Highest chart position: #3 Billboard 200
Awards: RIAA 3x platinum
Released: August 1 1986
Singles: The Way It Is (#1), Every Little Kiss (#14), Mandolin Rain (#4)
- On the Western Skyline – 4:42
- Every Little Kiss – 5:48
- Mandolin Rain – 5:19
- The Long Race – 4:25
- The Way It Is – 4:58
- Down the Road Tonight – 4:26
- The Wild Frontier – 4:04
- The River Runs Low – 4:27
- The Red Plains – 5:03
Bruce Hornsby (piano, vocals, accordion, synthesizer, dulcimer), David Mansfield (guitar, mandolin., violin), George Marinelli (guitar, vocals), Joe Puerta (bass, vocals), John Molo (drums, percussion), Huey Lewis (harmonica, vocals)
Philadelphia News, August 29 1986: Listening to the debut LP by Bruce Hornsby and the Range (“The Way It Is,” RCA) warms me with the same sort of inner glow that those first landmark albums by Little Feat, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and The Band sparked many moons ago. And the fact that Hornsby is playing a $2 concert for WIOQ at the Trocadero on Wednesday brings such cheer that I may just come out of my post- Folk Festival, end-of-summer depression after all.
Chicago Tribune, September 5 1986: Would Huey’s good word clinch that recording deal for you? Possibly–and possibly not. Consider the case of vocalist/keyboard player/songwriter Bruce Hornsby, who was looking for a label that would sign his band, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, a while back. Hornsby indeed had Lewis talking up his cause in the corridors of the music industry, but in the end it was a kind of left- handed turn of fate, not Lewis’ efforts, that got Hornsby and his band their contract with RCA Records.
Hornsby formed the Range in Los Angeles in 1984, after spending some time as a session performer and songwriter. The band made some demo tapes and began shopping them around to labels. A couple of years earlier, Huey Lewis had asked Hornsby if he could record a song Hornsby had written. At the time, Hornsby thought, mistakenly, that he might be on the verge of getting a record deal, so he decided to keep the song for himself and turned down Lewis. “In hindsight,” says Hornsby, “that was not a very great move. But Huey and I became friends, and he just helped me out later, championed our cause in the music industry for two or three years. He would call record companies. For example, the band made one demo and turned it in to a label. The label pondered it for a few days. Well, Huey called them one day and said, ‘This is Huey Lewis. Sign the Range.’ He was always in there pitching for us. Ironically, that wasn’t what knocked down the doors for us finally, but that’s the sort of thing he would do.”
Wichita Eagle, November 30 1986: There’s not much here to look at – a stark stage, a piano, a couple of faces we haven’t seen before. Boring, huh? Hardly. Minimalistic? Quite, but that’s the quality that makes “The Way It Is” the most refreshing, cerebral video making the rounds today. Bruce Hornsby, keyboard artist supreme, is the best new bread-and-butter rock ‘n’ roll has had since the mid-’70s days of Bruce Springsteen.
Chicago Tribune, December 12 1986: The lucky–and very talented–fellow is keyboardist Bruce Hornsby, who with his group the Range has gone all the way to No. 1 on both the pop and adult contemporary charts with “The Way It Is,” a moody pop/rock song with a social message as powerful as its melodic line. And now, Lewis stands to lose because of his protege’s belated success. The No. 1 ascent of the “The Way It Is” single (up from No. 4 last week) came at the expense of Lewis’ own single, “Hip to Be Square,” which failed to move up from No. 3 this week. And on the album charts, Lewis’ “Fore!” (now No. 4) is in danger of being passed by Hornsby, probably by next week.