This week, the Monday Music Video goes back in time to 1985. Which is pretty much the usual time that it goes back to, so that in and of itself isn’t anything special. But “time” is very much of the essence with this week’s selection, as it was featured prominently in what is likely the preeminent time travel movie of our day, Back to the Future. So here’s “The Power of Love”, by Huey Lewis and the News.
The music video is mostly a stage performance, with the News playing at a nightclub, and explaining how the song was used in the film. In fact, it would earn a Video Music Award nomination for Best Stage Performance Video. But there’s more than just a silver-logoed jacket for Back to the Future fans to appreciate. Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc Brown from the film, showing up at the club in the time-traveling DeLorean. Apparently before he went off to 2015 at the end of the film, he made a quick pit stop to take in some tunes.
“The Power of Love” was one of two songs that Huey Lewis and the News contributed to the film, and is the one that was played during the film proper. The other, “Back in Time”, has a much stronger connection to the film’s plot — with lyrics based directly on it — but was only played during the final credits. “The Power of Love” was a massive hit — it was, in fact, the first song by the band to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would place at #15 for the year-end list, and #20 for MTV’s video countdown for 1985. Despite this, it and “Back in Time” were not released on the band’s own studio albums (except for the European release of Fore!, which featured “The Power of Love” as a bonus track). Fans in North America had to buy the single or the Back to the Future soundtrack if they wanted to have the song in their collection. It would finally be released on a Greatest Hits album in 1996, more than ten years after its initial release, while “Back in Time” would be released on another Greatest Hits album a decade after that.
Of course, as fans of the film and song know, the connection between Huey Lewis and Back to the Future extends just slightly beyond the two songs that were contributed. A poster version of the album art for Sports, the band’s 1983 album, is featured prominently on Marty McFly’s bedroom wall. And, of course, Huey Lewis has a cameo in the film as the music competition judge who tells Marty that his band is simply “too loud”.
Perhaps Marty was just playing the wrong song.