“Hey kid,” the strange voice whispered from the dark alley of cyberspace. “C’mere, I got somethin’ for ya.”
I looked around to make sure this raspy utterance was actually directed at me. Since I was the only person sitting at my computer, I was pretty sure it was. I squinted to look deeper into the e-mail. It was Popdose’s own Mojo Flucke. “You’ll like this, kid. Trust me.”
“Here’s a DJ-only remix of Meco’s disco version of the ‘Star Wars’ theme,” Flucke hissed, sliding over an MP3 wrapped tightly in tinfoil. He must have seen the mixture of concern and horror on my face. “Don’t worry,” he tried to assure me, “it won’t hurt ya. G’wan. Try it.” Then his voice took on a soft, singsong-y tone. “Might make a good ‘Lost in the ’70s…!'”
Released among a torrent of other “Star Wars” ripoff themes in 1977, Meco’s medley of the “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” was the biggest hit of them all for the simple reason that it was the most well crafted. Sure it’s cheesy, with its disco strings, robot and laser sound effects and explosions, but it’s well-made cheese, like a smelly, extra blue-veiny roquefort. Keep in mind, Meco was the same guy who arranged Tommy James’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and produced Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Not a bad cheese-crafting pedigree. But like all other border novelty hits, it’s one that gets rare, if any, airplay on classic pop stations these days, despite selling over two million copies.
So thanks, Flucke, for today’s slice of cheese, Meco’s DJ-only promo version of “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” (download).
But right now I need another hit’a somethin’. I know there’s a baggie of “Close Encounters Theme” around here somewhere.
“Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart, #8 on the Black Singles Chart and #6 on the Club Play Singles Chart in 1977.
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