Johnny Colla, "I Hear Voices!"

Way Out West, 2012

FINALLY available at the "Listen and Own It" page ! ! . . . . With the exception of self-penned "Naturally", these were primarily songs I pitched to HLN for a cappella consideration; some stuck and others never made the cut. With regard to "Naturally", I actually reconstituted my original twenty-year-old demo to bring you the original concept for the song. Pretty cool CD if I do say so myself ~ my friends say it sounds "happy" ~ and what's wrong with a little of that in this world? For the purists and the curious, look for both a limited edition vinyl version, and a strictly cappella version soon !

Huey Lewis and The News, "Soulsville"

W.O.W. Records, 2010

Our much-overlooked tribute to the Stax Label. I co-produced, arranged, sang backing vocals and played sax. I think the arranging and overall sound had to be the most challenging job for me on this CD, simply because we were pulling songs from an entire decade or so and I wanted to make sure they all sounded like they were "coming from the same place." We also had the pleasure of working with our old pal Jimmy Gaines, along with Paul Thorn guitarist Bill Hinds, who lives and breathes this stuff. He definitely gave it an air of authenticity, and he's a darned nice guy!

The Sounds Of Christmas

SOC Music, 2009

Huey and The News contributed our twenty-five-year-old rendition of "Winter Wonderland" to this compilation. Jeffrey "Nik" Norman and I revisited the original multitrack and did an impressive remix; better than that old beaten-up cassette stuffed away in your closet . . .

"Pineapple Express" Soundtrack

Sony BMG, 2008

Huey, pal Dave Fredericks and Yours Truly came up with the title track for this smoky action comedy, and if I have the story right Seth Rogen requested a tune from HLN. Produced by myself and Huey, I reworked an old Fredericks tune called 'Forget About It', upped the tempo, and Huey came up with the lyrics. My wife Christie and I attended the premiere in Los Angeles, got out of the limousine, and found ourselves unceremoniously dumped out on the red carpet! Fortunately for us the cameras were all pointed at Sofia Vergara or some such South American siren, and I'm sure there's an outtake somewhere of us scurrying behind her in the background . . .

SVT, "No Regrets" re-release

Rykodisc, 2005

If you don't know the SVT story you can get most of it online, but I think I tell a more thorough, truthful one in the liner notes for this re-release; equally interesting and tragic at the same time. Longtime pal Brian Marnell was the principle songwriter and unofficial leader of the band, and we lost him in 1983. Toward the late nineties I was recruited by Brian's brother to try and make sense of his recordings and publishing, and I eventually managed to collect nearly all the recordings Brian ever made. A few years later the call came in for this re-release, and I was recruited to co-produce and oversee the project; after all, I had all the masters, I owned my own studio, and I believe Jack Casady and Nick Buck trusted me implicitly to do a respectable job. I'd known Brian since the summer of 1973, we played in a couple bands together (Sound Hole, Airplay), and from '77 until about '81 we literally slept three feet from each other in adjacent apartments. I was a big fan of Brian's, and it was an honor to be able to write the liner notes for this project. If you want an interesting piece of history as to how SVT and Huey and The News' lives and paths crossed back then, these liner notes put all the pieces together; a good read and a great story.

Night Of The Proms, Germany

BMG Ariola, 2003

During the winter of 2003 Huey and I headed over to Germany to participate in this amazing show, a mixture of both pop and classical music where we played our three or four biggest hits behind a seventy-piece orchestra and forty-voice choir. Also on the bill were Toto and En Vogue. On a slightly personal note this trip worked out especially well for me ~  a life-changer really ~ a day into the three-week tour I met my future wife/choir girl Christel Kasprzak . . .

The Lucky Devil . . .

Way Out West, 2002

 My first solo effort was bittersweet. Though I had 'em laughing on cuts like 'Hold On You' and 'Letter Of The Law', I was going through some pretty deep personal stuff at the time and it comes through in 'Over And Over' and 'Where Are The Words?' Still, the collection captured a moment in time that could not be denied, and I managed to garner some pretty darned good reviews! Listening back, the songs ar holding up pretty well!

Debora Coleman, "Soft Place To Fall"

Blind Pig Records, 2000

Deborah cut a tune written by fishing buddy, co-writer and all-around good guy David Fredericks and yours truly; the antithesis to Johnny Lang's plea for false love and lust, aptly titled "Don't Lie To Me."

Strokeland Superband, "Kick It Up A Step!"

Strokeland Records, 2000

When it comes to Tower of Power Emilio Castillo is, unequivocally, the leader of the band; the nuts and bolts. But when it comes to the guts and soul of the band, Doc Kupka is the heartbeat; the team mascot. What Doc did here is gather all his favorite musicians and singers to play on his stuff, and I was flattered he considered me as a participant. I arranged and sang backing vocals on a beautiful cut called "Bittersweet With A Ray Of Hope", and I hope he asks me back to help out again some day soon; one of my favorite people!

