Greatest Un-Hits: Meco’s “Theme From Superman” (1978)
Despite the cool, vaguely exotic euro-discoy name, Meco was really a kind of nerdy dude from Pennsylvania (real name: Domenico Monardo). As such, Meco loved only two things in life: over-the-top disco music, the kind with both lots of violins and laserlike keyboard sound effects; and Star Wars. In the late ’70s then, it was very good to be Meco indeed, to be living in a world whose pop culture was dominated by these, his two passions. He must have felt a divine kiss from the creator every time he awoke, or put a disco beat on an instrumental cue from a movie score. Because that’s pretty much what Meco did: he recorded disco versions of movie theme songs.
This kind of thing would be a heavily ironic Internet meme that would be the hot ticket for a day or two, but such was the climate in the very late ’70s and very early ’80s that Meco did that which came naturally and it made him legitimately, extremely successful. Most of Meco’s hits were disco versions of songs from sci-fi films, particularly the various Star Wars films, including “Empire Strikes Back Medley” (#18), “Ewok Celebration (#60), and “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” (#1), in the former, and reworkings of music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Wizard of Oz in the latter (if you consider The Wizard of Oz a sci-fi film, and I do, because its got a man made of metal and magical red shoes). Meco even did a version of the theme from the Shogun miniseries.
The one major Meco song that couldn’t make it was an uncharted disco version of the theme from the monster hit 1978 Superman movie (or a disco version of the less remembered “Love Theme”). It’s as arguably iconic and universally recognizable as the Star Wars music; hell, John Williams wrote both of them. Meco liked to call what he did “space disco,” and Americans only liked their space disco if it concerned space directly, not just a guy who’s from space. Or a Shogun. Or dead witches. Just not Superman, the real American hero.