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Patrick's Past: Back to "Back to the Future"

"Back To The Future" rose to become one of the most popular movies from the '80s, and Huey Lewis & The News' musical career wasn't far behind with its new success. (Photo Used Under The Fair Use Provision of the U.S. Copyright Code)

By Patrick Trent--Eagle Staff Writer

It's pretty unusual for a 17-year-old high schooler to listen to music more than a couple of years old, much less 40 years old, but that's the very situation I've found myself in. It all started when I watched the movie “American Psycho," which is about a 1980s investment banker. It’s filled with 80s music, especially Huey Lewis & The News.

I started looking into this band and followed the rabbit hole down to artists who topped the charts but also went unnoticed. I now am up to my leg warmers in 80s music and can’t get out.

Huey Lewis & The News’ first number-one hit, “The Power of Love”, coincided with the release of “Back to the Future” in 1985. He was approached by the writers and producers to write a song for the film. Initially, Lewis was nervous because he did not know how to write a film song but the writer and producers assured him that he could write any song he wanted to.

The first song that I discovered from them was “Hip To Be Square,” which was featured in a pivotal scene in “American Psycho.” I would say that “The Heart of Rock and Roll” is my favorite song by them though. In this song, Lewis explains that while his genre is not as popular as it once was, it has been and always will be a staple in culture.

Then the search algorithm threw me for a loop and took me from Huey Lewis and The News’ traditional big band style to Madonna’s controversial yet unafraid music that has made her one of the most popular artists of the last 50 years.

Madonna released "True Blue" in 1986 through Sire Records. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S. Copyright Code)

Her first number-one hit, “Like a Virgin," was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly and produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray. This song wasn't what got me hooked on Madonna's music, however.

The first time I ever listened to Madonna was her third studio album “True Blue,” which is perceived as “light-hearted” and “cutely retro.” “Lucky Star” is my favorite Madonna song of all. It was featured on her self-titled debut album and is an upbeat song that features a lot of drums and guitar.

Listening to more Madonna brought me to Rick Astley. Although he's often referred to as a one-hit wonder, Astley has a lot of great lesser-known songs. Without a doubt, his best-known song is “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It was his first single and was later released on his debut album, “Whenever You Need Somebody.” It was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.

Rick Astley's first album "Whenever You Need Somebody" was released a year after "True Blue." (Photo Used Under The Fair Use Provision of the U.S. Copyright Code)

“Together Forever,” however, is the Astley song I think deserves the most praise. It was also released with his debut album and went on to become the second and final chart-topper for Astley. Like many of his songs, it is about being happy in a relationship. It also shares a similar melody and chord structure as “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

With most other types of music you need a personal connection to relate to it, but not 80s pop. It's different in that regard. It's fun music to listen to while you’re doing your regular day-to-day tasks from driving to work or school to folding laundry. It will put you in a good mood and keep you there.

Who knows what I’m going to discover next, but for right now I am enjoying the music these great artists have released.

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