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The Power of Love

by

Huey Lewis & the News



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was featured in the movie Back to the Future and included on the soundtrack. It plays in a scene where Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) hears it as he rides his skateboard from the doctor's house to school.
This was the last song added to the movie because it was finished just two days before the final mix of the movie was completed. Back to the Future went into production with "I Want a New Drug" as a temporary track to use until a more suitable song was written. "I Want a New Drug" did make the movie - it is in a scene where Marty McFly listens to it as his alarm clock goes off.
Along with Stephen Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, music supervisor Bones Howe lobbied Lewis to write and record a song with a time theme for the movie - Lewis said that he had "a great idea" for a song called "Nick of Time." The producers and director (Zemeckis) loved it, but other commitments kept Lewis from delivering "Nick of Time" to Back to the Future - Patti LaBelle ended up singing it over the end titles of another film, Brewster's Millions. The producers of Back To The Future were upset about losing "Nick of Time," but Lewis assured them that he had a better song for the end of the film: "Back in Time."
An early scene in the film has Marty McFly and his band auditioning for the high school dance. Lewis played the teacher that turns McFly down. The group plays the beginning of this when Lewis cuts them off before singing a note.
This was the first of 3 US #1 hits for the group. The others were "Stuck With You" and "Jacob's Ladder." (thanks Brad Wind - Miami, FL for all above)
This appears on several greatest hits compilations. Its only appearance on a Huey Lewis studio album is the UK version of Fore!
In the '70s, Huey Lewis was in a band called Clover with Alex Call, who went on to write "Jenny (867-5309)" for Tommy Tutone and "Little Too Late" for Pat Benatar. He provided the title. Says Alex:
I was hanging out in LA and writing, and I had kind of a big power ballad thing called Power Of Love. Huey called me up one day and said, 'What are you writing,' and I said, 'I've got this song called Power Of Love.' A few months later, they cut me in the deal. It's a lot like a song I would write. Huey and I go back a ways together, and we used to room together - we had a house together and listened to a lot of music together. That song really could be one of my songs, which sounds crazy because they wrote it, and I think they're brilliant - Johnny Colla and Chris Hayes are the guys who really did that music. That modulation and all that kind of stuff, that's the same kind of stuff I do - going to the odd key for the bridge. That might be why I'm having a hard time getting cuts here in Nashville, because I still do that kind of stuff."

According to Alex, Lewis gave him 10% of the publishing in exchange for the title, which was done out of goodwill, as titles aren't copyrighted.
Around this time, a lot of songs came out with the same title, including a Laura Branigan song that became hit for Celine Dion. Says Call, "If a title is floating around, a lot of songwriters get it. There's no doubt about it, I've heard that so many times over the years, so I know it's true. You have thousands of qualified songwriters every day trying to come up with titles for songs. There's how many songs called 'I Will?'"
Call did not get a composer credit for his contribution, but he does get paid for it. He explains:
"Rock bands, they frequently piece stuff out and then don't put everybody on the copyright. I think in that case, they didn't want my name on the copyright. I think they knew it was going to be a huge breakout hit and they didn't want to confuse the issue with somebody outside the circle. I was happy to get paid. I was a little miffed at the time - if I had my name on that I could have turned it into a publishing deal, but then I'd probably be living in L.A. and I hated L.A., so it's just as well that it worked out the way it did." (Check out our interview with Alex Call.)
The Tower of Power horn section played on this. In addition to their '70s R&B hits like "You're Still A Young Man" and "What Is Hip?," Tower of Power's horn section has played on albums by Santana, Heart, America, Elton John and many others. Founding member Emilio Castillo told us how they got together with Huey Lewis & the News:
We toured with Huey Lewis for 4 years. He asked me to go on tour when he hit it big with that Sports album. He called me up, said, 'This record is going to the moon, we've got the money, we're wondering if we can hire your horn section to go on the road with us.' I said I'd love to do it, but my main thing in life is Tower of Power, the band, not the horn section. We were at a low point in our career, we were not doing well. We didn't have a record deal, we were definitely at a low ebb in the cycle. I told him, 'If you promise me that you'll promote my band at every turn, every interview, every way possible, I will do the tour. And also, I want you to allow us to bring the band out to certain key cities to do midnight shows at the local night club and I want you to promise me that you guys will come and sit in, because then it will be a scene.' He was true to his word. He mentioned us in every interview, called us by name several times during the show. He did a couple of Tower of Power songs in the show every night and then after the show was done he would always say, 'We're all going down to, let's say... Toad's Place in New Haven, Tower of Power's playing a midnight show we're going to go jam with them.' We'd go play and it would be packed because everybody wanted to see Huey Lewis and they'd come up and jam with us. We did that in several cities. That really sort of regenerated our career." (Check out our interview with Emilio Castillo. You can learn much more at his website, towerofpower.com.)
Huey Lewis & the News
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Comments (5):

Was nominated for Best Song at the 1985 Academy Awards {Lost to "Say You, Say Me" from the movie "White Nights"}!!!
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Great song yeah I know most will write it off as a cheesy 80's song but I liked it...Also I think Back to The Future part 2 was underrated.Most people think part 3 is the better sequel not me.Part 2 had a darkness to it that I liked
- brian, boston, MA
"I'm sorry son, you're just too darned loud"....classic stuff. That's the funniest scene in the movie.
- john, Grand Island, NY
What a truly spectacular song!
- George, Calumet City, IL
"The Power Of Love" was arguably the most popular song-title of the 1980s - at least four different artist released unrelated songs with this name which bcecame big hits (the other three I'm thinking of are Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Jennifer Rush (whose version was also successfully covered by Celine Dion a decade later) and Luther Vandross, although Huey's version remains probably the best-known worldwide, including the UK where it made the Top 20 twice on two different releases within a year of each other, and continues to played to death by radio to this day.
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
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