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Archive for the tag “Huey Lewis”

Bad News for Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis poster 2014

Quirky T was very saddened to find out that Huey Lewis has lost his hearing. As a result, he cannot perform and had to cancel all his band’s 2018 concerts. I feel so bad for what he is going through personally and professionally. I pray that the hearing loss is not permanent and he can return to singing and performing very soon.

cu Huey Lewis Sports poster

I am extremely lucky to have seen Huey Lewis and the News in concert four times between 2009 and 2014. I have been a fan since their 1983 album, “Sports”. I had to wait 26 years until I first saw them in concert. After that first concert, I tried to see them every chance I could. Luckily that was not hard to do since they tour every year, mostly in the summer months. I’m so happy that I saw them multiple times because I would really be regretting it now if I had missed my opportunities. I feel so bad for all the fans who have tickets to the upcoming cancelled concerts and now won’t have the amazing concert experiences I had. Hopefully, the majority of them have seen the band before and have great memories.

 

This sad news has made me realize how lucky I am to have seen all my favorite musicians in concert (except The Beatles). It makes me want to take advantage of any future concert opportunities I have. That includes seeing Phil Collins in his limited physical capacity. I really appreciate Farewell and Final Tours now because at least those artists could decide on their own when to stop performing and let their fans know it’s the last chance to see them in concert.

 

Hopefully, this isn’t the end of performing and making music for Huey Lewis. I’ll be praying and waiting for his joyful return.

 

Guitar Train passengers, who are you very grateful to have seen in concert?

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Quirky T Examines Representative Love Songs

Starship T-shirt

 

Quirky T has some post Valentine’s Day musical observations. Where I work love songs are played constantly since a high percentage of pop songs from the 80’s to today are love songs. My workplace playlist regularly plays Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Peter Cetera, and Elton John so love songs are highly represented on a daily basis. The plus side of the daily repetition is I enjoy these artists. On an almost daily basis, I can also hear two (love) songs from one of my faves, Huey Lewis (“Do You Believe in Love?” and “Happy to be Stuck with You”). I can also hear a favorite (love) song from my favorite movie – The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” from “Benny and Joon”. So the only way I realized that the music selection had changed to a Valentine theme a few days before the holiday was when I heard Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”. It definitely stuck out among the more modern music. It’s interesting that even though mostly every song being played was a love song, the music programmers thought they had to dig deep decades before the 80’s to find true love songs. It got me excited that maybe next I would hear some Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. I didn’t. Nat King Cole was the anomaly. The other “Valentine’s songs” were from the 80’s to today and included Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Cloud 9 CD cover

I found it interesting when all the possible love songs in the world are narrowed down to just three songs to represent this incredibly large and diverse genre. A store sold musical balloons for Valentine’s Day with only a choice of three songs – “Got My Mind Set on You” the George Harrison version,   “You’re the One that I Want” from the movie “Grease”, and “Hooked on a Feeling”. Of course I prefer the George Harrison song but I don’t think it’s his most romantic song. “Something” and “Old Brown Shoe” come to mind before that cover song. The song from “Grease” is fun but problematic when you consider the scene from the movie where the song appears. Danny makes positive changes to his life to impress Sandy such as giving up smoking and exercising. While Sandy takes up smoking and dressing slutty to attract Danny. So who really is the one that they want? The one who they really are or the one that they become to impress each other? “Hooked on a Feeling” is not the most romantic song as it is more about lust than romantic, lasting love. Plus, whenever I hear that song, I think of the dancing baby on the TV show “Ally McBeal”.

Hallmark, the greeting card company, actually sold vinyl 45 records with their Valentine greeting cards. The three records chosen were Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are”/”Marry You”,  Aretha Frankin’s “Respect”/”Think”, and INXS’ “Need You Tonight”/”Never Tear Us Apart”. Again, I am not sure these are the best love songs to represent all love songs. Even being limited to just Atlantic Records recording artists would yield a huge amount of love songs. (For example, my favorite Phil Collins who released a compilation actually called “Love Songs”). The Bruno Mars songs are appropriate, romantic, and current. The Aretha Franklin songs are more warnings to men than love songs. “Need You Tonight” like “Hooked on a Feeling” is more about lust than love. While “Never Tear Us Apart” seems romantically appropriate. I’m surprised that INXS was included with the amazing Bruno Mars and the legendary Aretha Franklin. If not for the quirky fact that my workplace actually plays those two INXS songs on an almost daily basis, I probably wouldn’t have heard those songs since they came out thirty years ago.

