It’s that special time of year again! The day when the gazillion Star Wars fans get to celebrate all things Jedi and Sith – May the 4th! In honor of this very special day, and to highlight the longevity of the popularity of the characters, via another pop culture phenomenon, here’s what happened when C-3PO and R2-D2 figured out “how to get to Sesame Street.”
Since today, May the 4th, marks the annual celebration of that film in the galaxy far, far away known to the billions of generations as Star Wars, I thought it would be fun to go back to 1976, the year right before the film was released when filming was still underway and a generation of science-fiction fans were being teased with elements and characters from the upcoming space opera, most notably at that year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The SDCC that everyone knows today circa 2016 was nothing like what it was four decades ago. There was no social media; there was no hint of that kind of anticipatory buzz that comes with each upcoming Con as the New Year bell tolls; cosplay was a term that was non-existent in those days, as well as even trying to get licensed or unlicensed for that matter favorite character paraphernalia to dress up in. You wanted a Spidey mask to wear? You best ask your mom to ask your grandmother to knit one out of itchy yarn. The things that Comic-Con goers take and see as gospel in today’s climate was light years away, unheard of, in 1976.
The truth: I was having trouble coming up with a Star Wars Day “May the Fourth” feature that would be just as good or better than what I wrote last year. I had more time then, I do a lot of reviews now, and my brain wasn’t working. Luckily, I ran into my friends Brad and Christine who provided me with an idea. Based on the passion with which they spoke about it, it seemed like something worth talking about, especially since “Hans shot first” is obviously out of the way. The question?
Why doesn’t Darth Vader or Obi-Wan acknowledge C-3PO (or R2-D2), when the former built Threepio as a child and hung around a lot with R2, and the latter spent so much time with them?
There have been so many reasons why the Star Wars franchise has been so astronomically successful, and of course, one of the biggest elements is the John Williams theme song for the film, which without question has to be one of the top five (or maybe even three) most memorable songs ever included in a motion picture score. From the collective explosion of notes from the brass section of Williams’ well-oiled orchestra, to the beginning strains of the theme which fires the song cylinders in motion, to its sweeping, soaring bridge, right back to a coda that has the same intensity like the final proton torpedoes that shoot from Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing to destroy the Death Star back in that galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars Theme is melded and soldered in public consciousness.
So while John Williams’ rendition of the theme may be highly and instantly recognized and loved, it has also spawned a few versions by other artists that range from sincere to insane, credible to ridiculous, and funky hi-fi and low-fi. Covering a Star Wars tune, regardless of approach, seems to be a popular pastime that, especially in this viral, video, anyone-can-be-a-star-today age we live in, scores of people manifest with either wonderful or ridiculous results, sometimes all in the same song.
In honor of today being “May The Fourth,” a special Star Wars day of observance, here’s some of the best and worst covers of “The Theme From Star Wars” are listed here below. May the Force Be With Tune!