I was just a month out from my seventh birthday when HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS released their album, SPORTS in September of 1983. As a kid growing up on this new thing called "MTV" (Music Television), a cable network that had just hit the two-year mark a month prior, Huey Lewis & The News became my first rock band. At the same time my young mind was absorbing the sonic stylings and visual accompaniments of artists like Michael Jackson and Duran Duran, Lewis and his crew became my gateway drug into a larger world filled with "The Heart of Rock & Roll" - guitar, drums, bass...
For Christmas of 1983, I asked my parents for a copy of SPORTS on vinyl. When December 25th finally arrived, there was just a tiny bit of disappointment when I discovered a copy of Huey Lewis & The News' 1980 self-titled debut in my stocking instead... on cassette. I'd soon come to realize that, like SPORTS, it was also a great album... and one that I'd play often.
I don't remember the exact dates, but at some point in 1984, my Dad picked up a copy of "The Heart of Rock & Roll" on a 7-inch 45rpm single. Soon after, I finally snagged my own copy of SPORTS, and now - nearly three decades later - SPORTS hangs framed on my office wall here at Rock Father HQ, while that single still lives within a small, DC Comics Superheroes "Record Carrying Case" that I have stored in my garage. There, "The Heart of Rock & Roll" is kept company by singles from 1986's FORE! and 1988's SMALL WORLD. After that, I quit buying vinyl for awhile... But Huey Lewis & The News stuck with me, and even snuck into my own performances as an adult.
It's May of 2013, and just five months out from my 37th birthday as I write this entry. Now, Capitol Records has released a Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition of SPORTS, completely remastered, and partnered with choice live versions of each song - presented as an 18-track collection. While I haven't picked up the new release just yet, I knew that the anniversary was coming, and a couple of months ago, I started introducing my daughters to the sonic legacy of Huey Lewis & The News.
While Finn isn't quite a year-old yet, Addie will be four later this year, and she gets it - dancing up a storm when the music starts playing. As a parent, I've been becoming reacquainted with much of the music that I grew up on by introducing it to my little ones. I hope that they'll become well-rounded in their musical exploration and love - as I have been - and in a world where "musical discovery" is largely taking place within the cold confines of a digital realm, devoid of the real-world record stores and weekly "Top 40" countdowns that I grew up on, I feel that it's part of my duty as a Father... as The Rock Father... to teach them about "The Heart of Rock & Roll."
HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS are currently on the road for the SPORTS 30th Anniversary Tour. For Dates, visit http://www.hueylewisandthenews.com/
The 30th Anniversary Edition of SPORTS is available on iTunes:
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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent) Blogger, has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.