In the hit 1985 film Back to the Future, 1980s teen Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, fills in on guitar at the high school dance.
As we all know by now, he blows the minds of the Fifties-era kids and musicians in attendance by incorporating power chords, feedback and two-handed tapping into “Johnny B. Goode.”
“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet,” he tells the bewildered crowd. “But your kids are gonna love it.”
True. Very true.
Something that wasn’t very “true” about the scene, however, is the guitar McFly is using. He is, in fact, playing a Gibson ES-345, which wouldn’t be introduced until 1958. The scene is set in 1955. Apparently on his way back to ’55, McFly must’ve made a pit stop in ’58 to pick up the guitar. The biggest difference is Marty’s guitar was retrofitted with a Bigsby, as many good things are.
McFly was emulating Chuck Berry and playing Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” before it was even released, thus insinuating that Berry got the idea for the song from McFly. Hey, anything’s possible!
Above, check out the “Gibson ES-345 scene” from the film, followed by Michael J. Fox’s live 2011 performance of the song, also on a very nice red Gibson. In fact, it looks the exact same ES-345 from the film, but we really can’t be sure. At least we have a question lined up if we ever meet Fox.
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