’ Huey’s cheated on, and in the one song you might recognise on this newly remastered 30th anniversary edition of the album, ‘If This Is It’, Huey finds that love’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The central triple hit of eighties-ness are a step back in time, ‘I Want A New Drug’ sounds like something from the Ghostbusters soundtrack, ‘Walking On A Thin Line’ kicks off with a shimmering bass synth turned up to eleven, and there’s a track like ‘Finally Found A Home’ on every rock album produced between 1982 and 1989. ‘Honky Tonk Blues’ wraps things up in a style fitting for a band with a background in blues and jazz-funk. One of the under-rated bands of the 80’s, there’s a genuine likeability to Huey and his News. Sports is a great place to start if you want to experience one of the lesser known gems of American 80’s rock.
*There’s a second disc included with the same nine tracks performed faithfully live on tour.