As I write this, the window is closing for two anniversaries to share the same time. Here in Austin, it’s still May 25, the 40th anniversary of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the UK, it’s now May 26th, the 50th anniversary of the UK release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
On tonight’s show, I played Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans, Palette-Swap Ninja’s brilliant Star Wars-themed parody of the entire Sgt. Pepper album. Conceived and performed by Dan Amrich and Jude Kelley, they took five years painstakingly writing hyper-specific lyrics that uses the music of Sgt. Pepper to tell the story of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in order. In addition, during this time Amrich and Kelley were also learning how to perform each of the instruments from Sgt. Pepper to recreate the music as faithfully as possible. The result is an amazing labor of love of both Star Wars and the Beatles.
The responses that I got from my audience were very positive – they really enjoyed it and thought it was quite clever. I wish I’d had a larger audience, but this wasn’t something that I’d advertised – I just told my listeners at the beginning that there was a special presentation to start the second hour of my show and only told them what it was just before it went on the air. In retrospect, advertising might have gotten me a larger audience, but likely not that many. Tonight’s numbers were somewhat low, I believe because of the holiday weekend starting early for some people.
If you’re interested in listening to the album, Palette-Swap Ninja’s website has a YouTube playlist of videos created by Katrin Auch that expertly attaches footage from the movie to the lyrics of the songs. The lyrics are also subtitled in the videos, if you have trouble following along with the music. There are also links on the page to download the music for yourself, in either MP3 or FLAC formats – it’s free!
My thanks to Dan, Jude, and Katrin for this magnificent addition to my music collection. I’ve listened to the album several times since it was released earlier this month (in conjunction with Star Wars Day, May 4) and I love it. I hope you do too.