A Tale of Two Years

Movies in the Newspaper presents….

The Very First production….

Of a movie character’s mixtape….

That rock n’ rolls the concept of time…

Starring (come on, you should have guessed this by now)…..

Marty McFly.

If you are any where near cultured or knowledgeable in the realm of movies, you know Back to the Future. I know it became an instant hit for me when I saw it as a wee lass. I mean seriously. Tight jeans, time traveling, crazy scientists, and 80’s cheese? What more could you want. It pretty much guided most of my thoughts (“Mom? Would we be friends if you and I were the same age?”) and games I would play (Playmobil-land was turned on it’s head, let me tell you). And to this very day, it is one of my top favorites. One of the reasons? Of course, Marty McFly. Michael J. Fox was the epitome of cool (in my child mind), and evoked it down to the very last button on his red downy vest/lifesaver. But he wasn’t just plain cool. He was weirdo-cool. What kind of skateboarding, guitar-riffing teenager is beffies with an aging, crazed scientist? This guy. And that makes him that much more endearing.

Marty McFly had the privilege of experiencing two different times in music history: 1955, the early era of rock n’ roll, and 1985, a time where rock had diversified and was more experimental and ‘out-there’. Both of these periods are characterized most excellently (thanks, Bill and Ted) in the film’s set, costume, and, most importantly, music selections.

The first time Marty sets foot in his town in 1955, Mr. Sandman (the Chordettes) is playing in the background, as old cars drive around, the clocktower still works, and Coke is super cheap. The tinkly fresh sounds aren’t really what Marty is used to. Which shows (skipping to the end of the movie here…) when he solos magnificently, and embarrassingly, to Johnny Be Good at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. His love of rock, and the guitar, shows here even though we did get the first clip of him being blown clear across Doc Brown’s place via sound. It is also implied in the opening scene that Marty is jamming to “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News on his way to school. I strongly believe that this scene is what sent this single up the charts in 1985. Were you aware that the band and producers believed that the other song, played at the end credits, “Back in Time”, was going to be all that? Well, you are now. And the reason it didn’t happen is pretty much because Marty didn’t listen to it on a skateboard and get some girl’s number while it played in the background.

From his experience living in two very different worlds, he is able to appreciate and understand both new and old (or old and new, depending on what year you’re in) rock n’ roll. You want to hear what Marty is listening to as he hitches rides on the back of cars and takes a drive up to the lake house with his girlfriend? Check out his mixtape. It contains a lovely mix of modern takes on old rock, early rock n’ roll, amazing guitar solos, and 80’s hits.


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