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Saturday, 1 September 2018

The music of Star Wars: from the original LP onwards

The Star Wars double LP from 20th Century Records.
(This one's a UK copy, manufactured by Pye.)

Those who saw Star Wars before the addition of John Williams' music say the score transformed the movie.

Carroll Ballard, who directed second unit footage for the film, said in Dale Pollock's Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas: "It was a mind-boggling difference. It gave the hokey characters a  certain dimension. When you saw the film without the score, you couldn'ty take it serously. But the music gave it the style of an old-time serial, and it was geat fun."

In the last of our summer recaps of earlier posts (before we move on to new material in September), here's a guide to some of what Episode Nothing has had to say about the music of Star Wars.

This post, from 2013, was for a long time the most popular one I'd published. It takes a look at the original, 1977, Star Wars double LP, and how John Williams fashioned his score into four perfect sides of vinyl. I also posted about the album's return in 2015 as part of Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl Collection.

Later, I took a look at the best releases of the Star Wars soundtrack on CD. You can read part one here and part two here. I should add that the original double LP arrangement is now replicated on a single CD from Walt Disney records, and I'll aim to do a post on that before long.

There were two musical themes in Star Wars which were unique to the 1977 movie  at least until 2016, when Michael Giacchino cleverly reused them in his soundtrack to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. You can read about them (and see video clips demonstrating their every use in the movie) in two posts. One is about the original Death Star theme and the other is about the motif that John Williams originally referred to as Darth Vader's theme.

And finally, the Star Wars was one musician's debut as a contracted player with the London Symphony Orchestra. He would go on to play a key role in all of the six Star Wars scores the orchestra recorded. His name was Maurice Murphy, and you can read a little about his fascinating story here.

We'll be returning to the music of Star Wars soon after Episode Nothing resumes regular posting in September. 

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