‘Star Wars’ and Its Bizarre Musical Legacy
On May 4th, the most annoying of all sci-fi holidays, we paid tribute to the greatest trilogy — and the most disappointing trilogy — of all time, all under the banner of Star Wars. While those iconic John Williams scores have come to mean way more than originally intended, the Star Wars series has also played host to a lot of music during its tenure in the zeitgeist. Behold, we dive into the rich musical history of Star Wars, VR sex for Wookiees and, of course, Jizz music.
It's hard to argue that John Williams’ score isn’t the most iconic in American film history — be it the sense of wonder the main theme immediately evokes or the characterization that “The Imperial March” gives Darth Vader and the Empire. Even in the horrible prequels, Williams’ music gave certain scenes a sense of legitimacy that the actual story didn’t. “Duel of the Fates” and “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” are able to hang with the rest of the series discography. Each composition is a wellspring of childhood memories, and a piece of Star Wars media just doesn’t feel the same without him.
STAR WARS HEADSPACE
Clearly, Star Wars is a wealth of inspiration for aspiring artists, be it musically, visually or beyond. It’s also a huge bringer of wealth for Disney and Lucasfilm, and sometimes these things don’t mix too well. Last year, Disney tapped various electronic artists to put together Star Wars Headspace, a compilation of tracks vaguely inspired by the series. The album pretty much runs the gamut of quality — it seems like big-room brocore artists like Kaskade and Claude VonStroke found scraps lying around on their computers and threw on some samples from the movie. On the other hand, guys like Bonobo and Shlohmo brought a sense of quiet and space, evoking images of cool Tatooine nights amidst the ambient sounds of droids in the background.
Did you know that there are at least 36 different genres of music in the Star Wars universe, according to (yes, this is a real thing) Wookieepedia? The best one, hands down, is Jizz music, probably best known as being played in the Mos Eisley cantina in A New Hope or as part of Jabba the Hutt's party band in Return of the Jedi. Did you know that the great Max Rebo (of Jabba the Hutt entertainment fame) is a Jizz master? You can’t tell me that Jizz isn’t your favorite style of music from that series. The only way it could be better is if they somehow resurrected the great Cab Calloway and combined the greatest genres of music known to man, Jizz and Scat. It would be incredible to hear Calloway just Scat all over that Jizz.
SUPERNOVA, “CHEWBACCA SONG”
WHAT A WOOKIEE!!! A ridiculous classic from an utterly Star Wars obsessed film, Clerks.
STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL: JEFFERSON STARSHIP "LIGHT THE SKY ON FIRE"
Grace Slick is nowhere to be found in this abomination from the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, and rightfully so. The performance of Jefferson Starship's "Light the Sky on Fire" plays out like a shitty pop / hard rock act from the '70s would: by the numbers, complete with a Derek Smalls lookalike. Also, they sing into lightsabers. SMGDH. SIDE NOTE: Anyone ever notice how much Marty Balin looks like Fredo Corleone?
STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL: DIAHANN CARROLL
Somewhere between a space hallucination, Solid Gold and the opening credits of a Bond film, here we have Diahann Carroll ripping out a song backed by the swells of a full orchestra. Question: Is this some sort of virtual porno? Why is Chewbacca’s dad watching it alone? Can you explain what “I can feel my creation! We are getting excited, aren’t we?” means in that breathy tone?
STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL: PRINCESS LEIA
Literally the perfect woman. She sings too? What can't she do?!?!?!?
"PLEASE MR. KENNEDY" FROM INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
NBD, just Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens folking around about "outer ... space." A rare moment of outsized levity from a surprisingly dark film.
CHRISTOPHER LEE, A HEAVY METAL CHRISTMAS EP
Let’s be real: Christopher Lee is basically a bad guy in a power metal record. Plus, in addition to playing Count Dooku, he was in Lord of the Rings, so he is pretty much the ideal counterpoint for Blind Guardian or any band where people hate sexuality in favor of the world of Orcs and the Eye of Sauron. This record is him talking all evil-y over some classic guitar riffs about battling dragons or something, so it might as well be the soundtrack to multiplayer gaming and abstinence.
"WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC, "YODA" AND "THE SAGA BEGINS"
Al Yankovic is a national treasure. Seriously, is ANYONE as amazing as Weird Al? He can somehow make Don McLean and the Kinks sound nerdy, yet even better.
STAR WARS GALAXIES
In the great race for online gaming in the early 2000s, LucasArts teamed with Sony Entertainment Online to develop Star Wars Galaxies. In a time when the future of MMORPGs hadn’t been dominated by World of Warcraft, there was a lot of freedom for developers in terms of what their online communities would look like. For SWG, the team took a nonlinear approach to a class / role system, resulting in one of the classes being “entertainer.” Instead of fighting monsters and shooting Stormtroopers, your job as an entertainer would literally be to hang out at cantinas all day, playing songs or dancing. Truly the greatest idea ever realized in a video game.
RED FIVE "SPACE"
There are a metric fuck-ton of bands named after relatively obscure SW references (Nerf Herder, Bossk, Eisley), so why not Luke's X-Wing call sign? This power-pop squad was unfairly resigned to dollar bins everywhere almost immediately after the release of their lone 1994 Interscope LP, Space. So catchy, so raucous, all thanks to Jenni McElrath and Beth Carmellini's killer power chords and harmonies. Their criminally shelved second album Wink is captured on Anthology 1993-1999 and well worth the $5 download.
There is a rotating spit reserved in Hell for people who hate on Ewoks. They were supposed to be Wookiees, wahhhh. Get over it. They worship false gods, consume human flesh, fuck with speeder bikes, decimate AT-STs and festively drum on (what we all like to believe are) severed Stormtrooper heads. George Lucas' first mistake wasn't including these lovable, psychotic rapscallions — it was replacing their dope victory song in the Jedi re-release with a generic John Williams number, then editing in Hayden Christensen's resting derp face.