Formed in San Francisco, California, Huey Lewis and the News had several hits during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. They had a total of 19 singles that entered the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 charts and Mainstream Rock Charts. Their album “Sports” was their most successful record. The album includes the song “The Power of Love” which was featured in the famous 1980 film Back to the Future. That single was nominated in the Academy Awards and grabbed the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts.
Albums and Hit Songs
Throughout their successful career, Huey Lewis and the News released a total of nine studio albums and produced hit singles namely:
- Huey Lewis and the News (1980)
- Picture This (1982)
- Sports (1983)
- Fore! (1986)
- Small World (1988)
- Hard at Play (1991)
- Four Chords & Several Years Ago (1994)
- Plan B (2001)
- Soulsville (2010)
- The Power of Love
- The Heart of Rock and Roll
- Do You Believe in Love
- Hip to Be Square
- Stuck With You
- I Want a New Drug
- If This Is It
- Workin’ for a Livin’
Formation and History
In 1972 at the San Francisco Bay area, Harmonica player and singer Huey Lewis and Keyboardist Sean Hopper were part of a jazz-funk band named Clover. They recorded several albums within the 1970’s and eventually the band migrated to Britain and became a part of the UK pub rock scene. The band worked on an Elvis Costello’s album without Huey Lewis. Lewis ,on the other hand, was working with an Irish band named Thin Lizzy. Clover returned to San Francisco in the end of the 1970’s.
Clover had competition in the jazz-funk scene at the Bay Area with a band called Soundhole in the jazz-funk scene at the Bay Area. The band was composed of drummer Bill Gibson, rhythm guitarist/ saxophonist Johnny Colla, and Mario Cipollina on the bass. Soundhole got a record deal with Phonogram Records after doing back up for singer Van Morrison. Huey Lewis eventually joined Gibson, Colla, Hopper and Cipollina and called their new group Huey Lewis and the American Express.
They played gigs using the name but when they recorded and released their song “Exodisco” they were simply known as American Express. In 1979, Chris Hayes joined the band as the lead guitarist and they were signed by Chrysalis Records. The record deal happened after the band’s demo tape was heard by Bob Brown and he helped the band score a record deal. But Chrysalis Records didn’t like their name “American Express” because it is the same as the credit card company so the band changed their name into Huey Lewis and the News.
Huey Lewis and the News released their self-titled debut LP album in late 1980. Unfortunately it went unnoticed. By 1982, they released their second studio album entitled “Picture This”. The album had the single “Do You Believe in Love”. Picture This reached gold status in the US and remained on the Billboard top 200 charts for 35 weeks and reached as far as the 13th spot.
Their third studio album, “Sports” initially went to the sixth spot in the US Charts. Due to frequent touring and several videos playing on MTV, Sports slowly became a hit album in 1984 and by the next year, Sports received multi-platinum status. Sports reportedly has sold more than ten million copies in the United States alone.
In 1985, Huey Lewis and the News joined the all-star cast of the single “We Are The World” with Huey Lewis doing a solo vocal. They also released their hit song “The Power of Love” in 1985, the song was included in the soundtrack of the hit film “Back to the Future”. After this success, the band released their fourth studio album entitled “Fore!” in 1986. The album became a follow up success to Sports and it earned the number one spot o the Billboard 200 charts. Fore! had the hit singles “Stuck With You”, “Hip to be Square” and “Jacob’s Ladder”. The album contained five top ten singles that entered the Billboard Hot 100 and became a certified triple platinum album.
The band embarked on a tour in 1987 and released their album “Small World”, this album performed a bit weaker compared to the two previous ones and only reached a platinum status in the United States.
After completing their Small World tour in 1989, Huey Lewis and the News took a break from recording and touring and decided to end their contract with Chrysallis Records. They eventually signed with EMI Records in 1991. They released their album “Hard and Play” under the record label and went back to their R&B/rock genre just like in their old albums. After this, they released their hit songs “Couple of Days Off” and “Hit Me Like a Hammer” which both grabbed the 11th and 21st spot respectively on the US charts. The album Hard and Play reached a certified gold status selling over one million copies. In line with the release of their new album, Huey Lewis and the News embarked on a world tour to promote the album.
The band then left EMI records and signed with Elektra Records. They released a cover album entitled Four Chords and Several Years ago in 1994 under their new record label. The album featured doo-woop and covers of rock songs from the 1950s and 1960s. The album entered the Billboard 200 charts. And in 1996, Huey Lewis and the Band released their greatest hits album entitled Time Flies which featured songs from their albums Picture This, Fore! And Sports.
The band’s line-up has changed since their peak of success. Their bassist Mario Cipollina left in 1995 and he was replaced by John Peirce. And in 2001, Chris Hayes left the band to spend more time with his family. He was succeeded by guitarists Stef Burns and Bill Hinds.
Huey Lewis and the News is planning to release an album sometime in 2018 but those plans were put on hold after Huey Lewis suffered a severe hearing loss which also made the band cancel all of their upcoming shows.