Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meco - "The Empire Strikes Back (Medley)"

The Empire Strikes Back Medley: Darth Vader/Yoda's Theme - The Best of Meco

(Debuted June 14, 1980, Peaked #18, 14 Weeks on the Chart) 

Disco was considered to be dead in 1980, but that didn't stop Meco Monardo from making a version of the music from the Star Wars sequel. He had taken a discofied version of the original film's theme to #1 in 1977, beating out the John Williams score. Fortunately for him, his take on the music from the new adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and company didn't have to contend with the original score on the Billboard chart.

While Meco was careful not to make the song too "disco," he definitely made an uptempo version of Darth Vader's theme from the movie, one that was presented in the film as a foreboding sense of an agent of evil (not something that would normally inspire a dance song). As the song ends, the music includes bits from Luke's theme and the title music but it's Vader's theme that makes up the bulk of the single. One thing I will add, though: Meco was able to get better sound effects to accentuate the music to use this time around. The ones that marked the segue between "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" in 1977 sounded really wrong to the fans of the film who had seen it several times in the theater.

I turned 8 years old in 1980. Needless to say, I watched Empire Strikes Back in the theater -- twice -- during its initial run. For a large part of my childhood, I was a Star Wars fanatic. I had the Kenner action figures and playsets, collected the Topps gum cards, and even slept under a set of sheets with images from the original movie for a few years.

That said, I still wish they could have put John Williams' version out as a single. It's a really great piece, one that makes me wonder who may have been turned on to classical or orchestral music from the influences that inspired it.

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