Oh, the things that Huey Lewis taught me. The way he and the News threw down the funky barroom jams-like George Thorogood always wished he could-expanded my preadolescent mind in directions that may never have otherwise been explored. Profound questions arose whenever I would pop Sports or Small World into my portable tape player. Questions like, What kind of drug makes you feel three feet thick? More importantly, Where can I get some?
To me, it was all about the Huey.
Now here I am, barely an adult and as hip a square as ever there was, but I must ask myself: With all those days of listening to the future of adult contemporary, what have I-nay-what has the world gained? What would the world be like without Huey Lewis and the News?
Without Huey Lewis, I may have been led to believe that the heart of rock 'n' roll was in Topeka or Scranton or maybe even Tallahassee. Growing up in the rural expanse of northern Nevada, my world view was limited by the mountains that cradled the sun's abusive rise and descent. How would I have known the heart of rock 'n' roll was in Cleveland if Huey hadn't smartened me up? Michael Jackson, too busy playing with his monkey and calling it strangely affectionate names, certainly wasn't going to tell me.
Without Huey Lewis, the Back to the Future trilogy would have flopped bigger than your "calling Dr. Atkins" cousin plummeting off the 10-meter board. Robert Zemekis probably would have closed up shop after the first movie if it hadn't been for my boy Huey. "Power of Love" and "Back in Time" took a paltry little science fiction movie and catapulted it into the genre's upper echelons by taking two of the movie's main themes-love and time travel-and condensing them into little pop gems that doubled as plot sketches.
And speaking of movies, who else but Huey Lewis could have been so successfully ripped off by Ray Parker Jr. when writing the theme song for Ghostbusters? There's no way his song could have captured the tone and scope of that film so well had Parker ripped off a lesser talent. I don't want to live in a world where "Ghostbusters" is sung to a sped-up version of "Rhinestone Cowboy." I don't think you do either.
Without Huey Lewis, the world would be a darker place in general. "News" would just be an inverted pyramid. Sports would just be a game grown men play with balls. Hell, without The News, there might not be anything in the paper worth reading. There would be no KPRI radio, no fruited plains and no sneeze guards on salad bars. Hardly anyone would use the mantra, "What Would Huey Do?" as a blueprint for life.
And who the hell would have starred opposite Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow in the smash-hit Duets? Mel Gibson? I don't fuckin' think so.
I shudder to think what our world would be like without Huey Lewis, but thankfully that's something I don't have to fathom. I take solace in the fact that I'm lucky enough to live in a world where Huey Lewis and the News continue to rock-despite the fact that they haven't had a hit song in the past 15 years. ©
Huey Lewis and the News perform at Viejas Concerts in the Park, 8 p.m. on Sept. 12. $65. 619-220-8497.