Saturday, June 30, 1984

Huey Lewis & the News’ Sports Hits #1: June 30, 1984

Originally posted June 30, 2011.

In today’s musical landscape, if an album doesn’t debut at #1, its chances of ever reaching that peak are slim. Albums don’t “climb” the charts. They operate more like movies – their first week out of the gate is their biggest and they decline from there.

Huey Lewis & the News released Sports in the autumn of 1983. It first hit the Billboard charts on October 8, 1983. It wasn’t until the next summer that it finally hit the pinnacle for a solitary week. By that time, the album had logged three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. “Heart and Soul” had reached #8, “I Want a New Drug” had climbed two spots higher, and “The Heart of Rock and Roll” was spending its fourth week at #6.

A fourth single – “If This It” – also found itself just outside the top 5. More than a year after the release of the album, “Walking on a Thin Line” was released as a fifth single, peaking at #18. All five singles proved their crossover worth as well by hitting the rock charts. The four top-ten singles did the same on the rock chart. “Heart and Soul” even climbed to #1.

Lewis & Co. had released two albums prior to Sports. Their 1980 self-titled debut didn’t even chart. 1982’s Picture This achieved gold status on the strength of the top ten single “Do You Believe in Love”. The minor hits “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do” and “Working for a Living” followed.

However, Sports turned the group into superstars. This was the heyday of the video age and Lewis & Co. embraced it wholeheartedly. They became mainstays on MTV and developed an identity lacking on their two previous albums. Lewis had an easy air about him; he was an everyman who was funny, self-deprecating, and likable. It was no accident that the album cover depicted the band hanging out at a sports bar. These weren’t just the kind of guys who people wanted to hang out with; this felt like the local bar band which drew crowds week after week because they guaranteed a fun evening.

The group’s next album, 1986’s Fore!, would garner even greater chart success. It would spend one week atop the Billboard album charts, but send five singles to the top ten. Two of those, “Stuck with You” and “Jacob’s Ladder”, went to #1. However, the album’s three million in sales was less than half the seven million which Sports moved. In addition, Sports ranks as one of the top 1000 albums of all time according to Dave’s Music Database.

Click photo for more about the album.

  • Huey Lewis & the News’ DMDB music maker encyclopedia entry

  • Saturday, June 2, 1984

    Prince charted with “When Doves Cry”: June 2, 1984

    Originally posted June 2, 2012.

    image from

    This content is taken from the The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, available at as a standard book or ebook!

    True to his nature, Prince never stops making music. Consequently, with his largely autobiographical film Purple Rain and its soundtrack seemingly finished, Prince added a new song at the last minute: “When Doves Cry.” RS500 Not a bad addition, since it may well be “the most influential single record of the eighties.” MA

    As is often the case with great singles, the structure of the song is “simple and natural and utterly (invisibly) unorthodox.” WI After recording it, Prince erased the bass, RS500 an unheard of move, especially in the R&B genre. CR Along with its “keening melody and one of the strangest choruses in pop,” MC the resulting song is eccentric, even by Prince standards, RS500 “but as a piece of rhythm and harmony, this is not just an important record but a great one.” MA

    When Doves Cry

    Prince’s record company, Warner Bros., wasn’t sure what to make of the song. As engineer David Z. said, “They were a little afraid...they didn’t know what to do with it because it was drastically different.” CR

    The record-buying public, however, knew what to do with it. In the U.S., the song became Prince’s first, and biggest, number one. It also was the biggest single of 1984. RS500 It also helped Prince become a superstar as it kick-started the Purple Rain soundtrack into blockbuster mode. Led by “When Doves Cry,” the album also produced the chart-topping “Let’s Go Crazy,” the #2 title cut, and the top ten hit “I Would Die 4 U,” all on its way toward spending 24 weeks atop the U.S. album charts. The album has sold 13 million stateside and another 8 million around the world.


    Resources and Related Links: