Sports–Hit Huey Lewis and the News vinyl LP returns for 40th anniversary

Review by C.J. Bunce

This year fans of Huey Lewis and the News have a reason to celebrate.   Sports, the band’s big breakout album, was released September 15, 1983, and for the 40th anniversary Lewis, Chris Hayes, Bill Gibson, Johnny Colla, Sean Hopper, and Mario Cipollina can be heard again just like we first heard them.  The band is issuing an anniversary re-release of Sports via two vinyl LP editions this Fall.

If you were lucky enough to hear the News live, no other band had their singular brand of energy and fun.  That was in large part due to the singles from this 7X Platinum album that charted on Billboard for 160 weeks and delivered four of the band’s eventual nineteen Top 10 songs.

In 1983 I first saw this list on the back of another kid’s T-shirt: The Heart of Rock and Roll, Heart and Soul, Bad is Bad, Walking on a Thin Line, Finally Found a Home, If This Is It, You Crack Me Up, and Honky Tonk Blues, and in bigger letters I Want a New Drug.  Apparently the concert had been the night before.  The teacher made the kid go home and change because it said, “I Want a New Drug.”  Pretty soon I–and nearly everyone else–had that LP.

Credit the band for putting out a self-produced album for its third effort, leaning into its own sounds instead of a studio producer’s outside influences.  The band mixed the lyrics and styles being heard from performers like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, but the News came across as more laid back.  The News also had an unpretentious look and feel in the face of the gigantic marketing of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince.  It has been called a “glorified bar band,” but it’s one that had appeal and stood the test of time.

Five songs on the album had videos playing on MTV in the 1980s, more than even Thriller, and you can only imagine how much more success Sports would have seen if Michael Jackson hadn’t hit stardom that year, too.

If you haven’t seen the videos in a while, you can find them all on YouTube here:

The video for The Heart of Rock and Roll won a Grammy Award.  Lewis, Colla, and Hayes would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for their single The Power of Love from the movie Back to the Future.  Lewis stopped touring in 2018 after a hearing issue prevented him from singing with the band.

It’s a great fix for anyone wanting to revisit an epic year of music from the 1980s.  You can pre-order either a vintage style black vinyl LP version or a green vinyl version of Sports now via the band’s website.  Or grab one of the millions of vintage copies, still available here at Amazon.  Get even more of your Retro Fix with a re-watch of MTV’s Behind the Music on Huey Lewis (Season 1, episode 3), streaming on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime.

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