By Benjamin Hochman
The Denver Post
My favorite song in the history of songs is by my favorite band in the history of bands (besides the Beatles and Slayer) — and that band is Huey Lewis and the News. The song? “The Power of Love,” which is awesomely awesome.
I like Huey Lewis with the fervor of a schoolgirl who likes Bieber — unequivocally and unashamed — and guess who’s coming to town (I couldn’t decide if I should end this sentence with the proper question mark or an extraneous exclamation point — for the sake of my editors, I’ll go with the former)?
Huey Lewis and the News will play Comfort Dental Amphitheatre on Sunday, along with Joe Cocker and his legendary rasp.
So why do I love Huey so much? His music is just fun — you can feel the fun he’s having, the fun the band is having, and it transcends the music — which, in turn, transcends generations because, darn it, it’s just fun music.
I always say they should be on the Super Bowl halftime show. “The Power of Love.” “Heart of Rock & Roll.” “Workin’ For A Livin’.” “Hip To Be Square.” Shoot, with other songs such as “Back In Time,” “If This Is It” and “I Want a New Drug,” they could bring him back the next year, too — they could be a Super Bowl dynasty, a la the Cowboys of the ’90s or 49ers of the ’80s.
Speaking of which, Lewis is, in fact, a huge 49ers fan — his band is based out of San Francisco, he recently sung the national anthem at a Niners playoff game, and he even befriended their legendary coach Bill Walsh. So when I, a Denver Post sports writer, called up Huey for this story, we talked sports before we talked “Sports” (his 1983 album).
Huey was funny. I told him I was a sports writer, so he said he’d talk to me like the people I normally interview — cliché-spewing athletes.
“We’ll try to take it one song at a time,” he deadpanned. “I won’t get too far ahead of myself — it’s a long, long set. But I’ll give it 110 percent.”
So what, Huey Lewis, is your favorite Huey Lewis song?
“We’re not allowed to pick favorites,” he said. “We write and produce them ourselves — it’s like choosing your favorite kid or something, it’s just not fair.”
So what if a guy in Denver told you that “Power of Love” is his favorite song in the history of songs?
“I’d say that guy has excellent musical taste,” Lewis said. “That’s cool, it really was a magical time for us. Chris (Hayes) and I wrote it real quickly, and we cut it in two days. We had recorded the song and then were doing the vocals — we were in the middle of it, eye on the ball. I did the vocals and Sean (Hooper) came in, our keyboard player, and he tapped me on the shoulder. Sean said, ‘You know what? That’s the best thing we’ve ever done.’ And he was probably right at that point.”
“The Power of Love” became their first No. 1 hit. It was featured in the ’80s classic film “Back To The Future.” It was nominated for an Academy Award. And it would be my walk-up song if I ever played in the major leagues. And to quote the character Nick from TV’s “The New Girl,” “When I work out, I listen to Huey Lewis because it pumps me up. Not ironically.”
I learned some cool stuff about Lewis during our chat. He talked about how long it took him to finally make it big, saying, “I turned 30 years old with $300 to my name.” He said one of the neatest moments of his life was playing golf with San Francisco baseball legend Willie Mays (“He’s just the sweetest guy on the planet.”).
He cherished the three nights he played Red Rocks in 1985, which also allowed him to attend the final round of the PGA Championship at Cherry Hills. There, he met the golfer Peter Jacobsen, who is now one of his really good friends. And as for his music overall, Lewis said he remains a perfectionist: “I still agonize over them and say, ‘I can’t believe the guitar is that loud’ or ‘I can’t hear the tambourine.’ You should be able to let it go at a certain point, but I can’t.”
And as for Sunday’s show, he’s almost as fired up as I am.
“It’s going to be a great show with Cocker — you never know with these things, the double-bill, but in this case, I think it really works great,” he said. “People will definitely get their money’s worth.”
Benjamin Hochmann covers the Denver Nuggets for The Denver Post.