The Heart of Rock & Roll

Album: Sports (1983)
Charted: 49 6
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Huey Lewis and News guitarist/horn player Johnny Colla, this is another fun, well-crafted hit song for the band, one of their 12 US Top 10 hits in the '80s. It's about how rock music is alive and well all over the United States, similar in style to the Motown classic "Dancing in the Street," which also features powerful horns and shout outs to lots of cities.
  • Different versions of this song were sent to radio stations with nearby cities inserted into the lyrics. For instance, if you lived in New Mexico, you might hear Huey mention that the Heart of Rock n' Roll is beating in Santa Fe. This geotargeting was very effective in an age when pop radio airplay was largely responsible for sales. The local cities were mentioned near the end, so you would listen through the whole song to hear it.
  • The band opened the 1985 Grammy Awards with a performance of this song. They won for Best Music Video, Long Form at the ceremony.
  • Despite their phenomenal success (or maybe because of it), the band took some heat for making songs that some critics labeled "uninspiring." Lewis addressed this criticism in a 1987 interview with San Francisco Chronicle, saying, "Nowhere is it written that rock and roll has to be political or change the world. One thing rock and roll has to be is true. And if it rings true, it's right."

Comments: 5

  • Dave from Wheaton, IlSure wish I could find the edit on Chicago radio, that Huey mentioned 'Chicago!' and 'Kansas City'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 29th 1983, Huey Lewis & the News performed "Heart and Soul" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #19 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; four weeks later on November 20th, 1983 it peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks}...
    And in October 1983 it reached #1 {for 1 Week} on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart...
    On the same 'Bandstand' show the band also performed "The Heart of Rock & Roll"; six months later on April 15th, 1984 it entered the Top 100 at position #51; and on June 3rd, 1984 it peaked at #6* {for 4 weeks} and on the Mainstream Rock chart it reached #5...
    * The record that preceded it on the chart was "I Want A New Drug" and it also peaked at #6, then the record that succeeded it, "If This Is It", would also peaked at #6 {that’s three #6 records in a row}.
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzStage name for Lewis Cragg.
  • Jethro from Stillwater, PaThe Heart of rock'n'roll is still beating Stillwater, Pa.
    Mcgee:I really should go help Abby.
    Gibbs: Ya think?
  • Camille from Toronto, OhThis song's lyrics, they speak the truth: "The heart of rock 'n' roll is still beatin'".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)Songwriter Interviews

"Come On Eileen" was a colossal '80s hit, but the band - far more appreciated in their native UK than stateside - released just three albums before their split. Now, Dexys is back.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.

Bob Dylan Lyric Quiz

Bob Dylan Lyric QuizMusic Quiz

Think you know your Bob Dylan lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Mike Campbell

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."