"Holiday Heroes"

Soul Purpose Records, 1995

Friend and producer John Tiven asked me to write a Christmas song for this project, and I came up with what I thought was a pretty good tune. Comes time to make the record, and Tiven suggests using my demo! Now this is some pretty heavy company singing on this thing; Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack, Chuck Jackson, Dennis Edwards and Jerry Butler, to name a few. "Sure you want me singing on this thing?" I asked. Tiven assured me it was going to work so I put some proper production on the demo, touched up the vocal and remixed, and I must say all these years later it holds up pretty well! You can still find it online . . .

Yoshihiro Ishikawa, "Peace"

Pioneer LCD, 1994

Out of the blue one day I was contacted by an agency to produce a few tracks for Yoshi, who (naturally) I'd never heard of. But when I listened to his song demos I put all the puzzle pieces together; he was a huge HLN fan, he was extremely famous in his mother country of Japan, and he wanted his heroes on his project! I was both flattered and honored, and contracted all the Newsers (except Huey of course) to rehearse and cut the tracks, while Yoshi flew over to watch it all come down. One song in particular, "Just Only Love," had a striking resemblance to "If This Is It" and I arranged it accordingly - put together lush "JC BVs" and a big five-piece horn arrangement - and it's really worth hearing if you get the chance. The cool back story through it all is the fact that this was the first time I worked with HLN's long-standing trumpet man Marvin McFadden, and a few months later he would become a permanent fixture with the band.

Curtis Mayfield Tribute, "People Get Ready"

Shanachie Records, 1993

With a wonderful cast of contributors including the likes of Jerry Butler, Don Covay, Steve Cropper and Delbert McClinton, I produced, arranged and sang on Huey and The News' contribution "It's Alright".

Don Covay Tribute "Back To The Streets"

Shanachie Records, 1993

A wonderful tribute CD to this legendary R&B/rock & roll singer/songwriter with (as the cover intimates) quite a guest list! I shared a lead vocal duet with Arlene Smith on "Letter Full Of Tears."

Huey Lewis and The News, "Hard At Play"

EMI America, 1991

HLN struggled a little with our sixth core effort, but listening back years later I hear an impressive collection of songs by many of my favorite songwriters.

Nick Lowe, "The Rose Of England"

CBS Records, 1985

Couldn't tell you how this came down with Huey & Nick, but HLN ended up in the studio cutting "I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock 'N' Roll)" ~ dream-come-true for me as I was, and remain, a big fan (and friend) of Nick's. I had the honor and pleasure of arranging and layering the BVs, then singing the two part with "The Knife".

"Back To The Future" Sountrack

MCA, 1985

The best of the three movies, and it got you "Power Of Love', and 'Back In Time' right? What's not to like?

USA For Africa, "We Are The World"

Columbia, 1985

What can I say? I was the luckiest guy in the world (still am!) The kid from Suisun City hanging out and singing with the likes of Quincy Jones, Harry Belafont, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Billy Joel; the list goes on and on. I'm sure The News was there as "wallpaper" - more bodies and voices to fill the riser and track like The Jacksons - but that was fine with me. I was honored to be a part of such a historic musical moment, and I still believe in the cause; the never-ending war on world famine. When we were done with the group work I somehow managed to edge my way into the control room while the principles sang their solo lines. At one point the engineer kept getting noise every time the solo lines got around to Huey and Cyndi Lauper; turned out that in Cyndi's exuberance while delivering her line, her bracelets were clanking together . . . I was a kid in a candy store, and I stayed until the end.

Grace Slick, "Software"

RCA Records, 1984

The girl who sang "White Rabbit"! I was a big fan of The Jefferson Airplane back in the day, and years later I forged a real friendship with bassist Jack Cassidy through my association with SVT. For Grace's solo effort, friend and producer Ron Nevison called me in to arrange and sing backing vocals on a couple tracks, "Through The Window" and "It Just Won't Stop". I think the real kicker for me was singing with pal Mickey Thomas for the first time!

Pablo Cruise, "Out Of Our Hands"

A&M Records, 1983

 In the early seventies when we were all clamoring for a record deal, Pablo Cruise was the first band to break out of Marin County and hit the big time. Years later Pablo & HLN came under the same management umbrella, and we all got to know each other pretty well. I played the sax solo on 'Talk To Me Right'.

Patrick Simmons, "Arcade"

Elektra, 1983

A founding member of The Doobie Brothers, Pat covered Huey's and my "Don't Make Me Do It" from HLN's first record ~ my first "cover"!

Huey Lewis and The News, "Picture This"

Chrysalis, 1982

Our second effort brought us our first top-ten hit, "Do You Believe In Love?" I was getting better as a songwriter, and I was immensely proud of Huey's and my ska-inspired "Tell Me A Little Lie'. I knew it had not an ounce of commercial appeal, but I thought the song added some credibility to the project; that and "Change Of Heart". This was the first record we produced collectively, and suffice it to say some of us were more involved than others. If it all ended right here we'd have been destined to one-hit-wonder "package" tours, but more was yet to come . . . 

