Music fans everywhere were shocked by the news that Eddie Van Halen, guitarist and founder of legendary band Van Halen, had passed away after a long battle with cancer. As the world grieves the rocker, fans are remembering the best moments of Van Halen’s long career. From collaborations with Michael Jackson to writing movie scores, it feels like there’s not much in the entertainment world that Van Halen failed to touch. And it turns out, he had a secret part in a beloved ’80s comedy about time travel.
He might not have shown his face, but Van Halen added his guitar ability to a memorable scene from Back to the Future. When a TMZ reporter approached the Van Halen brothers in an airport, Eddie gamely answered his questions. “In Back to the Future, when Marty McFly puts the cassette tape in the Walkman, it says Edward Van Halen on the tape. Is that you?” the reporter asked. “Yeah,” Eddie answered.
Eddie Van Halen technically provided music for "Back to the Future"
When you think “iconic music scene” and Back to the Future, you’re probably thinking of Michael J. Fox’s “Johnny B. Goode” performance at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. Van Halen’s contribution came much earlier in the movie, when Marty McFly wakes up his teenaged father while dressed in a Hazmat suit (via YouTube). Marty pops his Walkman headphones on his sleeping pop, then presses play on some pure guitar noise, which we now know was provided by Mr. Van Halen himself. When his terrified father looks up, Marty orders, “Silence, earthling.”
How come it took Back to the Future fans decades to find out the truth? There’s a reason Van Halen didn’t get soundtrack credit for his contribution. As he told TMZ, what he recorded wasn’t music, “just noise.” Still, being part of such an iconic movie? Pretty rocking.
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