As my wife and I wait patiently, up to our eyeballs in escrow nonsense, it is quite clear our relationship is pretty dang special. After all, it got us to marriage, a dog, and on the verge of buying a house. The key to any healthy relationship is having a lot in common – – but more importantly – – having enough not in common.
Everyone needs their thing.
My wife loves the Lakers. I am not partial to their brand of b-ball and, admittedly, don’t follow the NBA all too closely until playoff time. I love the Red Sox. My wife thinks all Boston teams are evil for no reason more than it being the city that birthed the Celtics. To her defense though, she’ll at least play baseball.
Where my wife is well versed in an eclectic catalogue of music, there is one act in particular she shows very little tolerance for – – Huey Lewis and the News.
Or as they are known to me – – Huey Friggin’ Awesome Lewis and the Friggin’ Rad Ass News!
Now, she doesn’t curse the stage they perform on, nor does she spin their records backward while wearing a dark cloak made of shattered souls and chant in pig Latin for the gods of music to claim said Mr. Lewis and his talented compatriots. I’m sure if she met him in line at Starbucks or under the same bus stop canopy during a most romantic thunderstorm, she’d find ol’ Huey to be the gentlemanly sort. And one can only assume a gent like HL would surround himself with only the finest Newsmen.
She does, however, roll her eyes about and sigh heavily as if to say “I can’t believe my husband is a bona fide dork.”
Well, if loving Huey Lewis and the News in that special way that only a man can truly understand makes me a dork – – then color me dorky. And in the spirit of poking tom-foolery between spouses, I present to you five reasons why Huey Lewis AND his News are quite awesome.
1) November, 2001. I saw the group in question at the House of Blues in Chicago. When the lights kicked on – – Huey, flanked by guitarist Johnny Colla and Stef Burns (who replaced original guitarist, Chris Hayes), jumped out to the front of the stage, nearly hitting the splits in mid air. The woman in front of me passed out cold. Honest to goodness. Later in the show, a bra was thrown onto the stage prompting Huey – – after the song – – to say “man. . . they just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
2) They sing about love, man! Where is it written that songs about love with frequent use of the word “baby” is a bad thing? Whether it’s love for their musical roots (Heart of Rock & Roll), love for a woman (Stuck With You), or the just plain awesome POWER of love (. . . duh), Huey and the boys aren’t afraid to rock that four-letter “L” word with their supreme musical muscle.
3) They are seriously talented musicians. 1983’s phenominally successful, Sports, was my very first casette tape. It was then I learned – – at the ripe old age of 5 – – that Huey is one of the best blues harmonica players in the business. Period. The band as a whole has continued to re-invent themselves over the years, never afraid to dig their musical mitts into a new sound – – or an old one. 1994’s Four Chords and Several Years Ago was a tribute to the blues and rockabilly era of the 50’s and early 60’s. In 2001, the band released Plan B which was very heavy in Motown influences. And 2010 saw Huey and Co. release Soulsville, another tribute record, covering some of the many hits from the Stax record label (who backed such artists as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Booker T & the MG’s) during the 60’s and 70’s. What started out as six guys bangin’ on saxes and synths in the 80’s has evolved into a soulful, blues-rock, 9-piece jam band. And even when they play their old hits – – it still sounds right.
4) They’re just nice guys. I remember watching the VH1 Behind the Music special on Huey Lewis and the News a few years back. Halfway through the show, when normally the scary music would kick in and the narrator would switch gears to way-way-serious mode and say “and then. . . their whole world crumbled. . .” – – the music got brighter as the audience at home was kindly reminded that these are nice guys playing nice music and living the freakin’ dream! If you hate them for that, it makes you a horrible human being. Yeah, I said it.
5) Their hits are undeniably catchy. Your Honor, I submit the following songs as evidence to the ultimate coolness of Huey Lewis and the News:
Hip to Be Square
The Power of Love
Couple Days Off
If This Is It
Fortunately (and unfortunately) the list goes on longer than my ability to stay awake this evening (that’s the unfortunate part). I could seriously debate the awesome power of Huey Lewis and the News, and their 30-plus years of entertaining the masses, until I was as blue in the face as Johnny Colla’s zoot suit on the cover of the Fore! album.
But I don’t know if you’re ready for that yet.