Star Wars (soundtrack)

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Star Wars (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
StarWarsOST.jpg
Cover of the original 1977 release.
Film score by John Williams
Released 1977, 1997, 2004
Recorded March 1977
Studio Anvil Studios, Denham
Genre Classical
Length 74:58
Label 20th Century Records (later by RSO Records, RCA Victor, Sony Classical, and Walt Disney)
Producer George Lucas, Nick Redman (2004)
John Williams chronology
Black Sunday
(1977)Black Sunday1977
Star Wars
(1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(1977)Close Encounters of the Third Kind1977
Star Wars soundtrack chronology
Episode IV: A New Hope
(1977) Episode IV: A New Hope1977
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
(1980) Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars
Filmtracks 5/5 stars
Movie Wave 5/5 stars
SoundtrackNet 5/5 stars

John Williams' score for Star Wars was recorded over eight sessions at Anvil Studios in Denham, England on March 5, 8–12, 15 and 16, 1977. The score was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra with Williams himself conducting. The score was orchestrated by Williams's frequent associate Herbert W. Spencer, who also orchestrated The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The score was recorded by engineer Eric Tomlinson and edited by Kenneth Wannberg, and the scoring sessions were produced by Star Wars director George Lucas and supervised by Lionel Newman, head of 20th Century Fox's music department.

The film premiered on May 25, 1977 and by late summer a disco version of the film's theme by Meco became America's number one song. In 2005, the American Film Institute named the original Star Wars soundtrack as the most memorable score of all time for a U.S. film.[1] In 2004, it was preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, calling it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

In 2016, the album was re-released by Sony Classical Records on vinyl, CD, and digital formats alongside Williams' other Star Wars soundtracks. The vinyl release is pressed on 180g vinyl, and features the original 20th Century Records logo. Unlike all of Sony Classical's previous releases, however, the vinyl version is a remastered version of the original 1977 release, not the Special Edition. The soundtrack was re-released digitally by Walt Disney Records on January 1, 2017.

Original pressing[edit]

The original 1977 release of the soundtrack, entitled Star Wars - Original Soundtrack, included a poster of a painting by science fiction artist John Berkey, depicting the final battle over the Death Star from the film's end.[2] The album was released as a double LP which was formatted for an autochanger record player; one disc had sides one and four with the other having sides two and three. This allowed a person to stack sides one and two on the player, then flip the stack over for sides three and four, allowing the listener to have over half an hour of uninterrupted music interspersed with key bits of dialog before they needed to flip the discs over.[3]

Track listing for the first release on LP[edit]

  • First release on LP by 20th Century. For the original soundtrack, John Williams selected 75 minutes of music out of the 88 minute score. To provide musical variety, it did not follow the film's chronological order.

This track listing is also shared by Sony Classical's 2016 LP release.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Main Title" 5:20
2. "Imperial Attack" 6:10
3. "Princess Leia's Theme" 4:18
4. "The Desert and the Robot Auction" 2:51
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Ben's Death and TIE Fighter Attack" 3:46
6. "The Little People Work" 4:02
7. "Rescue of the Princess" 4:46
8. "Inner City" 4:12
9. "Cantina Band" 2:44
Side three
No. Title Length
10. "The Land of the Sandpeople" 2:50
11. "Mouse Robot and Blasting Off" 4:01
12. "The Return Home" 2:46
13. "The Walls Converge" 4:31
14. "The Princess Appears" 4:04
Side four
No. Title Length
15. "The Last Battle" 12:05
16. "The Throne Room and End Title" 5:28

Total Time: 74:58

Track listing for the first release on CD[edit]

  • First release on CD by Polydor in 1986. It is identical in content and packaging to the LP release.

