Thursday, June 23, 2011

“Workin’ for a Livin'” - Huey Lewis and the News Had to Do It Too

By Alyssa Selvaggio, Marketing/PR Intern

With the way our economy is today, a day rarely goes by without someone talking about how hard it is to find a job and be successful. For Huey Lewis and the News, that topic of conversation is all too familiar. While they have sold over 20 million albums and had 19 top-ten Billboard hits in the past 30 years, the road to get there was definitely a bumpy ride.

Starting off as two rival bands in San Francisco, they put their differences aside to become one. They released their first self-titled LP record in 1980 and experienced little success. Their efforts to create a live sound by only doing two or three takes for each song did not turn out to be sensation they had hoped for. For their second album, Picture This, they learned from their first album and took their time making a cleaner sound. When this album was released in 1982, they had one hit song, “Do You Believe in Love,” which helped them become more popular, but they were not a big name yet.

Still determined to become superstars, Huey Lewis and the News quickly ran back to the studio to record their third album in 1983. Delays in debuting Sports because of record label issues left the band in a tough situation. They wanted to reach out to people with their music, but their album was stuck in the studio. The band decided that they needed to go on tour to get noticed by more than just Bay Area fans. They travelled around the country touring in small clubs and bars to get their name out to the public. As they were on tour, Sports was released and they got news that their album had climbed its way to the top of the Billboard charts. They had finally reached stardom.

From then on, Huey Lewis and the News only became more famous. With their humorous and memorable videos on MTV (remember them buried in the sand in If This Is It?), each of their singles shot to the top of the music scene. Having a career and doing well is not always easy. Huey Lewis and the News proved that sometimes even music stars have to spend their days “Workin’ for a Livin’.”

See Huey Lewis and the News live at the State Theatre on Tuesday, July 12.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Can't Help But Dance Along...

By Audrey Yeager, Marketing & PR Intern

As a classically trained ballet dancer, my friends laugh at me every time I bust a move to anything that isn’t Mozart or Tchaikovsky. But I can’t help but start dancing when I hear that ultimate feel-good party song that has undoubtedly ‘survived’ the decades. The hit is a staple at all karaoke nights, and is as much a symbol of female empowerment today as it was when it was first released in 1978. (And yes, I will admit to butchering the song at many a karaoke gathering with my friends and family—I wish that I could hold a tune!) Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is doing more than surviving; this hit is here to stay.

This song is just one of the reasons why Gaynor is a disco music legend. The lyrics are about a woman letting go and moving on after getting out of a difficult relationship. Mixed with Gaynor’s extraordinary vocals, the toe-tapping pump-up disco beat, and its relatable theme, it’s no wonder how quickly “I Will Survive” came into the limelight.

Let us follow the song from when it was first introduced to its place amidst music today. After being released in October of 1978, “I Will Survive” became immediately popular. The song was first released on the “B”-side of a record. (Gasp! Remember the time when there weren’t CD’s or iPods?!) The “A”-side of records were usually the more popular ones, and were often heavily edited with changes to the song’s speed and pitch. Luckily, “I Will Survive” did not undergo many changes.

Only one year after its release, the song secured the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The next year, “I Will Survive” won a Grammy for Best Disco Recording. Since then, it has been recorded in over 20 languages. It is incredible to see how many famous music artists reproduced this hit. Among the singers that released covers of Gaynor’s song are Diana Ross, Cake, Gladys Knight, Chantay Savage, Shirley Bassey, and Selena. In 2000, "I Will Survive" was ranked Number 1 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Dance Songs, beating out classics party hits such as “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge and Aretha Franklin’s “RESPECT.”

See Gloria Gaynor live with the Village People on Saturday, June 25 at 8pm.