Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love

First Hit #1: August 24, 1985

Sometimes a movie comes along that just captures a decade, and Back to the Future is one of those films. It kind of has to, since it has to underline the differences between 1985 and 1955 by getting as many trends as possible into short segments of film. That means the fashion, scenery, cars, music, everything, it’s got to be something that is instantly recognizable as current.

Huey Lewis and the News are barely cool – they did write a song called hip to be square, let’s not forget – but they do sound like 1985, even before they became part of one of the year’s biggest films. Big, synth laden power pop that sounds sort of like Van Halen’s Jump has aged a few years, Power of Love gives a powerful sense of time that is needed for the film. In some ways, it’s an ’80s overdose, a piece of music that would seem incredibly dated only a few years later. But that’s part of its charm, and part of the film’s continuing charm: Every era is a precise time and place that you can’t go back to, but with a little bit of film magic it can somehow feel like you’ve gone back there.

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One Response to Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love

  1. RBerman says:

    I’m not going to think about how in a just two years, 1985 will be more in the past than 1955 was at the time. I’m not. Out loud, anyway. The message of the movie was basically, “80s teens are not only cooler than their parents are as grownups, they’re cooler than their parents were as teens.” Small wonder the theaters packed ’em in.

    Like Dire Straits, Huey Lewis and the News were more of a bar band made good than a cool band, and yet as you say good enough to be stereotypical of good 80s pop. The News were such an ebullient good-times band that when they occasionally pulled out a socially conscious song, e.g. “Walking on a Thin Line,” its dark lyrics were hard to take at face value. Their roots ran deep into 50s R&B, as celebrated in the song “The Heart of Rock and Roll” in particular, as well as a later album “Four Chords and Several Years Ago.” The James Brown-style horn section has been synthed out, in the service of this syrupy lyric (“change your heart into a little white dove”) that’s about romantic love itself rather than about a lover.

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