The Heart of Rock and Roll Is Still Beating
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I freakin' love the album Sports. That's right, I'm talking about Huey Lewis and the News. I love it. I always have.
I can't honestly remember when I first heard it. The album came out in 1983, at which point I was four years old. My dad had it on vinyl, though at that point tapes still hadn't surpassed LPs as the dominant portion of the music market so having an album on vinyl wasn't unusual. I don't remember when he bought it, but my memories of that record are intimately tied to the house he lived in until I was in college, and I think he moved into that house when I was six or eight.
My dad had a rack stereo in his front living room, right in front of the big window that looked out onto the street (which nearly always had the shade down) and next to the pool table that took up nearly the entire room. My brother and I would put the record onto the turntable and then proceed to rock out for the entire 40 or so minutes of the album. The pool cues became our guitars and we would jump around the room, filled with the bar-room rhythms of the songs. My personal favorite part was the harmonica solo during "The Heart of Rock & Roll," during which I would cup my hands in front of my face and pretend to play along. Later, when I taught myself to play harmonica for real in high school, I told people that it was because of the influence of my American history teacher and my blossoming love of the blues, but truthfully the seeds were laid much earlier by Mr. Lewis and his compatriots.
I imagine that people who know me may be surprised by my affection for this album, since many of them have accused me of being a music snob. Funny enough, though, I'm pretty sure that both my dad's record and his stereo are now in the hands of my younger brother, who's an even bigger snob than I am when it comes to music. (I might even go so far as to say that he's the reason I became a music snob; much of what I now know and appreciate about contemporary music I learned from him.) And neither of us is even remotely apologetic about how much pleasure we get from the sound of that heartbeat drumline that kicks off this album.
And our love for cheesy 70s and 80s pop doesn't stop there. Some day, if you're lucky and happen to catch us together and in the right state of mind, you might be treated to a rousing rendition of The Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes." But that's a whole 'nother story.