Who Sang Johnny B. Goode In Back To The Future - Was It Really Michael J. Fox?

Playing guitar in order to save his parents' relationship during their high school dance. It's the situation that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) finds himself in during 1985's "Back to the Future." The hit film follows Marty as he travels back to 1955 and meets younger versions of his parents. Marty plays with Marvin Berry (Harry Waters Jr.) and his band at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance after Marvin hurts his hand, pausing the dance. Marty hopes that the dance will lead to his parents' first kiss, and their rendition of "Earth Angel" saves the day. Marty then breaks out his version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." While the audience sees Michael J. Fox performing his heart out, he's not the one actually singing or playing the classic tune.

According to MNPR, a recording of Tim May's guitar work is synched to Fox's hand movements. As for his singing voice, that comes from Mark Campbell of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, a 1980s R&B group known for songs like "I'm Gonna be Somebody" and "Cardiac Party." Campbell received money from the film's soundtrack, but he is not credited in the movie in order to keep up with the idea that Marty is the one actually singing the song, therefore setting up a Bootstrap Paradox in this time-traveling adventure series.

How Marty McFly accidentally became a founding father of rock 'n roll

Messing with the past can change the future, and Marty is constantly reminded of that when interacting with his parents. As he works to keep the future together, he accidentally introduces new concepts to 1955, including portable music devices and "Johnny B. Goode." In 1985, people know the song as a colossal Chuck Berry hit, first heard in 1958. But when Marty plays it at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, he creates a Bootstrap Paradox, which is when information, like a song, is used in a time before its existence. This leads to the self-creation of information, with the future influencing the past, unbeknownst to those living in the past.

Marty's rendition of the song is so great that Marvin calls his cousin Chuck, begging him to listen to the new sound. To Marty, it's a song that will satisfy the crowd, but to Chuck and Marvin, it's the music of the future. The moment leads to Marty's accidental role as a founding father of rock 'n roll, and he also influences the genre with his dance moves inspired by future rock stars.

In 2020, Michael J. Fox told Empire that he worked with a choreographer for Madonna in order to bring futuristic moves to 1955. "I said, 'I dance like a duck. I can't dance. But what I'd like to do is incorporate all the characteristics and mannerisms and quirks of my favorite guitarists, so a Pete Townshend windmill, and Jimi Hendrix behind the back, and a Chuck Berry duck walk.'"