Rock Flashback: Huey Lewis and the News

The artists we revere the most tend to be the most serious ones. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bob Dylan[/lastfm], poet of a generation. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimi Hendrix[/lastfm], guitar god. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]John Lennon[/lastfm], philosopher. There’s nothing wrong with that. Being taken seriously is something we all crave.

But sometimes we take seriousness too seriously. I rise here today to pay tribute to a band that almost never took itself seriously — a group of guys who seemed to be having a good time all the time, and as a result, provided fans with the same thing.

San Francisco’s [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Huey Lewis and the News[/lastfm] blasted into our lives early in 1982 with a perfect radio single, “Do You Believe in Love?” But it would take over a year before they became an inescapable presence. The album Sports, released late in 1983, produced five hit singles: for 71 straight weeks between September 1983 and January 1985, the band was in the Hot 100. In the summer of 1985, “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future became their first #1 single.

In the late summer of 1986, expectations were high for the band’s new album. Fore! was officially released on the day its lead single, “Stuck With You,” hit #1 in Billboard. Like Sports, it would produce five big singles (and a second #1, “Jacob’s Ladder,” and 64 straight weeks of Hot 100 singles), but it would sell less than half as many copies, run the Billboard album chart less than half as long, and end up a lot less memorable.

Despite the ubiquity of both Sports and Fore!, each one spent only a single week atop the album chart. Fore! reached the summit 25 years ago this week. “Doing It All for My Baby,” the distilled essence of the band’s sound, ran the singles charts in the late summer of 1987. Its video is quintessentially ’80s, featuring a live-action playlet before the song begins, in which the band finds itself in a mad scientist’s castle, and it ends with a nice little self-deprecating punchline.

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