On May 25th, 1977 Star Wars entered our collective consciousness. If you’re old enough to remember the film’s opening day, well, you’re older than us; but George Lucas (bless his wookie heart) had at least thirty years of plot tinkering to do, thus ensuring all future generations would drop their allowance on toys you’re not even supposed to take out of the goddamned box. ANYWAY, here at Stereogum we’re gonna celebrate the only way we know how: by breaking down the sci-fi saga’s greatest contributions to music, and not posting a Nerf Herder MP3.
Darth Vader Gets His Own Theme
(Middle of space, Empire Strikes Back)
One of the most famous music motifs of the last thirty years, The Imperial March didn’t actually appear until the beginning of Empire. But since then it has been clubbed up, scratched out, and, astonishingly, hand-farted by a guy with way too much free time (oh YouTube, are we reaching the point of diminishing returns? No? Good.). As scenes go, pizza-pie shaped destroyers floating aimlessly in space isn’t all that thrilling; it’s the perfect, 18-note expression of pure evil that makes it memorable.
Max Rebo Plays The Keyboard
(Jabba’s palace, Return Of The Jedi)
For those of you who might not remember, Max Rebo was the session pianist for Sy Snootles, the trunk-lipped singer for Jabba’s house band. One of the most tragically underutilized action figures — er, characters — in the entire series, Max was like a frumpy, baby-blue elephant in a diaper. In the revised edition of Return Of The Jedi, Lucas saw fit to go back in and add a bunch of crap to Max’s scene, but you can watch the original here, or listen to an MP3 here. Sy’s big hit sounds a bit like a Morris Day and the Time b-side. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Some Good Guys Fight A Bad Guy
(Gungan Palace Reactor Core, The Phantom Menace)
Count us among the many moviegoers who were unimpressed with the three “prequel” episodes. Too little good acting, too much galactic C-SPAN. One of the bright spots was “Duel of the Fates,” the song that accompanies one of the six-million interchangeable lightsaber battles between some guys whose names we forgot, and some other guys whose names we never bothered to learn. Maybe it’s not as iconic as the original Star Wars theme, and maybe the chorus is the movie-score equivalent of unnecessary Light and Magic, but it has enough ups and downs to keep things interesting.
Figrin D’an And The Modal Nodes Kill It At The Cantina
(Mos Eisley Cantina, Star Wars AKA A New Hope)
The creature costumes in this scene haven’t stood the test of time, but the music sure has. One part Muppet Movie, one part Jamaican steel-drum beatdown, this song plays like old-timey vaudeville on acid, or at least some really good hydroponic. The fact that it’s played by a bunch of guys with boiled potatoes for heads makes it even sweeter.
The Ewoks Sing That Damn Ewok Song
(Moon of Endor, Return Of The Jedi)
Yes, this scene is as terrible as you remember. And yes, the Ewoks were as shameless a cross-marketing scheme as you’ll see in a movie. But damn — yub nub! You just can’t argue with nonsense that cute. Unless, of course, it’s sung by a barbershop quartet.
Okay nerf herders, tell us what we missed.