Number Ones: #53


  • HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS The Power Of Love (Chrysalis)
  • Week Ending 14th September 1985
  • 1 Week At #1

Looking back, it’s surprising how quickly I went from discovering the UK Top 40 Chart was the most important thing in my life, and wanting to imitate it by creating my own, to discovering that the UK Top 40 wasn’t really reflecting my own developing tastes, and looking beyond weekday Radio 1 and Top Of The Pops for my inspiration.

The start of 1985 saw my first #1 that didn’t make the UK Top 40 at all, and by the summer of 1985 it wasn’t unusual for a new release from a favourite band to go straight in at the top. Next, there would be a #1 which for a while wasn’t even available in British record stores but had been conquering the Billboard Hot 100. Step forward, Huey Lewis & The News.

Paul Gambaccini’s Saturday radio slot, focused around all things American, was shaping a lot of my listening habits. There was something about the US charts, perhaps because of the sheer size of the country, which fascinated me; the fact their main chart was a Top 100 alone was extraordinary, with its low debut positions and slow climbs. Record Mirror would also feature extensive US singles and album charts, and I did in fact begin putting together a personal weekly US Top 40 of sorts, but never stuck at it beyond a few months.

The Power Of Love arrived at the height of this American fixation, the “theme” song from a new film called Back To The Future which wouldn’t even reach UK cinemas until several months down the line. Such was my eagerness to own this slice of synth-driven AOR, repeated visits to Our Price resulted in either blank looks from staff or polite suggestions to “maybe wait until it’s released over here, yeah?”. I was determined to get a copy, but the taped version off MW Radio with Gambo’s dulcet tones over the intro would have to suffice until then, a situation that only perhaps music obsessives of a certain age will identify with (kids today don’t know how lucky they are, etc).

Huey Lewis & The News were having a bit of an imperial phase in the US, starting with the hits from 1983’s Sports such as I Want A New Drug, The Heart Of Rock N Roll, Heart and Soul and If This Is It. Their run would continue unabated with The Power Of Love and then all of the other singles lifted from the follow-up to Sports, September 1986’s Fore!.

Some of the Sports singles flirted with the lower half of the UK Top 75, but The Power Of Love would prove the big breakthrough (and received a second chart wind once the film opened in cinemas). They may have not been revolutionary, but they knew how to pen a good tune. Aided by Huey’s amiable personality and appealing vocals, the band were possibly the most unlikely megastars of the ’80s until the hits suddenly dried up in 1988 with the well-below-par Small World album.

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