First Hit #1: October 1, 1977
It’s only natural that the Star Wars theme managed to become a big hit in ’77. The film was one of those massive hits that becomes a cultural touchstone for a generation, and it was also one of those films that takes merchandising to new and incredible heights. So it’s only natural that a soundtrack selection would find its way onto the charts and into the homes of a lot of people.
Of course, in ’77, disco was also a pretty big deal, and people had been combining disco beats with pretty much anything they could get their hands on. So if someone’s going to disco up a popular film franchise, that might be something that’s going to sell like gangbusters. Enter Meco, who decided that the one thing Star Wars was lacking was the funk, and so he made a disco version of the iconic score.
Apart from selling stupidly well, it’s a success largely because it works, much better than you expect. John Williams’ orchestral score doesn’t really need the extra funk, and it doesn’t sound dated as hell unlike this revised version, but adding disco actually makes it sound more sci-fi. There’s the strategic use of pew-pews from the film, but there’s this conscious effort to make it sound slightly futuristic and “spacey” that the original score doesn’t have. It’s not better, or better suited to the film, but it gives it a different dimension and it’s actually successful in its bizarre aims. It’s fun, and that’s all dance music needs to be.