HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS
SPORTS (40th ANNIVERSARY REISSUE)
As hard as it is to believe now, at one time Huey Lewis & The News struggled to achieve chart success. Despite being a tight, hard-working band, mainstream success always seemed just out of reach. And then came their third album, Sports. Originally released in 1983, Sports was the right album at the right time, taking advantage of the exposure provided by their music videos on fledgling network MTV. This was hook-driven, infectious rock ‘n’ roll at its finest, and it propelled the band to international stardom.
Looking back, it is easy to forget how commercially successful this album was. It spent 160 consecutive weeks in the charts, and was second on Billboard’s year-end sales charts behind only the behemoth that was Thriller.
Five songs on Sports charted, including “Heart And Soul”, “I Want A New Drug”, “The Heart Of Rock And Roll”, “If This Is It” and “Walking On A Thin Line”.
In every song on this classic album, which the band produced themselves, a myriad of styles blend together, including horn-rock, power-pop, doo-wop, and rhythm and blues. Their tight sound was perfect for radio, and their live performances left audiences wanting more.
Huey Lewis is no longer able to perform with the band, as he is suffering from an inner-ear disorder called Ménière’s disease. It prevents him from being able to hear the band properly, and it makes being a frontman an impossible task. Lewis has said that he has also lost 80 percent of his hearing in his right ear. Unfortunately, Ménière’s disease cannot be corrected with hearing aids.
For the collectors out there, the album is being reissued in both classic black and olive green. Capitol/UMe should be commended for re-releasing this album, as it was a cultural touchstone in the early 1980s. Listening to it again was a reminder of both how great Huey Lewis & The News were, and how alive the music scene felt. Sports remains as fresh sounding today as it did 40 years ago.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS – SPORTS (40th ANNIVERSARY REISSUE)