Oct 062010

I know some of you will pick up what I’m about to lay down here: Huey Lewis didn’t suck. In fact, I’d say he was, on the whole, quite good for American popular music, in the same savior-of-AM-radio kind of way that Hall & Oates were. Not sure his hits were quite on the same level, but — come on — does “Heart & Soul” suck? How about “This Is It”? Of course they don’t suck!

In fact, I’d go further to say that HL&tN had a run of pretty darn good singles, many of which did a good job breathing life — perhaps not stylistically “new” life, but real life — into some pretty moldy American music forms. Dude played songs like “This Is It” straight — and that’s why the song doesn’t suck. Compare to “Uptown Girl,” a similar kind of retro-vibed track by Billy Joel. In Joel’s hands, this kind of faux-’50s number really grates. But when Huey gets his hands on the stuff, he doesn’t play-act; he just sings.

I dunno, I guess I’ve entered a phase where some formerly overplayed pop music is starting to come around for me. I’ve come to realize that the reasons why we like songs eventually surpass the reasons why we grew sick of them — and Huey Lewis made some of that kind of music. I’m still not sure I’m ready to download Sports, or whatever that ’80s Everyman album of his was called — but I was sure happy to hear “Heart & Soul” coming through the speakers at the cheese store today.

Here’s to the simple pleasures of life. Here’s to Huey Lewis.



  99 Responses to “NEWS FLASH: Huey Lewis & the News Didn’t Suck!”

  1. misterioso

    In theory, I applaud the notion of “enter[ing] a phase where some formerly overplayed pop music is starting to come around” for you. In practice, if that means standing up for Huey Lewis, we have a problem. I can even manage to say that “Heart and Soul” doesn’t suck. It’s not bad. “If This Is It”–that sucks. As do any of the other hits that I can remember. So, unless you’re making the case for some A-level deep cuts, I can’t sign on to this. I mean, “good for American music”? What the?

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    “Good for American music” — what I meant by that was that HL&tN didn’t flinch when they wrote tunes like “Stuck With You” and “New Drug” — which were just old-fashioned, simple, American pop songs. They strike me as the last mega-popular band that rode to the top on *melody*, rather than beats/Look/production.

    But, having said that, I acknowledge that:

    a.) I am far too old to know how wrong I may be about my feeling that they were the last melody-centric mega-popular rock band to hit the charts with consistency.

    b.) Melody-centrism isn’t everything! I just think it was in danger of getting lost in the new media shuffle, and HL&tN kept it on the defibrillator for a few years, making it clear to “the industry” that you should never count out a good tune.

    c.) A number of HL&tN songs are, you know, NOT good.

  3. If someone doesn’t mention “The Power of Love” and its central placement in one of the greatest ’80s blockbusters soon, you are all dead to me.

  4. misterioso

    Yes, but, you see, more flinching in this instance would have been better for everyone.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    What, did you get hitched or something, hrrundi?:) You just get back from some stoned soul picnic?

    Other than his former bandmates’ work on My Aim Is True and Huey’s full-frontal piss in Short Cuts, I’ll take “Uptown Girl” over anything by Huey Lewis!

    Huey Lewis may not have kept a grip on his musical morals more than most in the ’80s, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t suck.

  6. BigSteve

    I think I see where hvb is coming from here, and I think the Hall & Oates comparison is apt. I almost wish Huey had gone more in the slick pop direction. He was saddled with that lead guitarist with delusions of grandeur, and there’s usually some unfortunate arenaosity on top of the tuneful straight-ahead pop.

  7. Mr. Moderator

    BTW, in that freeze frame for the “Heart and Soul” video, is that Kids in the Hall’s Bruce McCullough (sp?) as Tom Cruise playing one of Bruce’s would-be tough shits, or is that Tom Cruise as one of Bruce’s would-be tough shits playing on of Tom Cruise’s cocky, young hotshots?

