THE MAX REBO BAND – “Jedi Rocks” (1997 BMG CD single)
This is, in my humble fan opinion, one of the worst pieces of music ever included in a Star Wars movie, if not the very worst.
The 1997 Star Wars special editions are derided for many reason, but one that is not talked about nearly enough is the replacement of certain pieces of music. In this case, “Lapti Nek” from the 1983 cut of Return of the Jedi was removed. Why? Because George Lucas loves to tinker. He wasn’t happy that the singer in the band, Sy Snootles, didn’t have enough articulation and so thought to himself, “What could I do with a new song and a computer?” The unfortunate results are called “Jedi Rocks”, by Jerry Hey.
The original song, “Lapti Nek”, plays in Jabba’s palace just before he feeds Oola the slave girl to his pet Rancor monster. In universe, it is performed by the Max Rebo band, originally a trio featuring keyboardist Max, singer Sy and flautist Droopy McCool. The band is expanded in the special edition to include more singers, including a really annoying big-mouthed Yuzzum named…uhg…Joh Yowza. You can just tell that certain parts of the song were designed to show off what computers could make Yowza’s mouth do in the scene in question.
This is shit. At least “Lapti Nek” sounded a little alien. “Jedi Rocks” sounds like generic blues rock written by a highschool music teacher for his class to perform at the spring pageant. And it sounds completely terrestrial, aside from the silly cartoonish vocals. You can identify an Earthly harmonica, drum kit, organ, saxophones, guitars and bass. That should never be the case when you’re talking about an alien band from a galaxy far, far away. More than half the track is bland jamming that could have been on any soundtrack from virtually any Earth-bound movie with a bar and a band in it.
The only reason to buy this single, since you’ll never listen to it, is the clear picture disc. The CD single released for The Empire Strikes Back was a shaped Vader-head disc, but they realized this were not good for the insides of your CD transport, which prefers a perfectly balanced disc. Hence, they switched to clear picture discs that look shaped but are not.
Cool disc, bad song.