Marty McFly playing Johnny B. Goode (Picture: Universal)
If you love Back To The Future, no doubt you love the moment Marty McFly gets up on stage in front of his past mum and dad and blasts out Johnny B. Goode.
Chuck Berry, who sadly passed away at the age of 90, was hugely influential on one of the most famous movies of the last four decades.
In so many ways the moment Marty cracked out Berry’s track was of huge significance to the film, not least because it was the moment Marty introduced the future to the past.
The 50s kids were given an insight into rock n roll, three years before the song’s 1958 release, and although they were left stoney-faced at the end by Marty’s overzealous outro, up until that point they’d been boogieing along to a sound like they’ve never heard before.
And while Marty had been warned by Doc not to change the past in case it changed his future, in this case, he didn’t listen.
There is the fact the scene hints that Chuck Berry was inspired by his own song and thus Marty kicked off a whole new genre of music – as in the movie his ‘cousin’ Marvin Berry, the guitarist who hurt his hand and whom Marty had to take over playing from, gives him a call midway through Marty’s energetic performance and says: ‘Chuck, it’s your cousin Marvin Berry. You know that new sound you’re looking for? Listen to this.’
According to Billboard, director Robert Zemeckis knew exactly what he was doing with that track. Apparently: ‘”Goode” perfectly represented the disruptive nature of Berry’s blues-influenced music, the first rock-star origin story defined by a swagger and showmanship that had not yet invaded radio.’
The ‘oldie where I come from’ is even more symbolic than that.
It’s a moment when Marty comes crashing in uninvited like the DeLorean and shakes up the state of calm. Exactly like Chuck did to the music scene.
It’s also significant because it’s the moment in the movie where the equilibrium is restored – he has secured his own future in getting his parents back together, he’s defeated school bully Biff, and, after a pretty tense time following his accidental trip back to the 50s, is afforded a moment to just cut loose. The futuristic music rights the wrongs committed by Marty’s invasion of the past.
Chuck also introduced the world to a new future with his songs.
And Marty leaves an impact in the movie that will effectively change the course of music forever. Exactly as Chuck Berry did.