top of page

Flashback Video: 'Hip to Be Square' by Huey Lewis and the News

Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly  impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing  that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos  from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.

This issue we will cover "Hip to Be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News. It was the second single released in October of 1986 from their Fore! album. "Hip to Be Square" went on to peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of that year. One interesting note is that it features then San Francisco 49ers players Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Dwight Clark, and Riki Ellison singing backup vocals who also appeared on the song "I Know What I Like".

The music video for "Hip to Be Square" was directed by Godley & Creme, a duo would go on to make some of the other best music videos of the decade and especially the early par of the '80s. Prior to this they had directed Duran Duran "Girls on Film", Asia "Heat of the Moment", Elton John "Kiss the Bride", Herbie Hancock "Rockit" and Yes "Leave It", Police "Every Breath You Take",  "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Synchronicity II", Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Two Tribes", Duran Duran "A View to A Kill" and Howard Jones "Life in One Day". Later they would also direct Peter Gabriel "Don't Give Up", Sting "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", Wang Chung "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and The Police "Don't Stand So Close To Me '86" among many others. Kevin Godley & Lol Creme really tended to make each music video they created unique and pushed the boundaries of creativity. "Hip to Be Square" was no exception evidenced by its nomination for "Most Experimental Video" at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards (which they lost to Peter Gabriel's awesome "Sledgehammer"). The video features Huey Lewis and his band singing the song on a sound stage with medical cameras mounted for extreme closeups on their equipment and faces.

Here is the music video for "Hip to Be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News...

Many people now associate it with the book and then 2000 film adaptation American Psycho when the main character professes his appreciation for Huey Lewis and this song in particular right before gruesomely murdering his co-worker:

"I think their undisputed masterpiece is 'Hip to Be Square,' a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself."

In 2013, Huey Lewis himself guest starred in a parody of the scene with Weird Al Yankovic for comedy website Funny or Die.

Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page