Movies

Sci-Fi Disco Was A Thing And These Songs Prove It

When disco hit back in the 1970s, the collective desire for everybody to shake their groove things resulted in some dubious decision-making. Before you knew it, disco was absolutely everywhere, finding its way into each trend of the later part of the decade. So when Star Wars became a sensation in May of 1977, a musician by the name of Meco Menardo decided to pair the music from George Lucas’ space saga with the sound of the era’s clubs, and thus the genre of sci-fi disco was born.

For a fleeting time, it seemed like every movie — from Jaws to The Wizard of Oz had a disco tie-in. While this musical movement’s influence can continue to be felt in Italo disco and the music of Daft Punk (who crafted the soundtrack to Tron Legacy), sci-fi disco is still a largely under-appreciated thing. Let’s change that by looking at this assortment of great and groovy disco songs inspired by science fiction films.

Meco, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”

There’s no better way to kick off this list than with the classic “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” song by Meco. This disco-themed single by Meco, mashed-up Star Wars‘ most iconic musical moments…becoming a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the process. It also proved that there was an audience for disco-ized versions of movie themes, and thus an odd musical genre was born.

Gene Page, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

This funky version of the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Gene Page features some eerie whistling effects, making this forgotten gem a precursor to The X-Files‘ title song.

Nostromo, “Alien”

Alien elicited a lot of emotions in people, but a desire to dance most definitely wasn’t one of them. But that didn’t stop a synth-loving band of musicians named Nostromo (after the ship featured in the film) from releasing this disco-tastic take on Jerry Goldsmith’s main theme from the movie. In space no one can hear you do the hustle!

The Space Angels, “It’s Love, Love, Love”

Seeing how the public reacted (i.e. lost their minds) to the Creature Cantina sequence in Star Wars, the producers of Battlestar Galactica decided to try to one up that sequence by including the disco song “It’s Love, Love, Love” into the pilot film for that series (performed by the creepy alien band The Space Angels). That song didn’t quite ignite the pop charts, but it made enough of an impression on disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder that he recorded this cover of it. And you know what? It is love, love, love!

Meco, “Music from The Black Hole

After the success of his Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk LP, Meco returned to the sci-fi well many times with mixed results. Arguably his most-notable non-Star Wars effort was his re-interpretation of John Barry’s music for The Black Hole, the Meco-ized version of which feels ripped from a late-’70s nudie flick as opposed to a cosmic Disney jaunt. Sadly, the film didn’t contain a sequence in which Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Perkins got to bust out their disco moves to this.

Koto, “Jabdah”

In 1986, Italian synthpop act Koto released “Jabdah,” a single inspired by Jabba the Hutt. (Sure, why not?) This sounds like the most pleasant hold music ever, even if it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And yes, it’s way better than “Jedi Rocks.”

Super Heróis, “Somos Todos Super Amigos”

Released in 1979, the song “Somos Todos Super Amigos” by the Brazilian disco outfit Super Heróis is a copyright-defying mix of musical magic featuring characters, er, borrowed from Marvel and DC. This catchy riff on “YMCA” was so popular that the “band” appeared on a Brazilian Bozo the Clown show to perform it, resulting in the jaw-dropping wonder we see here.

The Universal Robot Band, “Disco Trek (Star Trek Theme)”

Disco. The final frontier. Or so thought The Universal Robot Band with this dancetastic tribute to Star Trek.

Maureen McGovern, “Can You Read My Mind?”

As a palette cleanser that is the nerd music equivalent of “Last Dance” being played at the end of the night, here’s Maureen McGovern’s cover of John Williams’ “Can You Read My Mind? from Superman: The Movie. Meco covered this one too, obviously.

Meco, “The Empire Strikes Back Medley”

So by this point you might be asking yourself “what is the sci-fi disco equivalent of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band?” The answer to that question can be found in this medley of music from The Empire Strikes Back, brought to us, naturally, by Meco. It includes laser blasts, Chewbacca growls, and the sweetest bit of out of this world musical bliss that you’ll ever hear. Disco might be dead, but the Force isn’t.

Dewey Cox, “Starman”

As a special bonus, here’s a cover of David Bowie’s sci-fi classic “Starman” that was taken from the bonus features of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Why was this moment of beauty cut from the film? We may never know.

×