  8. Mr. Moderator

    On behalf of Hall & Oates, I’m insulted. Are you guys forgetting that they cranked out a half dozen excellent hits before the ’80s fell down upon them, or are you equating the relative best of Lewis with the more “organic” Hall & Oates songs that, I feel, are head and shoulders above the band’s “pastel” era? Even those Big ’80s Songs by H&O have a lot more life and style. Does the fact alone that Lewis works in an “old-fashioned” and straight-forward style (like any number of pub rockers some of us celebrate) by him that much slack? Let’s judge him against the pub rockers, for instance. Wouldn’t his newly celebrated works from the ’80s be ranked 11th out of a field of 10?

  9. bostonhistorian

    I see hvb has found a new drug.

  10. Oh wait!

    Huey Lewis & the American Express with their disco version of the theme from Exodus, ‘exo-disco.”


  11. as one of the last acts to have saxophone in the top 40, i salute Huey & The News.

    i believe there is a coked out 80s L.A. bar band/Michael J. Fox connection in the mix here(power of love/billy and the beaters/cortney cox dancin in the dark) that requires further examination.

    i voted for Uptown Girl in the poll, because i accidentally heard my parents having sex to “If This Is It” in Wildwood one time.

    i really like:
    Heart & Soul
    New Drug
    Heart of Rock n Roll
    Do You Believe in Love
    Walkin on a Thin Line

    i really hate:
    Stuck With You
    The Power of Love
    Hip to be Square
    Back In Time
    Jacob’s Ladder

    i always thought the album name Sports, made it ok for people who don’t like music to like HL&N.

    i never saw the inside of a Bennigan’s until after i heard HL&N, so i thought both were part of some kind of cohesive cultural movement.

  12. Huey Lewis and the News did not suck. If you played in a band during their day and were learning new songs every week to keep fresh then they were fun. The songs didn’t get as old as most night after night. “New Drug” was tricky to play. They had good hooks and weren’t so tough that the bang for rehearsal buck wasn’t worth it especially if you rehearsed after the gig in the wee hours. I saw them on TV open the Grammys (I think) with an acupelo number, nice. They had chops. Just good clean uncomplicated fun, what’s wrong with that?

  13. Mr. Moderator

    I get all claims to mediocrity and decency and cleverness during a Dark Age in rock, but can I at least say that I feel that his voice steps over everything mediocre and tolerable about their music? I don’t like his voice at all. In fact, I feel confident in saying I feel it “sucks.” 🙂

  14. Any band that writes “Hip to be Square” deserves what they get.

  15. machinery

    Hip to be square. Need we say more? Sorry, Fritz …

    Ok, one more: Working for a living. One or both of the g’s might have been dropped. Ouch.

  16. mockcarr

    Lewis is like some dude telling you something really obvious with great conviction in a slightly condescending way, and then you’re supposed to just nod and say how right and interesting and insightful they are. But really, you only do this because you want them to go away faster.

  17. Mr. Moderator

    mockcarr gets the “You nailed it!” DING DING DING! Awesome analysis!

  18. Couple of thoughts:

    I’m not sure if “the cheese store” was a metaphor but if not, it was a wholly appropriate place to hear this stuff. Picking up a bit of Velveeta, were you? I’m not anti-cheesy throwaway pop, but I usually prefer it from an earlier decade.

    Heart and Soul and Do You Believe in Love (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnT-dE1zR0o) are the kind of songs that I wouldn’t turn off if I was in the car by myself and there was nothing else on the radio. I don’t know that If This Is It would make the cut.

    In the If This Is It video, that drummer has one of the most abysmal Looks that I have ever seen: mullet, short-shorts, Greg Hawkes glasses and drummer gloves. Luckily, his visual horrendousness is offset by the bass player who looks like the lovechild of Valley Girl-era Nick Cave and Count Dracula.

    It’s insulting to compare Hall and Oats to HL&N. Even if you ignore their 70s stuff, Family Man and Out of Touch are miles better than this stuff. Maybe Brian Adams is a more apt comparison.

