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.