Disc one

  1. "Main Title" – 5:21
  2. "Imperial Attack" – 6:16
  3. "Princess Leia's Theme" – 4:22
  4. "The Desert and the Robot Auction" – 2:52
  5. "Ben's Death and TIE Fighter Attack" – 3:46
  6. "The Little People Work" – 4:01
  7. "Rescue of the Princess" – 4:46
  8. "Inner City" – 4:13
  9. "Cantina Band" – 2:45

Disc two

  1. "The Land of the Sandpeople" – 2:49
  2. "Mouse Robot and Blasting Off" – 4:01
  3. "The Return Home" – 2:45
  4. "The Walls Converge" – 4:32
  5. "The Princess Appears" – 4:03
  6. "The Last Battle" – 12:06
  7. "The Throne Room and End Title" – 5:27

Star Wars Trilogy: The Original Soundtrack Anthology[edit]

Star Wars Trilogy – The Original Soundtrack Anthology: "Star Wars"
Film score by John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
Released 1993
Genre Classical
Label Arista Records on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Scores, a Bertelsmann Music Group Company
Producer Nick Redman

In 1993, 20th Century Fox Film Scores released a four-CD box set containing music from the original Star Wars Trilogy. This release marked the first time that the complete contents of the original double-LP releases of the scores from the first two films became available on CD. Disc one in the set was devoted to Star Wars, with further tracks on disc four.

Since every cue is recorded several times, usually with varying orchestral differences, the final decisions on what takes of cues are used and/or how they are edited to create the tracks was decided by the music editor Kenneth Wannberg. In the time between the original LP release and the Anthology's release, this breakdown was lost. Because of this, many takes of cues used on the Anthology are not the same. This is most obvious on the cue "The Throne Room".[citation needed] Also, the tracks were re-arranged to better follow their chronological order in the film.

Disc One
No. Title Length
1. "20th Century Fox Fanfare with CinemaScope Extension"  
2. "Main Title"  
3. "Imperial Attack"  
4. "The Desert/The Robot Auction"  
5. "The Little People Work"  
6. "The Princess Appears"  
7. "The Land of the Sand People"  
8. "The Return Home"  
9. "Inner City"  
10. "Mouse Robot/Blasting Off"  
11. "Rescue of the Princess"  
12. "The Walls Converge"  
13. "Ben's Death/TIE Fighter Attack"  
14. "Princess Leia's Theme"  
15. "The Last Battle"  
16. "The Throne Room/End Title"  
Disc Four
No. Title Length
1. "20th Century Fox Fanfare with CinemaScope Extension"  
2. "Star Wars Main Title" (Alternate)  
4. "A Hive of Villainy"  
5. "Destruction of Alderaan"  
10. "Cantina Band"  
12. "Cantina Band #2"  
15. "Standing By"  

Track listing for the Special Edition reissue[edit]

Star Wars: A New Hope (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by John Williams
Released 1997, 2004
Recorded 1954 (track 1), 1977
Genre Classical
Length 1:45:09
Label RCA Victor (1994), Sony Classical (2004)
Producer John Williams
Star Wars soundtrack chronology
Star Wars: A New Hope
(1977)
The Empire Strikes Back
(1980)The Empire Strikes Back1980
Disc One
No. Title Length
1. "20th Century Fox Fanfare" (Alfred Newman, 1954) 0:22
2. "Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner" 2:14
3. "Imperial Attack" 6:42
4. "The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler" 5:01
5. "The Moisture Farm" 2:25
6. "The Hologram/Binary Sunset" 4:08
7. "Landspeeder Search/Attack of the Sand People" 3:20
8. "Tales of a Jedi Knight/Learn About the Force" 4:28
9. "Burning Homestead" 2:50
10. "Mos Eisley Spaceport" 2:16
11. "Cantina Band" 2:46
12. "Cantina Band #2" 3:54
13. "Binary Sunset" (Alternate)
(contains hidden track "Star Wars Main Title" [take 19] (complete recording session version; takes 16-20))
16:59
Total length: 57:33
Disc Two
No. Title Length
1. "Princess Leia's Theme" 4:27
2. "The Millennium Falcon/Imperial Cruiser Pursuit" 3:51
3. "Destruction of Alderaan" 1:32
4. "The Death Star/The Stormtroopers" 3:35
5. "Wookiee Prisoner/Detention Block Ambush" 4:01
6. "Shootout in the Cell Bay/Dianoga" 3:48
7. "The Trash Compactor" 3:06
8. "The Tractor Beam/Chasm Crossfire" 5:18
9. "Ben Kenobi's Death/TIE Fighter Attack" 3:51
10. "The Battle of Yavin"
  • I. "Launch from the Fourth Moon"
  • II. "X-Wings Draw Fire"
  • III. "Use the Force"
9:06