    Shawnkilroy, that Wildwood incident is hilariously horrifying

  19. One more thing, I can’t stand the original Four Seasons songs, so Billy Joel’s impersonation of them on Uptown Girl is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

  20. Can the winner of this poll, after facing “Kokomo,” then face Lionel Richie’s “Dancin’ On The Ceiling?” After that, I think “Kokomo” and “We Built This City” can be retired into the Hall Of Shame.

  21. alexmagic

    kilroy has nailed the “feel” of the Huey Lewis Experience perfectly. I’m also giving kilroy a pass for voting for “Uptown Girl” because of his unique circumstances and won’t pile on the Mod any further beacause of his pre-existing psychological addiction to the Kokomotion phenomenon. The other two of you who voted for Uptown Girl should be forced to out yourself, though. Shit, even “For The Longest Time” is better than Uptown Girl (but not as – relatively, mind you – good as If This Is It or The Heart of Rock ‘n Roll).

    As for The News themselves, I would be willing to say that they indeed are not as good as Hall & Oates but are better than Billy Joel. More than that, I don’t know.

    i believe there is a coked out 80s L.A. bar band/Michael J. Fox connection in the mix here(power of love/billy and the beaters/cortney cox dancin in the dark) that requires further examination.

    Agreed. Can we explore this more? Was there a very briefly-lived genre of music that we might be able to classify as NBC Thursday Rock? Maybe Tartikoff Rock?

    Unrelated to anything else, the vampire lookin’ dude in The News was always my least favorite sideman of anybody during the MTV era when The News ruled the airwaves.

    Some time ago when we had the geography theme week here at RTH, I started but did not finish a piece that I think we could still explore regarding Huey Lewis. In Heart of Rock ‘n Roll, which of the cities mentioned really deserved their namechecks, which was he just throwing in for pandering and which deserved their mention then but no longer do? Also, what was the biggest snub among those cities that Huey left out of his rock heart shoutouts? Maybe this requires its own thread?

  22. 2000 Man

    I thought when people say that the 80’s music sucked, they were talking about Huey Lewis and Hall and Oates. I remember having free tickets to see both of those bands at some time, and giving them away to anyone that would take them. I think my wife went to Huey Lewis and another friend went to Hall and Oates. Both of them were right when they said, “I had fun, but you’d have hated it.”

  23. BigSteve

    I’m certainly willing to cede H&O’s superiority to HL&N. The soul music influence that’s there behind This is It is more apparent with H&O of course.

    I was granting Huey non-suckitude totally based on the studio recordings, not the videos. In the posted video for This Is It he’s totally overselling the song. One of the things I like about the records is their modesty. It can edge over into generic mediocrity, but when it works it’s very efficient at delivering a satisfying radio experience.

    Because it was the MTV era, issues of Look enter the picture, but I sort of like Huey’s regular guy persona. Hall & Oates have a glam/rockstar thing happening. The only guy in the News with rockstar pretensions is the guitar wanker.

  24. hrrundivbakshi

    On the topic of HL&tN’s videos: I almost posted a link to another fine mediocrity of the band’s, “Do You Believe In Love,” but the video had this lengthy segment with the entire band encircling a girl in her bed, singing at her. It’s like Huey and the gang were raping her mind with their five-part harmonies to punish her for not loving Huey the way he deserved. Seeing drummer guy (the dude who looks like a cross between the lead singer from America and Jeff Porcaro) in this role was particularly disturbing. Bass player guy/vampire, I could get.

    Anyhow, count yourselves lucky.

    And can I propose that the 80s rock fault-line between suck/not-suck is Billy Joel?

  25. “…the vampire lookin’ dude in The News was always my least favorite sideman of anybody during the MTV era when The News ruled the airwaves.”

    I don’t get it. He’s was at least making some sort of effort. What’s your beef with that guy? Too Vanian-esque?

  26. Billy Joel can’t be the 80s rock fault-line between suck/not-suck. That would imply that he is close to being on the non-suck side. What’s the opposite of being the Gold Standard? That’s what he is.

