Day 237: The Power Of Love

Song: “The Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News
Reached #1: August 24, 1985 (their first, 2 weeks)

The power of a #1 hit…

You take two competing San Francisco bands – Clover and Soundhole.  You cherrypick the best from both, and set yourself up as lead singer.  You’re Huey Lewis.  And you name this new band…

Huey Lewis & the American Express.

Yeah, that didn’t last long.  For some reason, the company behind American Express charge cards took offense… you wonder if they would have been so upset if they had been able to travel back to the future to see where the band was going.  Anyway, they took the name we now know them by – Huey Lewis & The News – and promptly…

…fizzled.

Their first album, in 1980, was released to a tremendous round of apathy.  Fortunately, they connected with former Clover producer Mutt Lange (yes, Shania Twain’s future ex-husband), who wrote a song for their second album.  You might have heard of it – “Do You Believe In Love”.  Their third album, Sports, was their real breakout.

Then… they were asked to contribute a couple of songs and a cameo appearance to a sci-fi comedy starring a sitcom star who was trying to cross into movies.  You might have heard of it – Back To The Future.

Actually, “The Power Of Love” shows up in all three BTTF movies – and it rode both the band’s new fame and the breakout of the movie to be the first of the News’ three #1 hits.

Of course, you might know that the band had an indirect role in another movie soundtrack hit.  When Ghostbusters came out, the band noticed that the theme song by Ray Parker Jr. sounded… familiar.  In fact, it sounded like their “I Want A New Drug”.  So much so that they sued, and forced a settlement, which led to their decision to be part of Back To The Future.  Years later, it came out that “I Want A New Drug” had been used on pre-production prints of Ghostbusters – one of which had been given to Parker when he wrote the theme song (after the News turned down a request to use the song).  Yes, Parker had been set up, perhaps accidentally, by the movie’s producers – which is probably why it was so easy to get the settlement in the first place.  “Ghostbusters” was finishing up its run at #1 one year prior to “The Power Of Love” getting there… hmmm….

Personally, of the News’ #1 hits, I prefer “Jacob’s Ladder”, their third and final #1 – but it fell on the same day as a Will Smith hit that I wanted to feature.  Since I regret skipping it, here’s a bonus… Huey Lewis & The News, live on the BBC…

Higher and higher…

Tomorrow, a song that’s hit the top of the charts twice… but may be most fondly remembered (by those of a certain age) for the version that didn’t get there…

Other songs that reached #1 on August 24:
1959 –
“The Three Bells” by the Browns (their first, 4 weeks)
1974 – “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka with Odia Coates (his third, 3 weeks)

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