Yesterday afternoon, I was discussing a plethora of topics with my friend Josh. The takeaway for you, dear FBvian, is this idea: the best thing a controversial public figure can do is die. When that happens, every debt is settled and that person’s life and legacy will be reappraised. It’s sort of a weird honeymoon effect. He or she will oftentimes be then viewed as “misunderstood” (at worst) or “under-appreciated” (at best).
I was thinking of that again this morning when I came across news that a tribute album devoted to Huey Lewis and the News is currently in the works. It’s not a bunch of spare bar bands behind it, either; pretty much the opposite. No less than critical darling and erstwhile local boy Will Johnson of Centro-matic has contributed a track — “Hearts,” off the band’s self-titled 1980 album. So the musical corollary to the above theory is: Musicians don’t have to die to change public perception. Just stop recording.