  27. Mr. Moderator

    I can’t abide by Joel being at the fault-line because I think he got better in the late-’70s/early-’80s. That’s not what you had in mind, is it, HVB?

  28. hrrundivbakshi

    What I mean is this: Hall & Oates were better than HL&tN, who sit at the precipice of suckiness. But HL&tN were better than Billy Joel, so they don’t suck. Hence, Billy Joe sucks.

  29. alexmagic

    cdm: I just now re-watched the “Heart and Soul” video in the post and forgot that Vampire Guy actually dressed up as a vampire in that. My News recollection was that he was always just generally vampire-y. But overall, I just remember this dude always seemingly trying to steal screen time from Huey and go into business promoting himself in every News video, and it’s like, how dare you? How dare you, vampire dude in the News? That guy needed to fall in line.

    Huey clearly could have beaten up his entire band (and probably all of Hall and Oates and their crew along with Billy Joel), and it’s a testament to what a decent guy he was that he never stomped vampire dude for trying to horn in on Huey’s successful cine-musical crossover career.

    HVB: I’ve now gone and re-viewed the Do You Believe In Love video, and nice call on that traumatic scene. The News were maybe three inches each from that bed away from having Death Wish 3 Bronson walk in and kill them all for their assault on that girl.

    Other things on display in the Do You Believe In Love video: vampire dude still looking kinda vampiric and once again proving that he thinks he’s better than the rest of The News; everyone but Huey sporting matching “The News” band jackets, so perhaps Huey was aware of the need to put the band in their places; Huey maintaining his manliness while wearing a pink (salmon?) shirt and Huey Lewis showing an absolute mastery of the Rock Move I call The Steve Perry, wherein a lead singer aggressively stabs at the air/pumps his arms with balled up fists.

  30. “It’s like Huey and the gang were raping her mind with their five-part harmonies to punish her for not loving Huey the way he deserved.”


  31. Mr. Moderator

    But Billy Joel established the fact that he sucked long before HL hit the scene.

  32. bostonhistorian

    Is the fact that Billy Joel is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the best indication of the moral bankruptcy of that institution?

  33. Mr. Moderator

    OK, I just listened to the “Heart and Soul” video, trying my best not to be influenced by the band’s Look. That song’s not so bad. It doesn’t “suck.” Not even Huey’s Jon Gruden/Bill Cower square-jawed former coach football commentator approach to singing bugs me that much in this song. You “win,” hrrundi. Thank you for furthering my understanding of rock ‘n roll of the ’80s!

  34. Mr. Moderator

    On the other hand, “This Is It” still sounds like a late-period Eagles song, and for that reason alone, Huey Lewis & the News still suck:P

  35. mockcarr

    #1, towns not mentioned should be glad as they will hear less of Huey on their local radio stations.
    #2, The only way they could be pandering more for radio play is by using the word “radio” itself, the theory being that mentioning lots of cities or using lots of letters in a song allows for a radio station to use a bit of your song in their station identification spots.

  36. mockcarr

    Does Huey use his fists for emphasis because he was taught it isn’t polite to point? I guess this predates the fist with thumb pointed slightly at the listener employed by politicians since Bill Clinton.

  37. mockcarr

    Does Huey use his fist for emphasis because he was taught it’s not polite to point? This does predate the use of fist with thumb pointed slightly at the listener employed by politicians since Clinton.

  38. I came come out for Uptown Girl in the poll. I think on An Innocent Man Joel tried to assay a whole bunch of 50’s styles with some (the title track and Tell Her About It) having more success than others (Uptown Girl and Keeping the Faith – gak!). I think what gets to people about Joel is he had serious rock star pretensions while being better at lightweight pop.

    HL&N were just one of those bland, controllable things that record execs get their hands on once in a while. Remember Hootie & the Blowfish? The 50’s touches in This is It are just frills; the 80’s guitar solo and the look of the band say they are covering all of their demographic bases. Huey with a pool cue in the Houlihan’s shows you pretty much everything you need to know about these guys.