1:11 3:22

4:33
11. "The Throne Room/End Title" 5:37
Total length: 48:16

Awards[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[4] Platinum 1,000,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[5] Gold 100,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Original Recording Log[edit]

The score for Star Wars was recorded over the span of 8 days in the month of March 1977. The 1997 Special Edition soundtrack release by RCA Victor included a detailed look at the recording log for all the cues in the film.

Recording Date: March 5, 1977 - Day 1
Recorded Take Cue Title Selected Take Film Order
1-7 Chasm Crossfire 5, 7 31
8-10 The Death Star 10 23
11-15 Ben Kenobi's Death 13, 15 32
16-20 Main Title 18, 19, 20 1
21-23 The Hologram 22 8
Recording Date: March 8, 1977 - Day 2
Recording Take Cue Title Selected Take Film Order
24-27 Shootout In The Cell Bay 26, 27 27
28-40 Princess Leia's Theme 33, 40 N/A
41-50 Imperial Attack (Part 1) 44, 50 2
51-53 The Tractor Beam 53 30
54-55 Binary Sunset (Alternate) N/A N/A
Recording Date: March 9, 1977 - Day 3
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
56-58 Learn About The Force (Part 2) 58 15
59-63 Burning Homestead 62, 63 16
64-67 Wookiee Prisoner 67 25
68-72 Learn About The Force (Part 1) 72 14
Recording Date: March 10, 1977 - Day 4
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
73-80 Cantina Band 76 18
81-82 Cantina Band #2 81 19
Recording Date: March 11, 1977 - Day 5
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
83-85 X-Wings Draw Fire 85, 86 35
87-92 Landspeeder Search 92 10
93-94 Tales Of A Jedi Knight (Part 2) N/A N/A
95-97 Tie Fighter Attack 95, 97 33
98-105 The Trash Compactor 101, 102 29
106-109 Tales Of A Jedi Knight (Part 2) 109 13
110-114 The Stormtrooopers 114 24
115-116 Dianoga 116 28
117-122 Tales Of A Jedi Knight (Part 1) 122 12
123-126 The Moisture Farm (Part 2) 126 7
Recording Date: March 12, 1977 - Day 6
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
127-133 The Throne Room 132, 133 37
134-143 End Title 136, 137, 142, 143 38
144-149 Dune Sea Of Tatooine 149 4
150-154 Detention Block Ambush 153, 154 26
155-162 Launch From The Fourth Moon 162 34
163-167 Imperial Attack (Part 2) 165, 167 3
168-172 Destruction Of Alderaan 172 22
173-175 The Millennium Flacon 175 20
Recording Date: March 15, 1977 - Day 7
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
176-180 Use The Force 178, 180 36
181-185 Mos Eisley Spaceport 184, 185 17
186-188 Jawa Sandcrawler 186, 187, 188 5
189-197 The Moisture Farm (Part 1) 194, 197 6
198-202 Binary Sunset (Revised) 202 9
Recording Date: March 16, 1977 - Day 8
Recorded Takes Cue Title Selected Takes Film Order
203-209 Imperial Cruiser Pursuit 205, 206, 209 21
210-214 Attack Of The Sand People 213, 214 11
215-219 End Title (Crossover) 219 38

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AFI's 100 years of film scores". 
  2. ^ "John Berkey Remembered". StarWars.com. Lucasfilm Ltd. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  3. ^ "John Williams (4), London Symphony Orchestra, The – Star Wars original soundtrack release". Discogs. discogs. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "American certifications – John Williams – Star Wars (soundtrack)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "British certifications – John Williams – Star Wars (soundtrack)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 November 2014.  Enter Star Wars (soundtrack) in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]