 

Songs do send messages so the musical balloons or records with the greeting cards given to a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day could be a way of sending a message that may not be as romantic as the occasion calls for. Of course it’s hard to narrow down a huge genre to less than 10 representative songs. I just found it interesting which songs were chosen to represent that love.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what three songs would you choose to represent Valentine’s Day?

 

How Much Do You Want To Know?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Recently, Quirky T bought two musical memoirs to read aboard The Guitar Train. I have finished reading Phil Collins’ 2016 autobiography, “Not Dead Yet” and am partway through his Genesis bandmate, Mike Rutherford’s, “The Living Years”. The minute I heard Phil Collins was writing a memoir, I knew I had to read it. While looking online for the release date, I came across Mike Rutherford’s book. It was published in 2014. It is interestingly labeled as “the first Genesis memoir” which seems an odd way to promote it. It’s not as if the former bandmates are in a huge feud and one wanted to get his side of the story out before another did. I ordered this first Genesis autobiography but I read it after Phil Collins’.

My interest in reading these books is for the information on what led the musicians to write the songs I love. I’m not very interested in their family lives and I’m definitely not interested in the details of their excessive drinking and drug use. Decades ago, when I first became a Beatles fan, I had to read every book I could find about them. I had to know as much as possible. I needed to know the chronology of their musical journey as well as if they were married and how many children they had. That might be a Beatles fan thing where these are basic facts that every true Beatles fan is supposed to know. I don’t feel that way about my other favorite musicians and bands – Gloria Estefan, Phil Collins, Genesis, Huey Lewis and the News, and Jon Secada. I know about Gloria Estefan’s family life because it is simple- she married the only man she ever dated, has a son and a daughter and is still married to the same man. I only know about Phil Collins’ personal life because it is complicated and very public. So much of his autobiography reflected that. I didn’t realize the incredible backlash he felt when he ended his second marriage. He felt that people who paid to see him in concert were against him. That surprised me because they were fans and I couldn’t imagine a musician feeling like his own fans didn’t like him and still having to perform for them. I wasn’t aware of all this when I saw him in concert but I wouldn’t have held it against him because I like to hear both sides of the story.

I have never had a thought about Mike Rutherford’s personal life. His memoir is interesting because he contrasts his rock and roll life with the strict military life of his father. It is also interesting to read his point of view on Genesis events I had read about in Phil Collins’ memoir. Again, no feud between them. In fact, the end of Genesis had no drama at all. Phil wrote that he was nervous in 1996 about telling Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford that he was leaving the group because “these are my oldest musical friends. Two of my oldest friends, full stop.” When told the news, Tony replied, “Well, it’s a sad day.” Mike said, “We understand. We’re just surprised you stayed this long.” I haven’t finished reading Mike Rutherford’s book yet because like Phil Collins’ book, I want to read it slowly to extend my last new connection to Genesis since there’s no new music or tour coming from them.

 

On the topic of tours, I have seen some videos of Phil Collins’ recent tour in Europe. The videos sadden me because of Phil’s physical state. He only sits on a stool and sings. No more drumming. He looks old and frail just like he did when he promoted “Not Dead Yet” on TV talk shows. I feel so badly that he is in pain and not physically what he once was. I don’t know if I’d be able to go to his concert and really enjoy it. I’d be thinking about how vibrant he was and sad about what he is.

 

The two memoirs did not give me huge insight on the inspirations behind their songwriting. That is especially true in the case of the Phil Collins led Genesis since they wrote all their songs together and did not claim individual songwriting credit. Phil wrote in his book, “The three of us have a chat and come to an agreement that anything we’ve finished writing as an individual, we’ll keep for ourselves for future solo projects. Any incomplete but promising ideas, we’ll bring in and put to the band committee.” Phil also debunks the belief that he is responsible for Genesis transitioning from a progressive rock bank to a pop singles band. Writing about the time after Peter Gabriel left Genesis, Phil says, “I’d rather be in an instrumental band than take over the microphone. Tony and Mike have long had aspirations to be songwriters – that is, songs with lyrics, lyrics that need to be sung. More than that: they wanted to write hit songs, singles that will reach the pop charts. It’s a development of some irony that it takes almost ten years of their songwriting skills to “mature” and come up with hit singles – exactly coinciding with the another emerging reality: I’m becoming the singer-by-default.”

 

As a far as the inspirations behind Phil Collins’ solo songs, I already knew that two of his angriest songs (which are two of my favorite songs) “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “Do You Know, Do You Care” came as a result of the bitter divorce from his first wife. He describes himself as “someone who writes from the heart and not the head”.