  39. I can get behind Huey. The thing I liked about him as a kid was that he could pass for a fun uncle. He totally bypassed the whole rock star “look” and “attitude.” Yes, I’ll concede that his music may be slight and I certainly have no desire to go out and buy any of his records. However, I would not be offended if I happened to catch one of his songs on the radio or at the cheese store. They’re well-written and well recorded pop tunes. Catchy hooks and all.

    My high school stage band played an arrangement of “Power of Love.” I dig the beat and that sure was fun to play on bass trombone. we also did “Easy Lover” by Phil Collins. That was fun, too. I just remember sitting next to my best friend (on drums) and blasting out those farty bass notes. I’ll admit my visions of those songs may be blurred.

    “Hip To Be Square” was the beginning of the end. That’s crap and will always be.

    He also helped bring back Tower of Power. From what I understand, they would do arena shows with him and then go do club shows during the same tour.

    If someone gave me a greatest hits CD, I would probably listen to it every now and again.


  40. BigSteve

    Billy Joel is a hack who thinks he’s as great as Beethoven. He’s evil.

    Lewis is a moderately talented guy who turned pro when he got the opportunity. He may have made some dodgy artistic choices, but I doubt that he ever thought of himself as an artiste.

  41. alexmagic

    mockcarr: This brings me to my confusion over the use of “The Liberty Town” in Heart of Rock ‘n Roll (the line being “DC, San Antone and The Liberty Town, Boston and Baton Rouge”). I assume The Liberty Town is meant to be Philadelphia, but has anyone else ever called Philadelphia “The Liberty Town”?

    Did Huey just make this nickname up, hoping it would stick and get him some extra pull in the city, or is this a name in use everywhere but here? Or, is The Liberty Town somewhere else? Could he be giving Boston a double shoutout (“The Liberty Town: Boston”)? If so, this would be a massive snub for Philadelphia by The News. If The Liberty Town isPhilly, do we then get the bonus of having been acknowledged in the song, but not actually named, per your first point?

    Also, would the general feeling about Huey Lewis go up or down here if it turned out that he actually did a ton of research for the song and became intimately familiar with the musical scenes of Tulsa, Toronto and Montreal? Also, what if it’s not a coincidence that the grunge movement started to take shape in the mid-to-late 1980s shortly after Seattle’s shout out in Heart of Rock ‘n Roll?

    Yeah, I’m saying it: All signs point to Huey Lewis as the true godfather of grunge.

  42. 2000 Man

    Huey Lewis, Hall and Oates, Billy Joel and now The Eagles in one thread?

    You guys are gonna create a black hole if you’re not careful.

  43. As an Eagles fan pointed out to me once…It’s “Eagles” not “THE Eagles”…get it right, 2000 Man!


  44. Mr. Moderator

    What do you know, your friend is right, TB. Now I hate the band even more:)

  45. Clearly we need a Mockcarr type quantification formula to determine what makes a good band. Musicianship? Image? Vocals? Solos? Hooks? Message? Societal relevance? Boogie factor? Richard Velveeta factor or lack thereof?

    I’m confused, what’s cool to like or hate?

  46. The only thing it helped me to do was to take the “The” off their name when I uploaded their stuff to my iTunes. I mean…*IF I ever uploaded their stuff…I don’t own any Eagles records…I mean…errr…]


  47. mockcarr

    (3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510)melody + (6.02214179(30)×1023)emotional content/HVB Mach Schau quotient – BigSteve’s demerits for what everyone thinks about their “look” = cool

    But only if the figure is above Jimmy Rollins’ current batting average.*

    *unless you are over 14 years of age and have not demonstrated a y chromosome in dna tests.

  48. misterioso

    Jeez, I really want to thank everyone for bringing back all the memories associated with HL&N. Actually, not so much thank as kick in the ass.

    But, ok, yes, they are basically less evil than Billy Joel, that has to be conceded.

