If you’re wondering what this is, sometimes, in the world we live in today, for sanity’s sake, I need to write something really dumb. This is one of those times.
In the first act of 1985’s Back to the Future, Marty McFly and his band, The Pinheads, audition for the school dance. It’s only a few seconds into The Pinheads’ performance when one of the judges (played by Huey Lewis) interrupts The Pinheads and disqualifies them from the competition for being “too darn loud.” Now, while watching the film, this is presented to us in a way in which we are supposed to empathize with Marty (and, presumably, the rest of The Pinheads) over what appears to be an unfair judging system. But the truth is: The Pinheads were bad and deserved to be cut.
What kind of audition was this anyway? The Pinheads were auditioning for a high school dance, so in The Pinheads’ ever-missing wisdom, they decided to just riff some guitar jams? How are teenagers at a school dance supposed to dance to that? I mean, maybe if The Pinheads had just killed it up there, you then give the judges a little flair, but beginning with some freestyle riffs? Oh puh-leeze.
And now let’s get into their song selection: The Pinheads decide to audition with what I can only assume is an all-instrumental version of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love.” Why are there no lyrics? Honestly, I think the judges were very patient waiting a full 20 seconds of The Pineads’ jamming “Power of Love,” with no hint that there would ever be vocals, before understandably shutting them down.
And now we have to get into the weird meta commentary of The Pinheads’ choice of “Power of Love” as their audition song in the first place. Now, we know that in our world “Power of Love” was a number one hit for Huey Lewis and the News and is the song most closely associated with the Back to the Future franchise. (Sorry, ZZ Top.) But in the universe that Marty and The Pinheads live in, does “Power of Love” exist? Now, we know that Huey Lewis and the News exists because when Marty wakes up back in 1985 at the end of the movie, “Back in Time” is playing on the radio. So did The Pinheads just decide to cover “Power of Love” and give it their own terrible flair, or is “Power of Love” an original Pinheads creation? (We do hear “Power of Love” quite a few times during Back to the Future, but it’s played over the action, as opposed to incorporated into the movie where characters are actively listening to it.)
If it is a cover, did The Pinheads realize that that Huey Lewis himself would be judging their audition? Now, the chances are Huey Lewis isn’t playing himself because that wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but his character is never given a name so we can’t know for sure. But if he is playing himself, The Pinheads’ choice of song is incredibly pandering and, frankly, a little offensive to Mr. Lewis considering how The Pinheads butchered the song. If Huey Lewis is playing a character, which is the most likely scenario, then Marty has to at least realize that the judge has a striking resemblance to Huey Lewis. Was this the thought process? Did The Pinheads get a look at the judge and decide that since the guy looks like Huey Lewis, that, ergo, he must like music by Huey Lewis?
If in the world of Back to the Future it was The Pinheads who wrote “Power of Love,” then that version of 1985 really was pretty bleak. One of the better pop songs of the year was created and butchered by these fools – these Pinheads.
Then again, we didn’t hear “Back in Time” until after Marty returned to 1985. We have no real proof that Huey Lewis and the News existed in Marty’s original 1985. Maybe whatever Marty did in 1955 had the unseen repercussion of transforming a meek high school music judge into the man who would lead The News to 1980s glory. Huey Lewis was five years old in 1955, so maybe Marty had some sort of interaction with him. Maybe five-year-old Huey Lewis got wind of Marty’s guitar solo and the Under the Sea dance and it changed Lewis’ life forever? So I’m pretty positive that judge is Huey Lewis, and Marty’s tampering of time made Lewis a pop singer in the new timeline after Marty returned.
So, in that sense, maybe we should be thanking The Pinheads for giving us Huey Lewis and the News. But as for their audition, they deserved to be cut. Huey Lewis was being kind when he told them they were just too darn loud. The Pinheads were bad and deserved what they got.
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