9/16/13

MOVIE THEMES GO DISCO! [2010]



While checking his Music Collectorz database to see how many versions of Meco's "Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band" he had (on a bet), HERC noticed today's featured album which he hadn't listened to since he got it a few years back.  So he went into the Audio Archives and located it and has been happily listening to it most of the morning while cleaning and straightening up the place.  (BTW: He won the bet with 12 - nine CD versions and the 3 vinyl versions (below) of Meco's "Star Wars Theme" in HERC's collection.)


Movie Themes Go Disco! combines twin passions of HERC's: disco music and Seventies sci-fi movie and TV themes in a way that is sure to alienate fans of both genres but HERC likes the mash-up.  Caught up in the music, he pulled even more records from the Audio Archives here at The Hideaway and then went online looking for still more. 

01) Meco's "Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band" single first hit what was then called Billboard's National Action Disco Top 40 chart in July 1977 before crossing over to the Hot 100 two weeks later.  While it stalled at #6 on the Disco chart and #8 on the Hot Soul Singles chart, the song topped the Hot 100 in October 1977 for two weeks. In addition to the 3:45 single edit and the full length 15:50 album cut from Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk, the song was released as a one-sided promo only 7:40 "Special AOR Edit" which was later included on The Casablanca Records Story 4CD set in 1994.   Aesthetically, the Japanese picture sleeve (above) just makes a great thing better in HERC's book.

02) Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra charted on the Disco chart with "Theme from King Kong" in January 1977 before crossing over on to Hot Soul Singles and Hot 100 charts a week later.  The 45 split the song into two parts: 3:20 Pt. 1 on the A-side and 6:06 Pt. 2 on the B-side.   It went on to become a Top 70 Pop, Top 20 Soul and Top 10 Disco single.  Dig that sweet "DISCO" font on the label (above).

03) Meco (full name Domenico Monardo) struck back in 1980 with "The Empire Strikes Back (Medley)" a Top 20 Pop single (UK picture sleeve above, upper) that failed to chart elsewhere.  The song was from the album (above, lower), released as a four track 10" promo disc in the United States.  The entire album lasts just over eighteen minutes and peaked at #140 on the Top 200 albums chart.

04) Released alongside Deodato's more famous and equally funked-up version in 1973, Germany's Galactic Space Orchestra's take on Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001 Space Odyssey)" is probably included on the disc due to licensing issues with Deodato's catalog.  His version was originally included on the album Deodato 2 and the Grammy-winning single (Best Instrumental) peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 for one week at the end of March 1973, just behind Roberta Flack's fellow Grammy-winner "Killing Me Softly With His Song". 

05) Meco's sixth full-length album Music From Star Trek and Music From The Black Hole came out in 1980. "Theme from The Black Hole" one was not released as a single and the album failed to chart. [See 08, below]  Interestingly, legendary (P-)funk band Parliament had their one and only charting single (#69) on the Disco charts with a song they called "Theme from The Black Hole".

06) Rhythm Heritage's recording of "Three Days Of The Condor" is another album only track.  It was originally included on their 1976 Top 40 album Disco-Fied; coincidentally, it is the first album HERC ever bought.  He was at the store trying to buy his favorite song "Theme From S.W.A.T." but the single was sold out so someone suggested the parent album and the rest is history.

07) In the U.S. and other English speaking countries, the artist on track 7 was known as Philharmonic 2000; elsewhere they were Symphonic 2000.  Their 1976 album Disconcerto was filled with disco-fied classical music including Claude Debussey's "Clair de Lune" which they retitled "Moonshine" although moonlight is the literal English translation.


08) While "Love Theme from Star Trek", track eight on Movie Themes Go Disco! was never released as a single, the non-charting "Theme from Star Trek" (above) was issued and a second single "Star Trek Medley, Pt. 1" was prepared for release but held back until appearing on 1997's The Best Of Meco.

09) Love Unlimited Orchestra's "Theme from Superman" was the B-side to "Theme from Shaft", a non-charting single from their 1979 album Super Movie Themes - Just A Little Bit Different. [The album also included 02 (above) and all 6:03 of the single's B-side glory.]  A 12" of the single featured the full album length versions of both songs while the 45 (B-side pictured above, upper) featured edited down, barely over three minute, radio friendly versions of both songs.

10) Maurice Ravel's classic "Bolero" got the Lalo Schifrin treatment in 1975.  Schifrin is most famously known as the composer and performer of 1967's "Theme from Mission: Impossible" from the television series.  Tellingly, Ravel's "Bolero" is known to most people of HERC's generation as the music in this NSFW scene from the 1979 Bo Derek and Dudley Moore film 10.

11) Rhythm Heritage makes a repeat appearance on this disc with "Theme From Lipstick" from their sophomore album, 1977's Last Night On Earth.  (If you've never heard of the 1976 movie Lipstick starring Margeaux and Mariel Hemmingway, don't waste your time.  HERC rates it ZERO stars.)  On their 1978 album Sky's The Limit, Rhythm Heritage would offer up their take on "Theme From Starsky & Hutch" before going full roller-disco on their final album, 1979's Disco Derby.

12) Comprising the entirety of Side One of the 1978 album Music From Battlestar Galactica and Other Original Compositions from Giorgio Moroder (gatefold cover, above), "Battlestar Galactica (Medley)" is made up of eight separate compositions.  The album failed to chart and the television show was cancelled after just one season.

13) Meco makes his fifth appearance (and closes out Movie Themes Go Disco!) with "Theme From Close Encounters" from his 1977 album, Encounters Of Every Kind.  The album was the follow-up to Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk but only managed to hit #68.  The single did slightly better charting in January 1978, and peaking at #33 on the Disco chart, #25 on the Pop chart and #76 on the Soul chart.


BONUS:
More random disco sci-fi album and single cover art just for the funk of it.










[Both Discogs and Chris Mills' excellent Space: 1970 blog proved to be excellent and invaluable resources. Topless Robot chipped in as well.]

2 comments:

  1. Bang Bang Robot is my new favorite band name.

    ReplyDelete