  49. I’d like to be trashy and mention vampire bass player’s brushes with the law and drug abuse.


  50. Thanks for clearing that up Mockcarr.

  51. 2000 Man

    Sorry, TB. They’ll always be THE Eagles to me, and they’ll always be the band I hate more than Led Zeppelin even. If it bothers their fans that I add the superfluous “The” then that’s even better! I did see Phil Collins mentioned here, too. I think California is going to have an earthquake very soon, and it’s not my fault!

  52. 2000 Man

    Oh, yeah – so far as cool goes, I’ve always felt that everything I like is cool, and everything you like is suspect.

    It works for me.

  53. Mr. Moderator

    Wasn’t that bass player, Cipollina, a brother of a member of Quicksilver Messenger Service?

  54. Some of the songs I like a lot: New Drug, Heart & Soul. Others bug the crap out of me: Power of Love, If This Is It. I love them and hate them, all at the same time. – Elgin

  55. ladymisskirroyale

    I’m joining this serious fray very late, but to reflect on a few things:

    1. No to earthquakes, 2000 Man. That’s bad for us good music junkies out here.

    2. H and O’s tune, “Family Man” was actually written and initially performed by Mike Oldfield (and why wasn’t he in our sexy prog rock man poll?????) I have the album around here somewhere. Here’s a live video; it features a female singer.


    3. In rank order: H and O, HL and the N, and finally BJ. No question about it.

  56. Mr. Moderator

    ELGIN BAYLOR, welcome to the Halls of Rock! You were my second-favorite Lakers player from my childhood, behind #13, Wilt Chamberlain. Seriously, though, thanks for joining us, and you seem to have expressed an opinion similar to shawnkilroy’s and maybe some others. Interesting.

  57. 2000 Man

    I dunno. It seems like we’re ranking “Ick,” Yuck!” and Eww!” to me.

  58. I have to stick up for Hall and Oats. Hall could flat out sing and Oats made him better. He had tone and range and understood how to stretch the rhythm even if not to the level of Ray Charles or Barbra Streisand. As far as the songs go they weren’t all my cup of tea but I have to respect the taste of millions and millions of fans that must have known something.

  59. 2000 Man

    I don’t think you have to respect those tastes. Those millions and millions of people also loved Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats, and those same people have abandoned them all.

  60. Really, Lady Miss Kir – you rate Huey over Billy Joel? BJ comes off as a blowhard, but he’s a super melodic writer and had an incredible run of success. Huey was popular for, what, two albums? Honestly, I think I’d rate BJ over Hall & Oates. But yes, it’s “ick,” “yuck” and “ewww.”

    I rate A Flock Of Seagulls over Huey.

  61. Ha ha! Weird – 2000 Man wrote about A Flock Of Seagulls at the same time as me. How weird is that?!

  62. ladymisskirroyale

    Cher, I think I’ve been poisoned by the late Joel. And I can’t even give him the Lennon Pass. I loved “The Stranger” when I was in high school, and I agree with you that his melodies can be wonderful. But his music has been turned into ballet barre music that I have to suffer through regularly, and HL and the N’s music has not. BJ has become sort of like my Andrew Lloyd Weber.

  63. Mr. Moderator

    Man, this is so weird, such a “who offends my sensibilities less” debate. I don’t even like Billy Joel’s most beloved songs from The Stranger, but please, send me a postcard the day Huey Lewis and the News come up with something as “in the moment” as, I don’t know, “Don’t Go Changin’.” Love it or hate it (and I hate it), that’s a real song with a real performance, sitting right there for you. You don’t have to dig for terms like “clever arrangements” and “modest” and “catchy” to explain it. If we’re talking about musical achievements, it’s not close: Billy Joel has done way more decent, real music than Huey Lewis – and I’ll say this excluding the only music I don’t HATE by Joel: “Uptown Girl” and a few other songs from that early ’60s pastiche album.

    Hall and Oates is so much better than either of these clowns that it’s not funny. Close your eyes and listen to “She’s Gone” or “Rich Girl.” Man, they’re fantastic pop singles. Even some of the band’s Big ’80s Hits have more going for them, no?

