Entries in Meco (4)
I recently posted a long piece on the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special. Now, thanks to Suvudu, comes news of another vintage Star-Wars-themed assault on the holiday season (which, thankfully, I never experienced as a child): "Christmas in the Stars: the Star Wars Christmas Album".
Follow the link to Suvudu.com for audio excerpts from this 1980 travesty, including such ear-raping tracks as "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)".
Wikipedia gives the following description of the album, including references to some surprising personnel:
The album was produced by Meco Monardo (who had previously recorded Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk), with the hope that this would be the first in a series of annual Star Wars Christmas albums. The majority of the album's original songs were written by Maury Yeston, a Yale University music professor who went on to become a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical composer.
The album is notable for featuring the first professional recording of Jon Bon Jovi (credited as "John Bongiovi", his birth name), who sang lead vocals on the song "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas." His cousin Tony Bongiovi co-produced the album and ran the recording studio at which it was recorded, where Jon was working sweeping floors at the time.
After the first printing of 150,000 copies, Meco was asked to allow George Lucas' name to be credited beside his under "Concept by". Due to the success of the album, the studios were ready to do a second printing, which would give Lucas credit. But before the second record printing could be done, RSO Records shut down due to an unrelated lawsuit.
Not mentioned here is Anthony Daniels, whose C-3PO voice is unmistakable on the track, "The Odds Against Christmas". Daniels is something of a marvel to me. Is there anything he will not stoop to? Has he ever refused a paying gig?
When Star Wars broke into my consciousness in 1977 it was likely the first, or nearly the first, element of popular culture to do so. I was four years old and generally paid no attention (as far as I can remember) to popular films, television or music at that time. So it's easy to overlook the fact that the Star Wars craze coincided with the disco craze.
Disco's forgotten love affair with Star Wars begat some truly horrible offspring. First up is, of course, the Osmonds. You will especially enjoy the dancing stormtroopers towards the end.
But both Star Wars and disco were international phenomenons. The French embraced both in this delightful segment, featuring a cameo from Jodi Foster.
Weirder still is when the Japanese seize upon both Star Wars and disco to sell canned tuna.
But I don't want you to think that nothing good came out of the disco/Star Wars dalliance. Meco's Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk was a hit record in 1977, and you can hear why. It's actually quite marvellous. There is a three-minute track available on YouTube and an eight-minute cut on iTunes but I'm a purist: the link below is to the full 15 minute version.