Friday, March 04, 2011

The Three Best Huey Lewis and the News Songs

Ah, good old Scott Muni.  "The Professor", as he was called, sounded like he had just swallowed a bottle of paint thinner (or vodka) before he turned on the microphone for his show on a couple of great radio stations.  His prominence began on WMCA, then moved to WABC (where he helped introduce listeners to those Beatles guys), popped back to WMCA, and onto WOR-FM before heading to WNEW-FM, where he stayed from 1967 to 1998.  He stayed at WAXQ-FM (Q104) until he had a stroke in early 2004, and died later that year.

So why the Scott Muni-mini biography?  Because when "Scottso" would play Huey Lewis and the News on WNEW, he would say, "Huey Lewis and the N-E-double-U's."  Always made me smile.

Wait?  Huey Lewis and the News?  On a ROCK STATION?  Yes, people.  Before the band was dumped into adult contemporary hell, they were consistently heard on rock radio.  Oh if only program directors now would have the guts to play them on rock radio again, as opposed to the constant dreck we're stuck with on classic rock stations.  I mean, for the love of Chuck Berry, how many times do we need to hear "More Than a Feeling?"

I'm getting sidetracked here.  Sorry.

Anyway, the WNEW blog posted their choices for HLN's top three songs.  They chose "Doing It All For My Baby", "The Heart of Rock and Roll", and "Working for a Living."  Fine choices, all, but, this is me we're talking about and there are just a few bands that I knew pretty darn well.  This is one of them.  So...

3) Hmmm.  Tough one.  So many choices.  "The Power of Love", "Heart and Soul", "Working For a Living", "Do You Believe in Love", and on and on.  Tough, tough, tough.  "Back in Time."  "Hip to Be Square."  For now, I'm going with a Bruce and John Hornsby-penned tune.  "Jacob's Ladder", it is.

2) I want to give you something different.  "Change of Heart" is the first track on their 1982 album Picture This.  It's a wonderful meeting of California sound-meets-Eff You post-punk New Wave.  It's a rocker, but it's not an entirely happy song.  This video is from their appearance in Germany at Rockpalast in 1984.

As a bonus, this is the studio version.

"Change of Heart" would be my Huey cover, if I ever had a band.

1) Spring, 1984.  Listening to WHCN-FM out of Hartford, when they were still a rock station.  I've told this story before on the blog.  I know where I was the first time I heard this song.  I felt - right then and there - that this was my band.  The song was "The Heart of Rock and Roll."

I also remember going to my sister's apartment in the days before my parents' house had cable, so I could watch the boys in concert (and thankfully she had Showtime).  I had the place to myself, ran a tape recorder to get the audio off the live simulcast (on WNEW, of course!) and made it rock.  No telling how much of my hearing I lost due to the repeated replays.

Yes, I still have the tape...converted to PC to burn onto CD's and my iPod.  I'm smiling thinking about it.

The video link is here.

One last thing.  A month ago, the boys were scheduled to play at the Gramercy Theater on E 23rd St in NYC.  That's only about, oh, three or four blocks away from Carrie's office (where I will be heading as soon as I done typing this).  Seemed like a no-brainer for me to go.  Then I saw the ticket prices.  *sigh*  No show for me.  A complete bummer.  I'm glad to see that they sold the place out but oh did it sting.  I haven't seen them since 2005.  I'm a little overdue.

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