    Which artist would I rather attend a baseball game with and drink a beer? Huey Lewis, hands down! But man, that music is simply not necessary.

  64. BigSteve

    Mod, BJ may have “musical achievements,” but they’re EVIL musical achievements. The devil is not inept, or he would be easy to defeat.

    And yes, H&O are much better than the other two.

  65. Billy Joel is both better (first 3-4 records) and worse (everything else) than HL&TN, the Hootie and the Blowfish of their day. Or the Matchbox 20 of their day. Or maybe even the Rascal Flatts of their day. It’s rock music for people that don’t like music. Your aunt likes Huey Lewis. And she never owned one album (by anyone) in her life. Except Bat Out of Hell, because every household was issued one of those.

    And both are worse than Hall & Oates, who had some truly great songs and an exceptional singer.

    And I’ll out myself as a big fan of the first three Eagles’ albums. But they are a despicable lot.

  66. Mod, there’s something kind of creepy about that BJ song. I always think maybe the woman wants to change but the guy won’t let her.

  67. I read an interview with Billy Joel once and he explained why he never performs that song. He just hates his ex too much. One night he changed the lyrics to, “She’s got the house, the kids, the car” and the audience booed. At that point he figured he shouldn’t sing it.

  68. Mr. Moderator

    dr john, I think we’d agree that there’s not a single thing that’s NOT creepy about the collected works of Billy Joel!

    Funny story, gregg. I didn’t know that!

    All I’m saying is let’s not disrespect the “art” of Billy Joel relative to Huey Lewis just because Joel’s “art” is EVIL. Give the devil his due. I probably hate Eagles (not “The,” notice) more than I hate Billy Joel, but I might have to admit that their music is a notch better – if even more EVIL – than Joel’s.

  69. You know, I was trying to find a Billy Joel song to demonstrate that he’s better than Hall & Oates but I can’t really bear it. Truth is, I’d happily listen to H&O whereas BJ irks me. I don’t know why I said that, I guess because BJ has more gravitas and sees himself as an heir to the Beatles.

    In my thinking about this, I was reading Robert Christgau’s page on BJ and have been enjoying a few of his nuggets:


    “Here he poses as the Irving Berlin of narcissistic alienation, puffing up and condescending to the fantasies of fans who spend their lives by the stereo feeling sensitive.”

    “Having concealed his egotism in metaphor as a young songpoet, he achieved success when he uncloseted the spoiled brat behind those bulging eyes.”

    “he’s a force of nature and bad taste.”

    Interestingly, the reviews seem to get better chronologically – until the last entry.

  70. this thread is like the barf o rama in the movie stand by me.
    HVB is sittin back in delight watchin us all debate about turd-stackin.
    good one Hrundi!

  71. 2000 Man

    Which artist would I rather attend a baseball game with and drink a beer? Huey Lewis, hands down!

    So, are you saying Huey Lewis is the George Bush of Rock n Roll?

    teek is on to something there. The devil does make music for people that don’t like music. The ones that have zero value for music and bought a 160 GB ipod and felt entitled to a lifetime of a music fan’s collection for free, overnight. If you check their itunes statistics, they only listen to Jock Jams 1 and 3 anyway.

  72. I don’t know how many have heard the new Ben Folds album, the collaboration with Nick Hornby, call Lonely Avenue. I’m a BF fan. Anyway, the last tune is called “Belinda.” It’s basically a song about a guy who has to sing his “hit” song night after night. A song he wrote for an ex. So he’s locked into this relationship thanks to his hit.


  73. Maybe this link can put a nail in the coffin:


  74. Mr. Moderator

    2K asked:

    So, are you saying Huey Lewis is the George Bush of Rock n Roll?


  75. cher, that ws AWESOME!

  76. hrrundivbakshi

    My enjoyment of that “Heart Of Rock and Roll…” karaoke clip was greatly enhanced when I realized the “singer” looked an awful lot like Eddie Van Halen.

