Recording the Star Wars Saga
A Musical Journey from Scoring Stage to DVD
Version: 1.4, March 2012
By Chris Malone
My original review of the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition CDs was published to members of the Film Music Discussion List on 4 April 1997 and made available on the Web at the same time. Whilst warmly received, the review suffered from many factual inaccuracies, numerous spelling mistakes and obvious grammatical uncertainties that were very much the work of a 19 year-old fanboy.
To celebrate the conclusion of the Star Wars saga, I have prepared a new chronicle of the scoring and recording of both the Original and Prequel trilogies. This chronicle follows the music from composition to the recording studio, original LPs, various CD releases and touches on the Star Wars: A Musical Journey DVD.
Unique and never before published comments from the actual engineers who recorded the scores are included to provide a special perspective as well as technical details. Many previously unpublished recording session photographs are included and venues, miking setups and recording media are covered in detail. A mini-biography of composer John Williams is included for those wanting to know more about the most recognised name in film music.
How much sauerkraut did John Williams eat at the competition held during scoring of The Empire Strikes Back? Who was the Star Wars cast member that spilt beer into the Anvil Studios mixing desk? What was the name of the chimpanzee that played steel drums on "Cantina Band"? Which London Symphony Orchestra member asked John Williams to autograph a Jerry Goldsmith album? What joke was so funny that it made Coca-Cola come out of George Lucas' nose during scoring of Return of the Jedi?
These are all good questions to be sure but alas they have not be answered in order to avoid circulation of highly improbable rumours! Seriously, if you're interested in the who, the what, the where and the how of the recording of some of the most famous film music of all time, then you're in the right place!
The 42 page Recording the Star Wars Saga ( PDF 2.32 MB) document is available to view as an Adobe PDF file.
The PDF format was chosen because it preserves the layout and presentation style of the document. Click on the link above to open or right click and choose "Save Target As..." to read offline. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.
If you want to include the above document on your site then please link to this page instead of your own copy. Why? This enables me to post comments, criticisms and corrections that may be of interest to you and other readers.
Feedback from Readers
"This is the best article on STAR WARS music subject since Lukas Kendall did in the early days of FSM at the time of the 4 cd Arista set."
"Very fun piece."
"Very impressive indeed. Add to that the Eric Tomlinson bio, too."
From the Film Score Monthly Message Board
"That's what I call a good read!"
"What joke did make Coca-Cola come out of George Lucas' nose?"