Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Huey Lewis & The News

Responsible for two of the seminal and defining albums of the 1980’s, along with enduringly popular film music to movies like Back To The Future and Pineapple Express, as well as the counterfeit of their music that became the theme to Ghostbusters, Huey Lewis & The News is a band that has an odd place in terms of rock & roll criticism. Aside from their two core albums, they had some moderately popular work, but as one of the bands that defined popular rock in the 1980’s, they have suffered along with many other notable artists from that period [1]. Their early top 10 hit, “The Heart Of Rock & Roll,” ironically enough predicted this state of affairs, pointing out that the even if it seemed as if the heart of rock & roll was barely breathing, that it was still beating nonetheless, as would be proven definitively by the massive success of grunge and post-grunge in the 1990’s and beyond. Yet the band’s own contributions to rock and roll were largely neglected or looked down on by many critics who viewed it as soulless corporate rock, rather than ironic work that was deeply in touch with soul.

The Influence of Huey Lewis & The News

The influence of Huey Lewis and the news can be judged from a few elements. For one, two of the core members of the band were part of the band Clover, and performed as the backup for Elvis Costello on his My Aim Is True sessions, before the band scattered to become elite songwriters and members of various popular 80’s bands, most notably Huey Lewis & The News, but also Toto, the Doobie Brothers, and Tommy Tutone, to give a couple of examples. Then there is the undeniable cultural influence of Huey Lewis & The News themselves, from the fact that their music remains a touchstone of the 1980’s, and the fact that long after their peak popularity they performed the theme to Pineapple Express. This suggests that at least some people recognize the subversive nature of Huey Lewis & The News and their work, with what appears to be complacent and careerist movies on the outside being slyly critical of what they are often assumed to represent. In addition to their larger cultural and musical importance, Huey Lewis & The News is also important for their own songs and albums, which remain in heavy rotation to this day with enduring catalog value.

Why Huey Lewis & The News Belonging In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Besides their important heritage as a band, and besides their cultural importance, the band deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame because of their songs and albums. Both Sports and Fore went multiplatinum and were seminal albums of the 1980’s, and besides that they have a platinum album and three additional gold albums, showing that their peak popularity was not a fluke. In terms of their songs, many of which remain in heavy rotation on 80’s and classic rock stations to this day, they had three Billboard #1 hits (“The Power Of Love,” “Stuck With You,” and “Jacob’s Ladder,” one of Bruce Hornsby’s best works), nine additional top ten hits (“Do You Believe In Love,” “Heart And Soul,” “I Want A New Drug,” which was ripped off for the theme from “Ghostbusters,” “The Heart Of Rock & Roll,” “If This Is It,” “Hip To Be Square,” “I Know What I Like,” “Doing It All For My Baby,” and “Perfect World,” along with five additional top 40 hits and numerous other worthwhile songs besides that. This is a body of work that compares to anyone else from their decade, and shows them as far more than disposable pop rock.

Why Huey Lewis & The News Aren’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

For the most part, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame skipped over the 1980’s except for some hard rock bands, and has gone from some of the more notable singer/songwriters of the 1970’s to the grunge bands of the early 1990’s. At some point a reappraisal of the 1980’s and its worth to rock & roll music will happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Verdict: Put them in, although there is a long line of worthwhile and snubbed 1980’s bands in line with them. Let them perform a lot of their soul music as well, and pay homage to the bands that inspired their own enduring white soul work.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-chicago/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bryan-adams/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-talk-talk/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-foreigner/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-tears-for-fears/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-phil-collins/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-gloria-estefan-the-miami-sound-machine/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-toto/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bon-jovi/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-the-cars/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-sting/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-the-eurythmics/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-journey/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-depeche-mode/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-the-doobie-brothers/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Huey Lewis & The News

  1. Pingback: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Cure | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Don Henley | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Tim melder says:

    Not having Huey and the guys inducted may be irrefutable proof the h o f is completely without credibility

  4. mothfire says:

    I dunno. To me “Do You Believe In Love” was a partial ripoff of ELO’s “Sweet Talking Woman”. That really colored my view of the band for a very long time. In addition, it is a garbage song. Nevermind that it was “written” by Mutt Lange (which I found out later). “Heart and Soul” was also a garbage song.
    That said, the rest of the songs you mentioned are pretty solid. I don’t think they had that much of an influence on rock and roll… they seemed more of a nostalgia band to me.
    I would not vote them into the RRHOF, but I wouldn’t have a problem if they got in.

    • Yes, you are right that “Do You Believe In Love?” was a rip-off of “Sweet Talking Woman,” something that is immediately evident when one hears the songs, but they are certainly a worthwhile 80’s band that managed to have career throughout the decade. They are the sort of band that is likely to have a lot more popular appeal than critical appeal, and if they get in it would likely be from the fan vote.

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