Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band
by Meco

Album: Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (1977)
Charted: 7 1
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  • Hello, Star Wars fans, and welcome to your moment of galactic disco funk madness!

    Meco (not to be confused with Nico of Velvet Underground fame) goes by the real name of Domenico Monardo, and he is both band leader and record producer. Along with this composition, he also released similar pieces based on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Wizard of Oz, and other blockbuster films. He even charted as late as 1982 with "Pop Goes the Movies," a medley of film homages.
  • You have to wonder what got into people in 1977. Everything had to have a disco song version. And this is perhaps the most impressive attempt, at a tiring seven minutes in duration. The album version is a full 15 minutes. It has samples of wookiee growling and R2-D2 beeping (R2 even gets a solo!). However, in retrospect, it may seem to some as second in cheesiness only to the Star Wars Christmas Special, which we love to refer to every chance we can work it in. If you lived through the late '70s, you doubtless flashed back to roller disco while listening to this.
  • Fans with a keen ear will notice that many of the musical leitmotifs for each of the major characters are covered in this song as well. For those of you who have no idea what we're talking about, leitmotifs are little musical snippets attached to characters in media - "Hail to the Chief" might be considered the president's leitmotif, and "Jingle Bells" as Santa Claus'. In Star Wars, "The Imperial March" plays whenever Darth Vader's part in the story comes up (or scenes showing his army or Death Star). There's also themes for Luke, Leia, and other characters and settings.
  • One more bit of trivia - the "Cantina theme" actually has its own name - it's called "Mad About Me" according to Wookieepedia. This is the jazzy little tune played by the quartet of fish-headed aliens (their in-script name is "Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes") when Luke and Obi-Wan enter the "wretched hive of scum and villainy" to hire a ride off Tatooine.
  • The original Star Wars arcade video game (the upright cabinet with the 3D color vector graphics) would sometimes randomly play a snippet of the bouncy Cantina theme in attract mode. By the way, it might be worth your while to check out the Mame project, which makes a software emulator system for old arcade games, thus allowing you to play them on your PC desktop (or even your laptop or phone, conceivably) - providing you legally own the original game's ROM software, of course.
  • Meco was enthralled with John Williams' "main title theme" when he first saw Star Wars on opening day in 1977, but he didn't think the London Symphony Orchestra performance had the makings of a Billboard hit (he was wrong: the original version peaked at #10). After seeing the movie 10 more times, he contacted Casablanca Records with his idea for a disco treatment that incorporated the main musical themes. The Force was strong with Meco: the label agreed to his concept without hearing any of the music, due to Star Wars' massive popularity.

Comments: 3

  • George Pope from Vancouver BcI'm curious how they made R2D2's little beeps -- manually operated slide whistle, or electronic synth of some kind?
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenIf you listen to this with headphones, you can hear dropouts in the left channel that occur at 1:37 and 2:18. I always wondered what happened and how they got overlooked (or ignored).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 1st 1978, "Theme from Close Encounters" by Meco entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #61; and six weeks later on February 12th, 1978 it peaked at #25 {for 2 weeks} and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    The week it peaked at #25 the original version of the song by John Williams was at #14 on the Top 100, it would peak at #13...
    Meco would have six records make the Top 100 chart; his biggest hit was "Star War Theme/Cantina Band". it would peak at #1 {for 2 weeks} on September 25th, 1977...
    Meco, born Domenico Monardo, celebrated his 75th birthday thirty-four days ago on November 29th {2014}.
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