In May of 1977 I was about nine and a half years old – dead center in the middle of the perfect demographic for Star Wars, which premiered on the 25th.
I wish I could say I vividly remember the first time I saw it. In fact, all of the viewings – and there were many – blur together in my mind. For awhile there my highest priority in life was watching Star Wars over and over again. I had no interest in seeing any other movie, at least until Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out six months later.
No obsession that I’ve had as an adult rivals my complete fixation on Star Wars over the last years of the 1970s. And though at this remove it seems a little over the top, I don’t guess I can really blame myself. Star Wars had everything a boy that age could want: sci-fi whiz-bang, the hero’s journey, an overlay of mysticism to give things a certain flavor, and a cute brown-haired princess.
In addition to reading the novelization, the comic book, and everything else I could get my hands on, at one point I went so far as to write my own Star Wars sequels in spiral-bound notebooks now unfortunately (fortunately?) lost. I also had to collect as much of the merchandise as possible, and since this was by far the most-merchandised movie in history up to that point, there was a lot to collect: action figures, spaceships, trading cards, light sabers, sheets and curtains, and on and on and on….
So of course my first LPs were Star Wars-related. There was the two-record original soundtrack and the Story of Star Wars narrative album. But it didn’t stop there. Because disco was still big, an Italian producer named Domenico Monardo, working under the name Meco, created a disco version of the soundtrack, which he released along with some other sci-fi-themed disco on an album called Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk. And of course I had to have that too.
In retrospect, it is terrible. I am a little embarrassed to include it here, but it is so perfectly representative of the era that I don’t think I have a choice. Brace yourself.