I guess an autobiography is not the format for writing in depth about a songwriter’s musical inspirations. Of course that type of in depth book has been written about the Beatles’ songs. The best book I read on that topic is Hunter Davis’ “The Beatles Lyrics”. Regardless, the two memoirs by Genesis bandmates were good reads and recommended for their fans.

 

Guitar Train passengers, how much do you want to know about your favorite musicians? Do you want personal details or strictly music related details? For which songwriters would you like to read an in depth explanation of the inspirations for their songs?

Quirky T Stumbles Upon a Way to go “Back in Time”

Walking through the center of a small town recently I was shocked to see the famous DeLorean time machine from the fantastic “Back to the Future” movies. There it was (well, a replica) complete with the lightning rod, hoverboard, and the case holding the plutonium needed to fuel it. I took photos but unfortunately they did not come out as well as I had hoped. (I wish I could use the DeLorean to go back to that day and take more and better photos). I did get to sit in the car which was very low to the ground and smaller than I thought it would be. I’m not a car person but it would the coolest car to own.

photo by Quirky T

“Back to the Future” is one of my favorite movies. I wrote about it in the Guitar Train stop called “The Guitar Train Goes ‘Back to the Future’” on May 21, 2015. https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/?s=Back+to+the+Future Part of the reason I loved the first movie was the Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack and Huey’s small part in the movie. I saw Part II when it came out but I didn’t like it was much as the original. I guess that put me off seeing Part III as well as the fact that I don’t like Westerns. I recently watched all three movies. I still love the original. Part II is still not a favorite; too violent for me. So after all these years, I finally watched Part III and I loved it. It had the charm and fun of the original. To see those familiar characters again was great, even in the Old West setting. It was like watching a reunion. I’m a little mad at myself for taking so long to see the movie yet it was a gift to see something so great for the first time.

photo by Quirky T

Of course being in a “time machine” leads to the question of what period of time I would like to travel to. As I wrote in the Guitar Train stop two years ago, I would definitely go back to experience Beatlemania first hand in either England or the Unites States. Even if I wasn’t lucky enough to go to an actual Beatles concert, I could buy their records as they were released as well as buy the Beatles related memorabilia.

photo by Quirky T

As for traveling to the future, I am not sure what I would want to see. I feel like time goes by so fast that the distant future will be here before I know it. The big attraction to visiting the future is for assurances that situations work out well for yourself, family, friends, and the world. So purely for fun and curiosity, it would be interesting to go ahead 50 years and see if Beatles music is still played and praised 50 years after the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. I remember June 1987 when it really “was twenty years ago today” and I can’t believe 30 years has passed since then. So 50 more years will be here in the blink of an eye. The future always seems scarier than the past yet humans have endured incredibly scary times in the past. Happiness from listening to Beatles music will always be needed.

 

Guitar Train passengers, where in the future would you take the DeLorean and why?

Concert Song Requests of My Faves

 

 

The Guitar Train has been lucky enough to make stops to see all of Quirky T’s favorite musicians (except The Beatles) in live concert performances. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all these concerts, there are some songs which I love that I have never heard performed live. I know musicians are limited as far as which songs they can play because of time constraints, technical production issues, and catering to the audiences’ desires. Or as Huey Lewis says during his concerts when the audience yells out titles of songs they want him to sing, “So many hits, so little time.” So putting all practicality aside (including life and death), here are the songs I would love to hear my favorite musicians perform live at a concert I’m attending.

Help!

For The Beatles, obviously I’d love to have just been at any of their concerts, even with all the screaming. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Paul McCartney perform Beatles songs that the band never even performed together in concert. I would love to hear my favorite Beatles album, “Help!” in its entirety. During the October 15, 2015 concert in Detroit, Michigan, Paul McCartney did play “Another Girl”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, and “Yesterday”. I would have loved to have been a part of that concert experience. Aside from the album “Help!”, these are the other Beatles songs I would like to hear, broken down by whose songs they are.

  • John Lennon – “It Won’t Be Long”, “All I’ve Got to Do”, and “In My Life”
  • Paul McCartney – “I’ll Follow the Sun”, “I Will” , and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”
  • George Harrison – “Old Brown Shoe”, “Here Comes the Sun”, and “Don’t Bother Me”
  • Ringo Starr – “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Honey Don’t” (I know it’s not an original Beatles song but it’s a fun song for Ringo).

