Sunday, May 13, 2007
Gettin' Down At The Death Star (re-post)
Meco Monardo was born in 1939 in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania.Meco worked from 1965 to 1974 as a studio player, and also landed a number of arranging gigs, most notably on Tommy James' "Crystal Blue Persuasion." His breakthrough arrived in 1974 when he co-produced the Gloria Gaynor smash "Never Can Say Goodbye," followed by the Carol Douglas masterpiece "Doctor's Orders." Having aligned himself with Broadway arranger Harold Wheeler and producer Tony Bongiovi, Meco was now on his way to producing several early disco hits.
On May 25, 1977, Meco joined the people at a New York City theatre who were lined up to see the opening day screening of a new film starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Like millions of other fans seeing George Lucas' "Star Wars" for the first time, Meco thought the film was a tour de force. He loved the music-although he didn't think the main title theme, as performed by John Williams and The London Symphony Orchestra, was commercial enough to be a Top 40 single.
Before long, he had conceived of a 15-minute disco treatment of several themes in the movie, including the music played by the Cantina Band in the bar on Tatooine. He also planned to include R2-D2 sound effects. He called Jimmy Ienner at Millennium Records and Neil Bogart at Casablanca Records and explained his idea. Based on the tremendous success of "Star Wars," Bogart and Ienner agreed to Meco's idea without hearing any of the music.
Meco hired (unheard of for a pop production) 75 musicians to play on the track, and played trombone and keyboard himself.The complete composition was released as part of an album, "Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk," and on a 12" single. The original main title theme by The London Symphony Orchestra was released by 20th Century Records and entered the Hot 100 on July 9, 1977, less than two months after the film opened. Monardo was wrong about it's commerciality; it raced up to number 10 on the charts. But Meco's version, "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band," which debuted on the chart on August 6, 1977, raced past it to go to number one the week of October 1, 1977 where it stayed for two weeks.
Here for you now is "Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk"! Enjoy!
MECO-Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk