You can’t say, “what ever happened to [insert band name]?” anymore. With the internet, all you have to do is google the band and you can literally find out what happened to them.
Land of Punt recently found out what happened to former 1980’s rockers Huey Lewis and the News. Sadly, they didn’t drop off the face of planet under mysterious circumstances. Their departure from the public eye had nothing to do with drug use, alcoholism, alien abduction or witness protection.
What happened to Huey Lewis and the News was nothing. They’re still around. A few members have come and gone, Huey is a bit older, but they’re still out and about performing and recording.
Huey Lewis and the News flourished from 1982 to 1987. During that six year span they released two #1 albums, charted three #1 singles and four #6 singles (LOP thought that four #6 singles was worth mentioning, regardless the band had quite a few top ten hits). The three albums they released during this time period collectively went 10x platinum.
The band is now some what of a relic, an anachronism. For some reason their music has pretty much been forgotten. When the band, or their music, is remembered it’s as a disparaging punch line rather than a tribute to their rock and roll prowess.
Huey Lewis and the News are in that mythological box of “80’s landmarks” that people thought were really cool at the time but the generations that followed adamantly disagreed with such tenacity that it’s become embarrassing to even listen to HLatN.
However, HLatN isn’t embarrassing. Their rock and roll sound still sounds good. Time hasn’t revealed their flaws but strengthened their milieu. Huey Lewis is a charismatic and talented front man and the News was a world class back-up band (they back up Elvis Costello and Van Morrison).
Huey Lews and the News were, and still are, a really good band who made really good rock and roll music. They don’t deserved being lumped in with all the other fads and fashions of the despicable early 80’s.
Ultimately, their problem was never how good or how bad they were, their problem was they weren’t innovators. They played great music but it wasn’t anything we haven’t heard before. So instead of being associated with a new movement in popular music, they are associated with the era during which they thrived. Therefore, people have a hard time separating the band from the 80’s.
The same thing happened to Bon Jovi but they had the talent and the patience to wait for another turn. Nor is HLatN so over-the-top 80’s that the very mention of their name conjures up a romantic, but guffaw-worthy, image of a mythologized 80’s. HLaTN are stuck in the middle, stuck in the decade of Reagan.
Being fettered to the 80’s has not served them well in the 90’s or the 2000’s, but ultimately the band is lucky to have emerged when they did. Another five years and there would have been no way a rock band like them could have even scratch the Hot 100 charts. Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible for a traditional rock band to make it big. Thank goodness for the old people’s chart, otherwise known as Adult Contemporary.
If you were kicking around in the 1980’s, dust of those Huey Lewis and the News albums. If you were just a glimmer in someone’s eye in the 1980’s, then download the following three Huey Lewis and the News’ albums: Sports, Fore and Small World. Now when you play those files don’t be afraid by what you hear, those strange noises are actual real instruments played by real musicians.
After a few listens, after the nostalgia or the shock has worn off, you’ll either be reminded of just how good they were or you’ll be introduced to a really great rock and roll band.