Phil Collins t-shirt

From Phil Collins, I would request his angry songs – “I Don’t Care Anymore”, “Do You Know, Do You Care?”, and “Who Said I Would”. To counter the anger, I would love to hear my all time favorite song of all songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life – “We Said Hello Goodbye”.

Genesis glitter T-shirt

I have been lucky that at the two Genesis concerts I attended, Phil Collins sang many of my favorite Genesis songs. To those favorites, I would like to also request “Abacab”, “That’s All”, and “Just a Job To Do.”

gloria!

I’ve been to many Gloria Estefan concerts but I haven’t heard her perform songs from her 1998 CD titled “gloria!” So I would love to hear that CD performed in its entirety since the songs flow into each other non-stop between tracks. If that’s too much to ask for, I’d settle for just my favorite song from that CD – “I Just Wanna Be Happy”. The other Gloria Estefan song I’d love to hear her perform in concert would fit in with the angry Phil Collins songs. It’s appropriately titled “Go Away.”  I’ll add one Spanish song to my requests – “No Me Dejes De Querer (“Flores” Del Caribe Mix)”.

cu Huey Lewis Sports poster

Huey Lewis and the News concerts are way too short as it is so I can definitely request many more songs for the band to play. They could stand to play a few more hits. In 2013, they played their 1983 album, “Sports”, in its entirety to commemorate its 30th anniversary. That was such an amazing experience that I would love for the band to do that again. In addition to that album, the song I’d most like to hear them perform live is the hard rocking “Couple Days Off”.

Jon Secada and Cadbury Creme Egg

The one Jon Secada concert I attended was also very short. Of course, at the time, he had only released two albums. So I would be happy to hear more songs from those two albums as well as other songs he’s released in the 21 years since then. I would definitely love to hear the songs “La, La, La’, “Whipped”, and “I’m Free”.

Barry Manilow Greatest Hits Album cover

For Barry Manilow who I’ve seen in concert twice, I would like to hear my three favorite songs of his – “Break Down the Door”, “Beautiful Music”, and “All the Time”. I would also request a song that he probably plays at every concert – “Can’t Smile Without You”.

 

Steve Winwood ticket stub

Steve Winwood ticket stub

One bonus musician that I have song requests for – Steve Winwood. He’s not a favorite of mine like the others are but I do enjoy several songs of his. I saw him in concert six years ago and I was disappointed that he did not play those favorite songs of mine. Those songs are “While You See a Chance”, “Back in the High Life Again”,  “Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do?”, and “Roll With It”.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are the songs you would request your favorite musicians play at their concerts?

30 Years Later Quirky T Revisits “We Are the World”

We are the World Album cover

Thirty years ago on January 28, 1985 a large group of musical superstars came together to record the charity single “We Are the World”. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. They were following the lead of Bob Geldof who gathered superstar musicians in the United Kingdom in 1984 to record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money to help relieve famine in Africa. “We Are the World” raised over $60 million for the charity. It also won four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Looking back at the artists who participated in “We Are the World”, it was quite an exceptional group. The stars of the 80’s are well represented and joined by legends such as Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. Maybe because Quincy Jones was producing this there was more diversity than would later perform at Live Aid. The only big stars from 1985 who were missing were Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Prince.

cu We are the World album cover

In researching this Guitar Train stop, I came upon various reasons why Prince did not participate. Regardless of what the real reason is, I am very happy with his replacement – Huey Lewis. Huey alone, without the News, sang the bridge part after Michael Jackson and before Cyndi Lauper and Kim Carnes. Kim Carnes was the only singer I did not recognize when I watched the DVD “The Story Behind the Song: 20th Anniversary Special”. For the music video, the artists lined up in a U-shape in the order they sang their lines. So Huey was positioned between Michael Jackson, in full King of Pop regalia, and Cyndi Lauper, wearing an abundance of jewelry. Had Prince been there instead, it would have been an 80’s overload of hair, jewelry, and brocade. Huey brought it down to earth and sang a line (which I can’t write here because of copyright issues) that I could imagine being in one of his songs. Cyndi then does her vocal thing, Kim Carnes adds her two words, and then Huey rejoins them. I think it’s cool that Huey was part of this momentous gathering. Incidentally, the News joined him later to sing in the chorus which also contained many famous musicians including another favorite of mine, The Pointer Sisters. It was nice to see other regular guys such as Billy Joel (whose line to me seems to be right from a Beatles song) and Bruce Springsteen.

