Perfect World (Huey Lewis and the News song)

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"Perfect World"
Single by Huey Lewis and the News
from the album Small World
B-side "Slammin'"
Released June 1988
Format cassette, CD
Genre Rock
Length 4:07
Label Chrysalis Records
Writer(s) Alex Call
Producer(s) Huey Lewis and the News
Huey Lewis and the News singles chronology
"Doing It All for My Baby"
"Perfect World"
"Small World (Part One)"

"Perfect World" is a song performed by Huey Lewis and the News and released as the first single from the album Small World in late June 1988. The single peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #48 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song, which was written by Alex Call, is about how we don't live in a perfect world, even though we like to believe to, and that there is nothing wrong with keeping on believing that we do. The song was mostly positively received, and the music video, which featured the band singing in a garbage dump, was in heavy rotation at MTV.


The song was written by Alex Call, a former bandmate of Lewis and Sean Hopper from the band, Clover.[1] Call had previously co-written the hit song "867-5309/Jenny" for Tommy Tutone. Huey Lewis gave the song a reggae flavor.[2] The song is an optimistic commentary on a human being's hopes and dreams,[3] as well as our private thoughts.[2] The song tells the person to "keep on dreaming," because there will never be a perfect world.[1] The song admits that life isn't perfect, but tells the listener to use the power of positive dreaming to cope with the reality.[4] The B-side to the single was an instrumental album track, "Slammin'"[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video features the band playing on a stage in a garbage dump field, with various pieces of garbage flying in the air, hitting various members of the band. Throughout the video, Huey Lewis dances and strolls through a pathway as work is done by garbage trucks behind him. At the end of the video, the band is seen posing by more garbage. The video received heavy rotation on MTV.[6]


Reception for the song was mostly positive. Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune said that the song was "Wry," and it seemed "destined" to be another top ten single from the band.[3] According to Martin Moynihan of thee Albany Times Union, the song was "a pop music mix of Lewis' usual musical optimism tempered with an element of reserve"[7] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said of the song, "None of the musical diversions work as well as the bouncy Top Ten hit 'Perfect World.'" Erlewine also believed that the song ranked "with the group's best material."[8] Jerry Spangler of Deseret News said that the song was a "captivating rocker."[9] New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden considers the song a "companion piece" to the first song off of the Small World album, "Small World, Part One".[10]

Chart performance[edit]

"Perfect World" was the first single released from the album Small World. Originally to be released in mid-June,[11][12] the single's release was held off until later in the month.[13] It was the last top-ten hit for the band, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100[14] and was prevented from moving further up the chart by Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine", and Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible".[15]

Chart (1988) Peak
Australian Kent Report[5] 22
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Dutch Singles Chart 64
Finnish Singles Chart[16] 11
French Singles Chart[17] 44
New Zealand Singles Chart 43
South African Singles Chart[18] 14
UK Singles Chart 48
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 3
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[14] 2
US Billboard Album Rock Tracks 5


  1. ^ a b Morse, Steve (28 July 1988). "Huey Lewis Broadens Sound on 'Small World'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, Jim (3 September 1988). "A Tantalizing Taste of the Deeper Huey Lewis". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Matre, Lynn Van (7 August 1988). "World of Difference: Huey Lewis and the News Expand Its Horizons". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  4. ^ Boehm, Mike (31 July 1988). "There's Only Good News From Huey Lewis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b " - Huey Lewis And The News - Perfect World". Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "Video Top Ten". Miami Herald. 26 August 1988. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  7. ^ Martin, Moynihan (28 August 1988). "From Huey: Some New Different Music Styles Permeate Group's Latest Album". The Albany Times Union. 
  8. ^ "allmusic ((( Small World > Overview )))". Retrieved 25 April 2009 (2009-04-25). 
  9. ^ Spangler, Jerry (29 August 1988). "Keep Dreaming, Huey, of the Perfect Record". Deseret News. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  10. ^ Holden, Stephen (10 August 1988). "The Pop Life". New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  11. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (15 May 1988). "Pop Eye". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  12. ^ "'Edwin Drood' Producers Search for Actor to Replace George Rose". Dallas Morning News. 7 May 1988. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  13. ^ Britt, Bruce (16 June 1988). "Billboard Lends Weight to 'Oldies' Release". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  14. ^ a b c "Chart Success Summary - HLNWiki". Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  15. ^ DeKnock, Jan (16 September 1988). "All's Quiet on Music Chart Front". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  16. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ ""Perfect World" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. Retrieved September 25, 2010.