Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"Hip to Be Square" by Huey Lewis & the News

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2902
Date:  10/18/1986
Debut:  42
Peak:  3
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's fourth album, Fore!, got off to a strong start with its doo wop-ish first single, "Stuck with You," reaching #1. It was the band's second chart topper. For a follow-up, this more rollicking track was selected. It fit the bill at Rock becoming their third #1 on that chart. It also was a winner at Pop getting to #3 for a couple of weeks. The week this single debuted on the Pop chart, the album reached #1. It would only stay in that spot for a week, but it would be a consistent seller over the next year and would eventually go triple-platinum.

ReduxReview:  I wasn't the biggest fan of "Stuck with You" and this next single didn't tickle my fancy either. I thought it was kind of dorky and was a bit too similar to some of their other material like "The Heart of Rock & Roll." The band was pretty much staying the course, which worked out fine for them, but their retro-ish R&B-rock sound was wearing thin on me. I pretty much ignored this tune back in the day, but it's really not a bad song. It is well done and has some goofy appeal. I can appreciate it a little better these days, but it's still nothing I'd get a hankerin' to hear.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Near the end of the song, Lewis says "tell 'em boys" and a group of guys are heard responding. Do the voices sound familiar?  Probably not, but they do come from famous folk. Lewis and the band were from the San Francisco area and as their career took off they got opportunities to get friendly with members of the local pro football team the 49ers. Lewis brought in a few members of the team to do some background vocals including Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Dwight Clark. They are heard on this song as well as another upcoming hit from the LP, "I Know What I Like."  2) If you've seen the video for this song then you are familiar with all the odd close ups and camera angles. How did they achieve the strange camera work? Directors Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (of 10cc fame) chose an unusual camera to get the images. They used a medical scope - the type that is used inside the human body during certain medical procedures. The camera was so small that Godley & Creme had to have the band perform the song as close as possible to it, which then produced unusual viewpoints. Because it was tiny, it allowed Godley & Creme to get other unusual shots like going down the center of a spring-like amp cord or looking down a drum stick as it was being played. Their creative efforts earned them an MTV Video Awards nomination for Best Experimental Video.


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