If you’ve seen American Psycho, you probably remember this scene, where Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) discusses the music of Huey Lewis and the News with Paul Allen (Jared Leto) before butchering his guest with an axe. (If you’ve never seen the movie, I’ll warn you, this is a very violent scene with plenty of swearing.)
Despite the violence of the scene, Patrick Bateman does make a good point about Huey Lewis and the News. After two so-so albums in the early 1980’s, they put it all together with 1983’s Sports album (reissued last year as a 30th anniversary edition). It was a commercial and artistic success, going seven times Platinum in the US, Gold in the UK, and Diamond in Canada, reached #1 in the US, and produced five singles, four of which reached the Top 10. The follow-up, 1986’s Fore!, went three times Platinum in the US and Canada and twice Platinum in the UK, also reached #1 in the US, and produced seven singles, two of which reached #1 and four reaching the Top 10. In between, they contributed two songs to the Back to the Future soundtrack; one, “The Power of Love,” reached #1 in the US. Rhythm guitarist Johnny Colla said in an interview that the band has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. While they haven’t produced the same buzz as they did in the mid-1980’s, they’re still active, touring and releasing albums every few years. In fact, their website tells me that they played a show in Rapid City, South Dakota (home of Mount Rushmore) last night, and will be playing a show in Beaver Creek, Colorado tomorrow night.
I chose a song from each of their two biggest albums, but went out of my way to choose songs that weren’t big hits. First, from Sports, here is “Bad is Bad,” which wasn’t issued as a single.
Second, from Fore!, here is “Simple as That.” As a single, it reached #47 in Switzerland, but didn’t chart in the US.
Their music is well-represented on YouTube, if you’re interested in hearing more. I highly recommend the 30th anniversary version of the Sports album, which has been remastered and includes live versions of all the songs on the album.
Huey Lewis and the News, your Two for Tuesday, August 19, 2014.