The second stop as The Guitar Train goes “Back in Time” to 1985 looks at the great movie that gave us that song – “Back to the Future”. Released on July 3, 1985 this is a classic, must see movie starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. I remember being on line to go into the movie theater thirty years ago and reading the movie poster. The film’s title confused me so I asked my mom, “How can anyone go “back” to the future since the future hasn’t happened yet?” My mom couldn’t answer that question until she saw the movie and understood the very clever premise of the movie. Almost everything that happens or is talked about in 1985 pays off in 1955 and then back again in 1985.
Since this is a music blog, I want to focus on the musical aspects of the movie and Huey Lewis. The music of Huey Lewis and the News is a huge part of this movie as they wrote two songs for the movie, “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time”, which are played repeatedly throughout the movie. Huey himself appears in an uncredited role in the beginning of the film as a dorky teacher who tells Marty McFly and his band that they are “too darn loud” when they audition by playing an electrified version of “The Power of Love”. The Behind the Scenes feature on “Looking Back to the Future” shows extended footage of Huey’s scene including some of his lines which were cut from the film. Huey is also shown telling Michael J. Fox that his guitar playing is “perfect”. Michael J. Fox had actually been a guitar player since he was a teenager. He was very proud of the fact that he played every note seen on screen in the “Johnny B. Goode” scene. That leads me to the one aspect of the film that isn’t followed up when Marty returns to 1985. He did get to play guitar for an audience in 1955 but there’s no musical triumph when he returns to 1985. I only saw “Back to the Future Part II” once so I don’t remember if this comes up in that film. I’ll have to watch that one again (as well as Part 3).
I have to write more about Michael J. Fox. He was a huge star in 1985 because of his star-making performance in the TV show, “Family Ties”. I loved that show and I bought teen magazines like “Teen Beat” which were filled with photos of him. Because he could not get out of shooting “Family Ties”, “Back to the Future” was actually shot with Eric Stolz playing Marty. Six weeks into filming, production stopped and a deal was made for Michael J. Fox to shoot “Family Ties” during the day and “Back to the Future” at night. So the movie was reshot with Michael J. Fox and he kept up that crazy schedule to complete the movie. He is a great actor and is still acting today. It’s nice that he wasn’t a one hit (or two hit) wonder in 1985 and has had a long, successful acting career.
How cool was the DeLorean? I think it would be cool to have just as a car even without it being a time machine. But on second thought, as Michael J. Fox said in the Behind the Scenes feature, it was “not a practical car”. As he pointed out, if you parked next to another car, you wouldn’t be able to open the door to get out. So there’s that and the fact that people would probably expect it to be a time machine and want you to drive 88 mph.
Writing of time machines, in the Behind the Scenes feature, Huey Lewis was asked where he would go if he could go to another time. He answered the 1950’s which makes sense for him and the style of music he loves. I would go back to 1963 and stay around until 1970 so I could hear Beatles songs as they were first released and everything the band did would be as it happened, not seen in retrospect decades later.
Guitar Train passengers, what time period would you go to and why?