Day 2: A song that reminds you of summer
“If This Is It” — Huey Lewis And The News
I’m fond of telling people (as if they care) that “If This Is It” is the song that finally convinced me to buy the Sports album. Well, cassette tape, really, since all I had was a boom box at the time. (This was pre-Power Wagon.)
So, no, it wasn’t “Heart And Soul,” it wasn’t “I Want a New Drug,” it wasn’t even “The Heart of Rock & Roll.” All good songs, maybe great songs, but no, it was this somewhat schmaltzy ballad that convinced me to go to Strawberries and plunk down $6.98 for the privilege of subpar sound and no liner notes. (I’m a bit of a liner note junkie.)
The video is likely what did it, to be honest. I probably saw it at my friend Mark’s house; I’m not sure we had MTV* at my house at the time. For those that have forgotten (or blocked it out of their mind after years of therapy) storyline 1 was focused on a very uncool family packing up their gear and going to the beach. Storyline 2 centered on poor Huey Lewis, who had called his girl and she’d blown him off, telling her friend to “Tell him ‘I’m not home.'” For the record, in the video her mouth moves, but for some reason her voice sounds remarkably like Huey’s. Strange. But I digress…
Cut to the monumentally packed beach. The family is there. Conincidentally the girl is there with her friend. And for some unknown reason, Huey Lewis and The News are there. Fully clothed, no less. Although for much of the video you can’t tell if The News are clothed or not, they’re buried up to their chins in sand. (That must have been a fun shoot.) Long story short, Huey sees his girl and confronts her, she storms off. The family roams around all day, never finding a place to sit down. Cut to late afternoon: The family finally plunks down on the near-empty beach. Meanwhile, a dejected Huey sitting alone. (What happened to the News? Did the tide come in and drown them?) But, surprise! He’s approached by the friend from paragraph one, who it should be noted, is not hard to look at. In the words of Mark’s father way back in 1984: “That’s a hell of a consolation prize.”
So there you have it. This song oozes summer to me. The video all but screams “Hey moron! It’s summertime! You’re hot!” It was released as a single in July of ’84 (and was a big hit that summer, peaking at #6). And finally, the song’s got that laid-back “let’s just move slow and stay cool” vibe. Y’know. Summer.
Oh sure, I could have gone with the more obvious “Summer In The City” (Lovin’ Spoonful), “Summer of ’69” (Bryan Adams) or even “California Girls” (Beach Boys or David Lee Roth, depending on your age or what you want to admit to), but that would have been too easy. Heck, I actually thought of over a dozen songs I could have used, but the truth is, when I read the Day 2 song description, this is the one that came to mind first.
My parting thought: if I was in the band, I would have demanded a bigger cut of the royalties if you’d buried me in the sand like that for hours. Although I think they did alright for themselves either way.
What’s your summer song?