You won’t see or hear it in “The Force Awakens,” but the famous 20th Century Fox drum-roll and fanfare followed by the blaring opening note of John Williams’ “Main Title” theme for Star Wars is the audible equivalent of popcorn and butter. The two musical pieces are so intricately linked that if I hear the Fox piece I get excited and automatically expect the Star Wars intro to follow – regardless of the movie I’m watching.
Like many a kid in the summer of 1977 I was completely taken by George Lucas’ inaugural space opera, so much so that I unabashedly spent most of my meager savings on the original soundtrack for the film – a purchase that seemed to make a lot more sense than spending the money on one of the popular disco records at that era.
The Star Wars motion picture soundtrack was a double-album “composed and conducted by John Williams” and “performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.” I already knew of John Williams from his work on the movie Jaws (which was in theaters the previous summer) and as a fourteen year-old kid I was excited to see his connection to yet another movie I loved.
The LP records went immediately onto my Western Auto turntable where I could play two of the four sides back-to-back using the handy-dandy automatic changer-arm — space-age technology at its best. I listened to the records for weeks, easily reliving the film’s exciting adventures in my mind’s eye (with no splinters mind you.)
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I even listened to the soundtrack when I would go to bed at night – all night – as one side would repeat continuously if you left the changer-arm off to the side. My favorite record side was the first, which included the Main Title, Imperial Attack, Princess Leia’s Theme, and The Desert and the Robot Auction.
Words cannot describe the weird sensation of waking up in the middle of the night to the transcendental sounds of The Desert and the Robot Auction, a track that would years later be changed to “The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler (Medley).”
The original Star Wars soundtrack is easily one of the most recognized film scores ever created and one that, when you close your eyes, immediately transports you to another place and time, just as the movie’s famous tagline promises.
You can treat yourself by listening to the original motion picture soundtrack for Star Wars on vinyl, courtesy of Jonathan Spinasanto’s YouTube channel!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQYzgi-FelU
As mentioned, 1977 was also a big year for disco music, so it only stands to reason that the popular Star Wars sounds would be transformed into tunes made for the dance floor. The record producer Meco (AKA Domenico Monardo) fashioned together an instrumental disco mash-up called, Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk.
I have to admit that the Meco album also became part of my record collection. It even had a number-one hit single that blended the main Star Wars theme with the “Cantina Band” tune. I also loved the album’s cover art, by illustrator Robert Rodriguez (the same artist who did the Quaker Oats guy), which had nothing to do with Star Wars, but was still extremely cool in a sexy pulp sci-fi way.
Listen to Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk on YouTube, courtesy of MauldtheMan!
It was announced recently that next June the legendary John Williams will be receiving a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, the first time that the honor has been bestowed upon a composer. Williams has composed the music for each of the Stars Wars feature films, including J.J. Abrams’ upcoming and highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
In other Star Wars music news, this coming January Sony Classical will be releasing newly restored audio collections of Star Wars Episodes I – VI, including a giant “Ultimate” edition that contains all of the soundtracks and a ton of bonus materials. If that doesn’t make you feel like dancing, maybe this video will!
More from Nerdvana:
- Nerdvana’s Episode 7 Days of Star Wars: A New Hope
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Space opera done right (spoiler-free review)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast and crew rake in Saturn Awards
- Wiseguy Wookiee: Chewing scenery in The Force Awakens
- Nerdvana’s Episode 7 Days of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back