39 Years Later, the ‘Back to the Future’ Soundtrack Still Brings the Timeless Grooves

Back to the Future skidded into theaters in the summer of 1985, and the movie’s unique take on time travel has captivated audiences through the years. The soundtrack is pretty good, too, blending a selection of modern songs with old-timey classics, as the film spends a chunk of time in the 1950s. It’s this ingenious mix of styles that makes the Back to the Future soundtrack a timeless gem.

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Coming in at a modest 10 tracks, the soundtrack helps take listeners on a journey through Marty McFly’s time travels. We start out with the hit “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. This song was written for the film, but has since taken on a fame of its own. It was the band’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, cementing its future as a classic Huey Lewis song.

“The Power of Love” possesses a fun attitude that perfectly matches Marty McFly’s persona and the film’s overall vibe. It’s loose, easy, and carefree, which is echoed in its soundtrack.

“Time Bomb Town” by Lindsay Buckingham also embodies the atmosphere of the film. Another one written specifically for Back to the Future, this could potentially be labeled as Marty’s theme in the present, as it has a fun-loving, laidback energy but it feels contained in a strange way. Similarly to how Marty feels trapped in his life, scared of becoming like his parents and siblings.

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The Back to the Future Soundtrack Was Tailor-Made for the Film’s Energetic, Experimental Atmosphere

“Heaven is a Step Away” by Eric Clapton is a loosey-goosey jam that works alongside another Huey Lewis and The News song—“Back In Time.” The latter specifically was a hit in the movie, and the band basically carried the soundtrack. However, that doesn’t discredit the 50s hits featured when Marty heads back to 1955.

Chuck Berry’s fictional cousin, Marvin Berry and his band The Starlighters, play at the school dance where Marty’s parents share their first kiss after a successful rescue attempt by George McFly. This is where Chuck’s famous song “Johnny B. Goode” is featured, in a rollicking scene where Marty takes the guitarist’s place on stage after he hurts his hand.

Marty plays a rowdy guitar solo that goes right over the heads of every teenager in 1955, but it stays firmly cemented in our hearts as one of Michael J. Fox’s greatest film moments. If “The Power of Love” is the top bread of the Back to the Future sandwich, “Johnny B. Goode” is the bottom bread, perfectly holding the rest of the soundtrack together.

Featured Image via YouTube

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