The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 21st, 2010

Reissue Theory: Galactic Novelties

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The Star Wars saga continues at The Second Disc with a trove of often-ridiculous but always intriguing musical curios devoted to the films. It’s as much a story of disco and a rock legend from New Jersey as it is about Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. And it’s yours to read after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 21, 2010 at 13:55

Friday Feature: The Star Wars Trilogy

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It was three decades ago today that The Empire Strikes Back was released. Much has been written about what the movie did for the Star Wars trilogy as a cultural force (no pun intended), for sequels in general and so on. But let’s not kid ourselves here: when Empire first came out, it was not seen as the masterpiece it is now. The New York Times gave this film – easily the most watchable of the three Star Wars movies – a largely negative write-up. But whatever the merit of such reviews nowadays, there are many around the world who love Star Wars.

And why not? Sure, the series has come to represent everything wrong about overmarketed, overblown popular entertainment (i.e.: the prequel trilogy, the ridiculous cartoon series that airs on television today), but those first three movies – Star Wars (1977), The Emprie Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) – were solidly plotted, action-packed space tales with colorful characters that weren’t overshadowed by the dazzling visual effects.

Part of that success, it must be noted, lay in the musical score written by film composer extraordinaire John Williams. His evocative themes – which owed a debt to Holst and Wagner as much as Erich Korngold or Max Steiner – radically shifted film music trends back to lush symphonic tunes (after a decade of pop-oriented fare like The Graduate). Those themes were eminently hummable, playable by everyone from your high school marching band to symphonic rockers Epica.

Not surprisingly, then, these three soundtracks have seen a great many releases over the years. In honor of Empire‘s 30th anniversary, join our Friday Feature in looking at the 33-year release history of Williams’ classic scores to the Star Wars trilogy. Read on after the jump…and may the Force be with you.

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 21, 2010 at 11:00