Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale co-wrote the script for this science fiction classic. The idea originated with Gale thumbing through a yearbook. According to All The Right Movies, several things needed to be changed before the movie hit the big screen. One of them is the clock tower scene. It’s hard to imagine the film without it, but the initial idea was a nuclear explosion. However, the idea was too expensive and was left on the cutting room floor. One of the things that made the movie even more special was the soundtrack. A lot of the film takes place during the 1950s, and Silvestri, who wrote the score, captured the period perfectly. Alongside the classic numbers, others capture the 80s in all their acid wash glory. This is a ranking of the songs from the Back To The Future Soundtrack.
10. Time Bomb Town – Lindsey Buckingham
This song had approximately ten seconds when Marty McFly’s alarm clock right before getting a call from Doc. Many movie fans never understood why the song was in the film or a part of the soundtrack. After all, it is different from all of the other recordings. Later, Buckingham released it on Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham.
9. Night Train – Marvin Berry & The Starlighters
Several of the songs on this soundtrack were first recorded by Jimmy Forrest. The song’s scene is playing is during the Enchantment Under The Sea dance. This is the last number the group plays before taking a break. However, the most crucial portion of this scene is the fake fight between Marty and his future dad over his mother.
8. Back to the Future Theme – Alan Silvestri
The audience first hears this song when Marty manages to outrun a Libyan terrorist and goes back to 1955. Throughout the movie, it’s heard many different times each when a dramatic scene takes Marty McFly through time. One of the last times it’s heard in the first movie is when it ends with a wide-open space for a sequel.
7. Back in Time – Huey Lewis
Johnny Colla, Chris Hayes, and Sean Hiooer wrote this song with the lead singer for the film. If you listen closely to the lyrics, you can hear many of the movie’s plot. It’s one of two songs the group wrote for the film. However, like another later on this list, Back in Time never made it to the Hot 100. Lewis originally suggested In The Nick of Time for the movie, later an addition to the movie Brewster’s Millions and sung by Patti LaBelle.
6. The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) – Etta James
It was one of the most popular songs in the 1950s, co-written by Johnny Otis, Hank Ballard, and Etta James. The song is sometimes called Roll With Me Henry. The style of the music is call and answer. Richard Berry was uncredited for his portion. James was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for this song in 2008.
5. Back to the Future Overture – The Outatime Orchestra
Even though there are portions of this song at key moments throughout the movie, moviegoers aren’t treated to the entire suite until the credits after Huey Lewis’ second addition to the film. Silvestri’s them works well with the movie because it has light moments with brief intervals of silence only to break into several crescendos. Since the song is such a standout, it remains unchanged in the sequels.
4. Heaven Is One Step Away – Eric Clapton
In 1985, Clapton collaborated with Phil Collins on the album Behind The Sun. The tour for the album also made an appearance at the first Live Aid show. There were recorded tracks that never made it to the final cut. Instead, the singer lent it to one of the most popular movies of the 80s. Another passed-over song, Loving Your Lovin’, was on another iconic movie soundtrack, Wayne’s World. Heaven Is One Step Away was later released on Clapton’s Crossroads Box Set.
3. Earth Angel (Will Be Mine?) – Marvin Berry Featuring The Starlighters
Initially, this song was produced by Dootsie Williams and was released by the doo-wop group The Penguins. Originally, the music was supposed to have a lot more instrumentation, but it grew in popularity so quickly the changes never happened. In fact, it was the first song released by an independent label that charted. In the movie, it’s one of the songs Marty McFly plays with the band at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance. His character chose this one specifically because he wanted his parents to kiss and fall in love, so he didn’t alter history.
2. Johnny B. Goode – Marty McFly, Marvin Berry & The Starlighters
Harry Waters Jr and Mark Campbell played Michael J. Fox’s character and Berry, first recorded by Jimmy Forrest in 1951. There is another release of the song called the DeLorean version. Chuck Berry’s original recording rocked to number two on Billboard Hot R&B Sides and number two on the Hot 100. Rolling Stone considers it one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
1. The Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News
This was the group’s first Billboard Hot 100 song and second on the U.S. Mainstream Charts. It also was nominated for an Academy Award. The group was asked by Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Bob Gale to write the song. Initially, Lewis declined because he didn’t want to write one with the same title as the film. In the movie, Huey Lewis plays the judge who dismisses Marty McFly’s band, the Pin Heads. You can also hear an instrumental version when Doc calls Marty if you listen closely. After the phenomenal success on the Back To The Future Soundtrack, the group later released it on their fourth album, Fore.