Behind-the-scenes footage of Michael J Fox playing guitar ahead of Back To The Future's school dance audition scene confirms he had serious chops back in '85

Michael J Fox in 1985 film Back To The Future
(Image credit: Universal Pictures / YouTube)

It's no secret Michael J Fox is an accomplished guitarist. But what you may not realise is he was always a good one – and though he didn't play the final solo in the Johnny B Goode scene towards the end of the film, the fiery shred licks in Back To The Future's iconic "you're just too damned loud" high school dance audition scene were all Fox. And this video proves it. 

The archive 1985 footage below shows a 23--year-old Fox and his guitar teacher for the film, a very rock n' roll-looking Paul Hanson, prepping for the scene, set in a school gymnasium. "He's an amazing guitar and a really talented musician," notes Fox of Hanson. "And a great teacher - really patient."

Hanson also played bass in Fox's fictional band The Pinheads in the scene.

He clearly had a great student. The cherry on the cake is the reaction of Huey Lewis in costume for his cameo as a judge with a megaphone who delivers the damning verdict to Fox and The Pinheads – and whose demo version of the song The Power Of Love is what the band audition with.

As Fox solos with a whammy on his Ibanez Road Star ll RS 430 in the clip above, his sense of feel is undeniable. And a genuinely impressed and supportive Lewis encourages him with "Perfect" and "That's great, Michael".  

"I played guitars in bands from when I was a teenager – I played from when I was about 14 years old," Fox says in the clip from 1985 Back To The Future featurette, The Power Of Love.

It's proof Back To The Future is the gift that keeps on giving – a film that's inspired plenty of today's guitar heroes too. Fox certainly didn't stop playing after the film wrapped – and over the years and despite the huge challenges of his Parkinson's symptoms he's played onstage with artists including Joan Jett and Coldplay.  

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.