Friday, September 7, 2012

Huey Lewis and The News: Bad Is Bad

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“I say cool is the rule – sometimes bad is bad.” In conjunction with the popularity of the 1985 movie “Back to the Future,” Chrysalis Records issued the single “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. It proved to be the bands first of three #1 singles. An older song from their 7 times platinum album “Sports” was picked for the flip side. While the song “Bad is Bad” was older, most aren’t aware how old the tune actually is.

The song was written and originally performed by the group Clover. At the time of the song’s writing, Clover consisted of Alex Call, lead vocals and guitar; John Ciambotti, bass; John McFee, guitar; Mickey Schriner, drums; Sean Hopper, keyboards; and Huey Lewis, harmonica and vocals. While it is not known if Clover recorded the song, they did not release “Bad is Bad” on any of their albums or singles.

Upon leaving Clover, Hopper and Lewis formed Huey Lewis and the News. The other members went onto a variety of gigs which included backing Elvis Costello. As you will see, Clover wrote the song as late as 1978. Huey Lewis’ version was not the first recording of the tune and it was not the only one featuring Huey Lewis.

Thin Lizzy and Huey Lewis

Possibly the first recorded version of the song was by Thin Lizzy – at a much faster pace than Huey Lewis and the News’ own version six years later. Recorded in 1978, the version includes Phil Lynott on bass and vocals, lead guitars of Scott Gorham and Gary Moore, and drumming by Brian Downey.

A special guest appearance by one of authors featured the harmonica of one Huey Lewis. “Bad is Bad” was not included on the 1979 Thin Lizzy release of “Black Rose: A Rock Legend”; however, Lewis can be heard on two other cuts: “Sarah” and “With Love.” It was recorded during Gary Moore’s third stint with Thin Lizzy.

Dave Edmunds and Huey Lewis

In 1979, Dave Edmunds recorded and released “Bad is Bad” on his “Repeat When Necessary” album. Edmunds up tempo version also features Huey Lewis on harmonica.

On this recording, the harp is amplified with more distortion than found on the Thin Lizzie version from the same era. By the way, Nick Lowe is also on bass on this cut.


  1. Thank you!Really enjoyed the posts, videos, history and commentary. I have just recently refreshed my CD collection (I know, how very 1980's of me) It is what it is- And what it is is what is hip! Anyway just recently got Dave edmunds entire library and Nick Lowe's greatest hits and had also recently Uploaded Huey Lewis's greatest hits. Being an avid harmonica and thusias and also a huge Thin Lizzy fan, It is somewhat amazingly coincidental to run into your post So again I will just say thank you my most esteemed and learned friend.
    P.S. I Do not agree that the term learned friend only occurs Between magistrates judges and lawyers.✌