In 2010, another group of musicians remade “We Are the World” to benefit Haiti which had experienced a devastating earthquake. I had heard about the remake at the time but I never bothered to listen to it because the only people I had been told were in it were Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. I had no interest in listening to them along with a bunch of current musicians whom I wouldn’t know. When researching this Guitar Train stop, I decided to listen to the updated version. I was pleasantly surprised by the other big name (and talented) musicians who were involved such as Wyclef Jean, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand, and Tony Bennett. Interesting note – Usher sang Huey Lewis’ line in the remake.

We are the World back cover

Back to 1985, the “We Are the World” single was part of an album of the same name which contains songs by artists from the single as well as Prince and Chicago. Huey Lewis and the News contributed the song “Trouble in Paradise”. The album also contains a group of Canadian artists recording a song called “Tears are Not Enough” under the name Northern Lights.

 

To read more about the epic recording of the song “We Are the World”, check out this great article on the “Rolling Stone” website called “’We Are the World: A Minute-by-Minute Breakdown’ on Its 30th Anniversary”. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/we-are-the-world-a-minute-by-minute-breakdown-30th-anniversary-20150306  Also check out the website http://www.usaforafrica.org for much information about the song and other charities.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what did you think about “We Are the World” at the time and what do you think about it now, looking back 30 years later?

 

The Guitar Train is still in 1985 as the next stop takes us to another epic charity event from that year – Live Aid. So hop back aboard The Guitar Train to see this concert from the skewed point of view of my favorite musicians.

The Guitar Train Goes “Back to the Future”

 

The second stop as The Guitar Train goes “Back in Time” to 1985 looks at the great movie that gave us that song – “Back to the Future”. Released on July 3, 1985 this is a classic, must see movie starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. I remember being on line to go into the movie theater thirty years ago and reading the movie poster. The film’s title confused me so I asked my mom, “How can anyone go “back” to the future since the future hasn’t happened yet?” My mom couldn’t answer that question until she saw the movie and understood the very clever premise of the movie.  Almost everything that happens or is talked about in 1985 pays off in 1955 and then back again in 1985.

 

Since this is a music blog, I want to focus on the musical aspects of the movie and Huey Lewis. The music of Huey Lewis and the News is a huge part of this movie as they wrote two songs for the movie, “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time”, which are played repeatedly throughout the movie.   Huey himself appears in an uncredited role in the beginning of the film as a dorky teacher who tells Marty McFly and his band that they are “too darn loud” when they audition by playing an electrified version of “The Power of Love”. The Behind the Scenes feature on “Looking Back to the Future” shows extended footage of Huey’s scene including some of his lines which were cut from the film. Huey is also shown telling Michael J. Fox that his guitar playing is “perfect”. Michael J. Fox had actually been a guitar player since he was a teenager. He was very proud of the fact that he played every note seen on screen in the “Johnny B. Goode” scene.  That leads me to the one aspect of the film that isn’t followed up when Marty returns to 1985. He did get to play guitar for an audience in 1955 but there’s no musical triumph when he returns to 1985. I only saw “Back to the Future Part II” once so I don’t remember if this comes up in that film. I’ll have to watch that one again (as well as Part 3).

 

I have to write more about Michael J. Fox. He was a huge star in 1985 because of his star-making performance in the TV show, “Family Ties”. I loved that show and I bought teen magazines like “Teen Beat” which were filled with photos of him. Because he could not get out of shooting “Family Ties”, “Back to the Future” was actually shot with Eric Stolz playing Marty. Six weeks into filming, production stopped and a deal was made for Michael J. Fox to shoot “Family Ties” during the day and “Back to the Future” at night. So the movie was reshot with Michael J. Fox and he kept up that crazy schedule to complete the movie. He is a great actor and is still acting today. It’s nice that he wasn’t a one hit (or two hit) wonder in 1985 and has had a long, successful acting career.

 

How cool was the DeLorean? I think it would be cool to have just as a car even without it being a time machine. But on second thought, as Michael J. Fox said in the Behind the Scenes feature, it was “not a practical car”. As he pointed out, if you parked next to another car, you wouldn’t be able to open the door to get out. So there’s that and the fact that people would probably expect it to be a time machine and want you to drive 88 mph.

Please Please Me CD cover

 

Let It Be album cover

 

 

 

Writing of time machines, in the Behind the Scenes feature, Huey Lewis was asked where he would go if he could go to another time. He answered the 1950’s which makes sense for him and the style of music he loves. I would go back to 1963 and stay around until 1970 so I could hear Beatles songs as they were first released and everything the band did would be as it happened, not seen in retrospect decades later.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what time period would you go to and why?

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