Star Trek and Star Wars have, between them, an incredible legacy of classical music. John Williams’ famous score; James Horner’s sweeping, majestic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan score; Jerry Goldsmith’s work… when it comes to a symphony, you can feel the love.
When it comes to pop music, as the recent viral clip of Threepio proving once and for all robots have no soul illustrates, not so much. There has been some genuinely terrible music perpetrated against humanity in the name of both franchises… but which is worse?
We decided to assemble a brief exploration of the five worst songs from each franchise. We limited ourselves to either songs directly from, or tied directly to, the franchise, mostly because Leonard Nimoy alone put out five albums and the Star Wars cast has wisely stayed away from record contracts. So, in no particular order…
All we can say is that we hope Anthony Daniels was paid very well for this. Or that whatever he needed the money for, he was paid enough.
This is actually a pretty good cover of this song. Regular con goers will hear at least two or three versions of this in their lifetimes, usually courtesy of a drunken filker. But not even the most talented performer can really cover up how bad this tribute to Gene Roddenberry is, as a song; it means well but… well… you can hear for yourself.
Almost as bad is Nichelle Nichols’ “Gene”, by the way, but somehow, that has escaped being posted on YouTube. We suspect a cover-up.
Why did Italian synth-band Koto put out a cheesy tribute to Jabba The Hutt? Good question. A better question is why Lucas didn’t sue them out of existence.
Yeah, we knew Leonard was going to turn up sooner or later. Apparently, back in the ’60s, Spock was all about the trite observations and misogyny. Yay?
From the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, proof that just because Debbie Reynolds is your mom doesn’t mean you get her pipes. It’s hard not to feel bad for Carrie Fisher, watching this; you can almost see her considering whether or not she should take up a less humiliating career, such as janitorial work.
There are few songs that genuinely qualify as crimes against humanity, but this is probably up there. Most Trek fans probably remember turning on the TV, excited for the first episode, and the first thing they hear is this. To be fair, it set the tone. Did it ever set the tone.
John Williams’ score is brilliant, and can survive being put into any genre. Well, almost, as this demonstrates.
Not to knock the musicians in this clip, but their problem is that these lyrics were never meant to be sung. They were written by Gene Roddenberry, not as a gesture of goodwill for his show, but so he’d get credit on the song and get paid every time it was played. This had the side effect of taking half of Alexander Courage’s royalties, by the way.
We’ll remind you this is an officially licensed product. George Lucas was pitched this and he decided that this, this was what the Star Wars fandom needed.
From the composer of King of The Hill, ladies and gentlemen! No, seriously.
So who wins?
We have to say, we think Star Trek edges this one, not least because two of these songs are actually themes, meaning bad music is encoded into the show’s musical DNA. But it is, of course, a judgement call. Make yours below, especially if you’re stuck at work.