Friday, December 9, 2016

"The Heart of Rock & Roll" by Huey Lewis & the News

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1875
Date:  04/21/1984
Debut:  51
Peak:  6
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's third album Sports was shaping up to be a major hit. I already spawned two Top 10 hits, "Heart and Soul" and "I Want a New Drug" (#6), and this next single became the third one to reach those heights. It would also get to #5 at Rock. It was during the run of this song that the album finally captured the top spot on the Album chart. Although it would remain there for only a week, the LP's longevity on the chart and time in the Top 10 helped it get ranked as the #2 chart album of the year.

ReduxReview:  This was the song that finally prompted me to buy the album. I liked the three hits and thought that the album had to be just as good. However, besides the hits, I really didn't like the album all that much. I kind of shrugged it off and tossed it to the back of the listening pile. Then I ended up getting Huey fatigue because the singles seemed to be constantly playing on the radio. I was over them quickly. This song was a good one and I enjoyed it at the time, but I don't think it has aged as well as some of the band's other hits. It's a corny crowd pleaser that I don't mind hearing, but I don't seek it out. As an oboist, I was never fond of the line "now the oboe may be barely breathing..."

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  There are a lot of sixes going on here. This song, plus two others from from Sports, peaked at #6. The band had 6 members. I rated this song a 6. Finally, in 2004 Blender magazine placed this song at #6 on their list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever. While that last one may not seem good, the list drew attention to the songs, which translated into some additional airplay and sales. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you wrote, published, and/or licensed the song as it's only gonna pad your pockets. The heart of commerce is still beatin'...



  1. I must point out that the line is actually "Now the *old boy* may be barely breathing".
    But this seems to be one of the most misheard lines in the song, with others' interpretations including "now the oboe may be there to greet them" (as illustrated in a Gavin Edwards book of mondegreens) and even "now the oboe may be banned in Cleveland".

    1. Ha! That is hilarious! I'm caught in a misheard lyric! Frankly, I think "oboe" makes the line better. I had a songwriting professor in college (a music school) who thought the line in "Careless Whisper" was "guilty feelings, got no rhythm." He loved the song and that line. Then he found out it was "guilty feet have got no rhythm" and he though those were the stupidest lyrics ever and wouldn't listen to the song again! Sometimes what we hear in our head can be better than the real thing.