  77. hrrundivbakshi

    Lord have mercy! That site is amazing!


  78. hrrundivbakshi

    Cher wins. Not by much, but the somnambulistic take on “Oliver’s Army” was just too amazing.

  79. Wow, I miss one day and you jump right into “my” music 😉

    Huey had three good LPs, The 1st Three..the “new wave” records (s/t, Picture This, Sports) then the next two were pretty bad (Fore! and the one after)..if he’s done one since, it’s “news” to me…ugh!

    They did a decent job of combining The All American Bar band with some 80 formula cheese to help the medicine go down. They did not ever adopt an 80’s look. They stayed jeans and jeans jackets, short hair, an occasional skinny tie.

    Hall & Oates are the same in many ways. They are the All American SOUL band with the 80’s formula and cheese added because they LIKE it (and because their 70’s verison of this formula ran it’s course by 1977)Their fame years were 8 years after their debut record and at least 5 years after their last hit. Synths, drum machines and 80’s haircuts = new life and they grabbed on with both Swatch coverd arms.

    Now maybe it’s because of my age, but I loved Huey and Hall & Oates and saw them in concert in the 80’s heyday as a teen in big arenas and again in the 1990’s to near empty venues. They both tour as “oldies” acts now and have stripped away the 80’s cheese that made them Top 40 contenders in the first place. Huey’s current “News” has a horn line and sounds like Room Full Of Blues and Hall & Oates dumped the synths for acoustic guitars

  80. ..and as a Billy Joel fan, “Uptown Girl” makes me break out in hives (but then I am not a Frankie Valley fan so maybe that’s my issue with that song)

  81. I was trying to find the worst version of 4-Non Blondes’ “What’s Up,” but there are 74 pages of choices and I couldn’t bear it. Seemed to be some promising versions of “Polk Salad Annie” too.

  82. ladymisskirroyale

    Can I just say how much I have enjoyed those singsnap entries? After a really crap day at work, to come home to all of this?! Maybe I should change my blog name to ladymissschadenfreude.

  83. I’m sorry. I can’t stop, I know, I know…


  84. I’ll have you all know that I actually used to work for an online karaoke company a few years ago. The people who are into it freakin’ LOVE IT. Singsnap sounds like they could make with some lag compensation, though.

  85. Boy, talk about an embarrassment of riches! That site is fascinating.

    That version of Oliver’s Army is pretty awesome but I gotta give the gold medal to Misterioso’s entry of Subterranean Homesick Blues. It sounds as if the guy never heard the song before and was just reading the lyrics for the first time as he went along.

  86. misterioso

    Sorry, this is more addictive than chocolate-covered crack.


  87. Jesus H Christ, that was horrifying, Cher.

  88. BigSteve

    I didn’t think Train in Vain was that bad. The backing tracks on these things are surprisingly decent. It seems like it might be a fun job, except that you probably have to crank out a hundred tracks a day.

  89. trolleyvox

    Mocarr wrote:
    “Does Huey use his fists for emphasis because he was taught it isn’t polite to point? I guess this predates the fist with thumb pointed slightly at the listener employed by politicians since Bill Clinton.”

    Is there any example of usage of the Clintonian thumb point in rock? If not, can we take bets on who will employ it first?

  90. Mr. Moderator

    Good question, Tvox. How ’bout that big guy from Arcade Fire? I know he’s Canadian, but I could imagine him employing the Clintonian thumb point to drive home a line.

  91. I think Win Butler is actually from the Houston suburbs.

  92. jeangray

    I recently stumbled across the Bus Boys original version of “Heart and Soul.” It’s a tad more upbeat, and has better guitar & drum sounds, but pretty much follows the same template. It’s another professionally written piece of craftwork by the songwriting team of Chapman/Chinn. Probably one of the team’s last big hits. They must have had a stake in Chrysalis Records, amiright??

    And I have to give it up for the big stupid power chords on the chorus of this song. Very appealing to the caveman or woman part of the brain.

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