Hip to Be Square

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Hip to Be Square"
Single by Huey Lewis and the News
from the album Fore!
B-side"Some of My Lies Are True" (Remix)
ReleasedOctober 6, 1986
Format7" and 12" single
LabelChrysalis Records
Songwriter(s)Bill Gibson, Sean Hopper, Huey Lewis
Producer(s)Huey Lewis and the News
Huey Lewis and the News singles chronology
"Stuck with You"
"Hip to Be Square"
"Jacob's Ladder"

"Hip to Be Square" is a song by Huey Lewis and the News, written by Bill Gibson, Sean Hopper, and Huey Lewis, and released in 1986 as the second single from the multi-platinum album, Fore!.

The song features Pro Football Hall of Famers and then-San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott singing backup vocals.[1] The single reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. In concert, Huey Lewis now normally sings the song as "(Too) Hip to Be Square", as performed on their live album, Live at 25.


According to Lewis, the song was meant to be ironic and was originally written in third person ("He used to be...").[2] "It wasn't intended to be an anthem for square people, and not everyone recognized the irony," said Lewis.[2] He considers the misconstrued message of the song one of his regrets in his career.[2]


American Psycho[edit]

The song is referred to in the novel American Psycho when the main character, Patrick Bateman, provides a lengthy critique of Huey Lewis and the News' career.

The song was then featured in the film adaptation during a scene in which Bateman (played by Christian Bale) gives an abridged version of his critique from the novel to Paul Allen (Jared Leto) just before killing him with an axe in one of the most iconic scenes of the movie:

"In '87, [sic] Huey released this ... Fore!, their most accomplished album. 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."

The song was originally featured on the accompanying soundtrack, but shortly after it was released, the album was pulled from the shelves and the song was removed before being reissued, but a small number had already been sold. Reports erroneously claimed that Lewis had objected to the context in which his song was used in the film and demanded it be removed from the album.[3][4] In reality, the film's production team had paid for the rights to use the song in the film, but overlooked receiving the rights to include it on the soundtrack. When the soundtrack was released with the song on it, Lewis had it withdrawn, as the soundtrack rights had not been secured.[5] In 2013, Lewis himself guest starred in a parody of the scene with "Weird Al" Yankovic for comedy website Funny or Die.[6][7]

The Palmer Squares[edit]

In 2010, YouTube hip-hop phenomenons The Palmer Squares referenced the song in their "Klassic Cypher 2" video. The lyric, from Acumental (half of The Palmer Squares) says, "The news is that I'm the one who taught Huey Lewis that it's hip to be square."

Sesame Street[edit]

The popular children's show Sesame Street created an educational parody of the song called "Hip to Be a Square" and used it during a cartoon portion of the program.[8] Lewis said of the parody, "they contacted our publisher about doing it, and we were happy to let ‘em. I think it’s sweet."[9]

Track listing[edit]

7-inch single
  1. "Hip to Be Square"
  2. "Some of My Lies Are True" (Remix)
12-inch single
  1. "Hip to Be Square" (Dance remix) – 6:05
  2. "Hip to Be Square" (Dub mix) – 5:11


Chart (1986-87) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 17
Canadian Singles Chart[11] 14
Dutch Singles Chart[12] 28
Finnish Singles Chart[13] 12
Irish Singles Chart[citation needed] 29
New Zealand Singles Chart[citation needed] 9
Spanish Singles Chart[citation needed] 32
UK Singles Chart[14] 41
US Billboard Hot 100[citation needed] 3
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary[citation needed] 20
US Billboard Album Rock Tracks[citation needed] 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "N.F.L. PLAYOFFS; 49ERS PRACTICE TO A NOISY BEAT". Retrieved 2016-10-14.
  2. ^ a b c http://www.hueylewisandthenews.com/wp/?page_id=1038 Huey Lewis Fan Q&A: January 6, 2013
  3. ^ Dansby, Andrew (2000-04-11). "Huey Lewis Sparks "American Psycho" Soundtrack Recall". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  4. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (2000-04-14). "American Psycho". salon.com. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  5. ^ Quelland, Sarah (2000-04-20). "Huey in the News". metroactive.com. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  6. ^ "American Psycho with Huey Lewis and Weird Al". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Huey Lewis discusses killing Weird Al, his 'American Psycho' boycott and new music for 2015". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  8. ^ Sesame Street: It's Hip to Be a Square. YouTube. 19 March 2010.
  9. ^ http://www.hueylewisandthenews.com/wp/?page_id=1038 Huey Lewis Fan Q&A: November 23, 2015
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  12. ^ "Zoeken - MEGA TOP 50". 3fm.nl.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ http://www.theofficialcharts.com/search-results-album/_/Hip+To+Be+Square#single