The heart of rock n’ roll is still beating in 2020, at least if Huey Lewis and the News have anything to do with it. The famed ‘80s stars, who once ruled MTV with their blend of retro rock, new wave and soul, recently released their first new album in a decade – Weather. Among the original recordings, the group included a cover of one seemingly forgotten hit, Eugene Church’s “Pretty Girls Everywhere.”
To determine just how obscure the track is, I consulted a leading authority on ‘50s pop: my Dad. He remembered the song itself, could even sing the chorus, but had no idea who sang it.
As it turns out, Eugene Church was a soul singer who had a series of minor hits in the late ‘50s. In the scant biographical information available about him online, “Pretty Girls Everywhere” is cited as his best-known song. It was released in 1958 and reached number 36 on the Billboard charts. The song itself is a ‘50s rocker highlighting the fact that there are, yup, you guessed it “Pretty Girls Everywhere.” Not exactly a poetic masterpiece, but darn catchy. Listening to it closely, one hears the music stop as he sings the title line. These quick stops sound as if they could have been an inspiration for the famous “so good, so good” song breaks in James Brown’s 1965 smash “I Feel Good.”
Lewis and company play a fairly straightforward cover that pays direct homage to the original. Their recording is bluesier, and they substitute a bit of harmonica for the sax solo at the end. One can almost picture the group reliving their glory days in a video, walking down the boardwalk snapping their fingers and tilting their sunglasses up to see all the “Pretty Girls.” What kind of response they would get now, well, that’s another story entirely.
Click here to listen to more Huey Lewis and the News covers.