Huey Lewis And The News

Huey Lewis & the News were a bar band that made good. With their simple, straightforward rock & roll, the San Francisco-based group became one of America's most popular pop/rock bands of the mid-'80s. Inspired equally by British pub rock and '60s R&B and rock & roll, the News had a driving, party-hearty spirit that made songs like "Workin' for a Livin'," "I Want a New Drug," "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "Hip to Be Square" and "The Power of Love" yuppie anthems. At their core, the group were a working band, and they knew how to target their audience, writing odes to 9-to-5 jobs and sports. As the decade progressed, the group smoothed out their sound to appeal to the aging baby boomers who adopted them, but by the beginning of the '90s, the appeal of their formula had decreased. Nevertheless, the group remained a popular concert attraction, and they continued to have radio hits on adult contemporary stations.

The roots of Huey Lewis & the News lay in Clover, an early-'70s country-rock band from San Francisco that featured Lewis (vocals, harmonica) and keyboardist Sean Hopper. Clover moved to England in 1976 upon the urging of Nick Lowe, who believed they could fit into the U.K.'s pub rock scene. In a short time, the group cultivated a small following. Lowe produced the group's first single, "Chicken Funk," which featured lead vocals by Lewis and, the following year, the band, minus Lewis, supported Elvis Costello on his debut album, My Aim Is True. Polygram released two Clover albums that failed to find an audience and when their leader, John McFee, left the group to join the Doobie Brothers, the band broke up and returned to California. Before returning to the States, Lewis played harmonica on Lowe's Labour of Lust and Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary, which also featured Lewis' song "Bad Is Bad."

Upon their return to America, Lewis and Hopper began jamming at a Marin County bar called Uncle Charlies, which is where they formed American Express with Mario Cipollina (bass), Johnny Colla (saxophone, guitar) and Bill Gibson (drums), who had all played in Soundhole, one of Van Morrison's backing bands in the late '70s. American Express recorded a disco version of "Theme From Exodus," calling it "Exodisco." Mercury released the single, which was ignored. In 1980, the group added lead guitarist Chris Hayes and were offered a contract by Chrysalis who requested that the band change their name. The members chose Huey Lewis & the News and the band's eponymous debut was released later that year to little attention.

Picture This, the group's second album, was released early in 1982 and the record became a hit on the strength of the Top Ten single "Do You Believe in Love," which was written by former Clover producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. A couple other minor hits, "Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do" and "Workin' for a Livin'" followed, and the band began building a strong following by touring heavily. Sports, the group's third album, was released in the fall of 1983 and it slowly became a multi-platinum success, thanks to touring and a series of clever, funny videos that received heavy MTV airplay. "Heart and Soul" (number eight, 1983), "I Want a New Drug" (number six, 1984), "The Heart of Rock & Roll" (number six, 1984) and "If This Is It" (number six, 1984) all became Top Ten hits, and Sports climbed to number one in 1984; it would eventually sell over seven million copies. Late in 1984, Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr., claiming that his song "Ghostbusters" plagiarized "I Want a New Drug." The suit was settled out of court. The News had their first number one single in 1985 with "The Power of Love," taken from the soundtrack to Back to the Future.

Huey Lewis & the News returned with their fourth album, Fore!, in 1986. The record sailed to number one on the strength of five Top Ten singles: "Stuck With You" (number one, 1986), "Hip to Be Square" (number three, 1986), "Jacob's Ladder" (number one, 1987), "I Know What I Like" (number nine, 1987), and "Doing It All for My Baby" (number six, 1987). The band was riding high on the charts when they decided to expand their musical reach with 1988's Small World, dipping tentatively into various American roots musics. While the record produced the Top Ten hit "Perfect World," it was a commercial disappointment after two chart-topping, multi-platinum albums, stalling at number 11 on the charts and only going platinum.

The News took three years to follow up Small World with Hard at Play, which was released on their new label, EMI. Hard to Play failed to break the Top 20 and only produced one hit, "Couple Days Off." The group's commercial heyday had clearly passed, and the group took the remainder of the '90s rather easy, touring sporadically and releasing the covers album Four Chords & Several Years Ago in 1994. Their first release for Elektra Records, the album generated one adult contemporary radio hit, "But It's Alright," and failed to go gold

Franchot Tone

It takes a certain, quiet strength to work in the shadows, and an entirely
different kind of fortitude to step into the light. Franchot Tone is
blessed with all of the above. The Oregon-based singer/songwriter/producer
isn't a household name, thanks to his decidedly behind-the-scenes work on
some of the coolest musical projects to emerge from the West Coast in
recent years. But his sound is unmistakable: take a pitch-perfect pinch of
vintage reggae and dub, a sun-fried splash of laid-back SoCal pop-rock,
and a heaping helping of Meters-style funk and soul, and you've got Tone's
brew. It's a flavor he's added to a bunch of projects that didn't bear his
name, choosing creativity and fulfillment over fame. Over the past several
months, however, a solo path has revealed itself, illuminated at every
turn by someone else. Now, Tone is stepping up to the front of the stage
for the first time. It's a new role, but one he's tackling with confidence
and a sense that it's one he's meant to play. More than ever, we live in a
world where artists will do anything to find themselves in the spotlight.
In Franchot Tone's case, the spotlight found him.

Over the past several years, Tone has built an impressive resume, both as
a performer and as a studio wizard. His best-known work is as one half of
the Culver City Dub Collective, the critically acclaimed band he shares
with drummer Adam Topol. He has also performed on stage with Garth Brooks,
Jack Johnson, Ozomatli, ALO and The Doors' Robby Krieger, and he has
opened for The Wailers, Toots & The Maytals, The English Beat, Michael
Franti & Spearhead, The Greyboy Allstars, Piers Faccini and Forro In The
Dark. The list of artists Tone has worked with in the studio or produced
tracks for is long, highlighted by Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, The Used,
Money Mark, Bedouin Soundclash, Goldfinger, Cava, Tom Dumont (No Doubt)
and Fredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys) and his own band, the Culver City Dub
Collective.

$78-$39

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Huey Lewis And The News with Franchot Tone

Tuesday, September 11 · Doors 5:00 PM / Show 6:30 PM at Les Schwab Amphitheater