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SoundTRAX: "Back to the Future"

 The soundtrack cover for "Back to the Future" features star Michael J. Fox looking at his watch while getting out of a DeLorean that has left fiery tire marks.
Geffen Records
/
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

"Great Scott!"

Back to the Future was released 38 years ago today.

A stellar cast including Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson. A cool car. And the extreme awkwardness of potentially dating your mom. Oh, it had it all.

It's hard to imagine Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly but he was actually cast in the role and had already filmed several scenes before the Powers That Be decided that, while a fine actor, he just wasn't the right fit for the part.

Michael J. Fox was everyone's first choice, but he was starring in the mega-hit TV show Family Ties at the time and when showrunner Gary David Goldberg was asked by director Robert Zemeckis to give the script to Fox, he didn't, not wanting it to harm the series.

But when it became clear Stoltz wasn't going to work out, Zemeckis' mentor and collaborator Steven Spielberg made one last plea to Goldberg, who finally acquiesced and told Fox about the part. Fox, being no dummy, jumped at the offer without even reading the script.

By the end of its theatrical run, Back to the Future grossed over $219 million, making it the highest grossing film of 1985 and spawning two sequels and even a stage production.

The soundtrack features tunes from the film's composer Alan Silvestri, as well as Eric Clapton, Etta James and Lindsey Buckingham.

But come on, we all know who the star is.

The guy who has a cameo role in the film as one of the judges who finds Marty McFly's group The Pinheads "just too darn loud."

The one and only Huey Lewis.

He and The News were tapped to write two songs for the film— one to play over the credits, which would become "Back in Time" — and the official theme song.

A theme song that references absolutely nothing about the film, but was a catchy enough earworm to not only become a #1 hit, it is also today's SoundTRAX selection.

For the 38th anniversary of Back to the Future, it's Huey Lewis and the News with "The Power of Love."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.