Huey Lewis and The News (self-titled)

Chrysalis, 1980

Young, foolish and happy! That might best describe our first effort. Despite the quality of the recording we came up with some fairly clever stuff, walking the creative line between New Wave and Pop. It was the first record I really had a hand in (composing, arranging, singing, and playing horn and guitar) and it was an invaluable lesson. We were six guys on a mission, two years into our  "overnight success."

"Rock Justice" Soundtrack, 1980

EMI, 1980

The brainchild of former Jefferson Airplane/Starship singer Marty Balin, you'd need to read the liner notes to get the crux of this rock theater performance. In a nutshell, it's one of those 'dream sequence' plots where the lead singer falls asleep and goes on trial for not having a hit. Poor guy. Produced by Mike Varney of San Francisco's "Nuns" and founder of Shrapnel Records, with a young Jeff Pilson of future "Dokken" fame singing a song or two.Varney's day job was selling records at a shop below my apartment. Brian Marnell (Sound Hole, SVT) lived next door, and Varney would come knocking on our doors at lunchtime to pick our brains, usually waking us up from a long night. I think at the time Brian and I had "Airplay" going and doing more rehearsing and songwriting than actual playing. In any event, when Varney landed this production deal, he incorporated his idols at the time to come in to sing/audition and play. Neither myself Nor Brian had an interest in actually doing the show (I had about four different musical irons in the fire at the time!) but twenty-five bucks a session under the table was hard to pass up; lean years. Though released in 1980, I'd guess my tracks were cut in about 1978 or so. Only a couple years later after the soundtrack was released did I realize they'd kept and used some of my piano and sax work. "Rock Justice' - an idea still ahead of its time . . .

Sly Stone, "Back On The Right Track"

Warner Brothers, 1979

Unfortunately the album title, suit and tie didn't fool anyone, and the train derailed shortly after this record was made. As was Sly's pattern, this record was pieced together from many reworked previous recordings and some new stuff. In spite of a producer's claim that the entire record was re-cut down in Los Angeles, I am positive we cut "Remember Who You Are", "I Takes All Kinds" and "Sheer Energy" up in San Francisco for the "Heard Ya Missed Me" project. To the trained ear, the sound and tone of a saxophone is as unique a fingerprint, and I can hear (and remember!) myself playing on these tracks, along with John Farey on Rhodes. Neither of us were credited as performers on the effort.

American Express Single

Phonogram, 1978

I guess you could say this is the one that started it all for HLN! After several misfire bands and a couple brushes with stardom (Van, Sly) I could tell we were on to something. My best recollection? We didn't really have a "band" yet (I'm fairly certain a guy named Stu Feldman played bass) but Huey managed to get us a one-off single deal with Phonogram in England. We delivered the product, then spent the rest of the money making our first bona fide "Huey Lewis and American Express" demo. That demo fell into the hands of Bob Brown, he took us on with the agreement we'd go our separate ways if he couldn't land us a proper record deal in six months, and the rest is history . . .

Sly &The Family Stone, "Heard Ya Missed Me,"

Epic, 1976

My introduction to the big time! I'd just been unceremoniously released from duty with Sound Hole, living in Novato, California licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself. Pal John Farey calls me one day and says he got me an audition with Sly, who happened to live up the street. John & I head up to'The Ranch', hang out all day with Sly telling stories and getting to know one another. Turned out Sly and I had a lot of common ground, having grown up no more than fifteen miles apart from each other, and we had a mutual mentor/hero in one David Froehlich, our Vallejo Junior College music instructor. Long story short, I started working with Sly the next day and it lasted nearly three years off & on. I played alto sax at the time, but I also lent a hand in backing vocal arrangements, and in fact sang on a couple cuts!

Sound Hole Single

Hole-E-Smoke Records, 1975

Sound Hole's only release (Hole-E-Smoke Records, 1975) and my first record ever;. I think we sold fifteen copies (wanna buy one?) I sang backing vocals and played sax on "Back To The Summer Of Love," a very cool, timeless Brian Marnell tune, and played sax and shared the lead vocal duties with John Farey on "Everyday (For The Rest Of My Life)"

Van Morrison & Sound Hole

Live at San Francisco's Orphanange, 1974

This bootleg CD is a bit of a misnomer. It indeed includes the Van/Sound Hole performance at The Orphanage, but it also it contains several cuts with Van and his Street Choir. Best guess is somebody pinched this audio from the Orphanage video that was shot that night. Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue - the Godfather of FM radio - did a short interview with Van before the show. Then with very little rehearsal and even less experience, Van led us through a brisk set. It was a three-camera shoot, cameras were massive back then, and although I faked it pretty good I was petrified . . .