This month, one of the most anticipated films of recent memory will be released. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters on December 18, and has been all people have been able to talk about ever since the first cryptic teaser trailer showed up.
All this Star Wars hype inspired us to dive into a musical toast to George Lucas‘ universe, and what follows is the Top 11 Songs with lyrical references to Star Wars that we could dig up on our own. If you have any favorites you’re aware of, by all means let us know!
And enjoy the movie, whether you’ll be seeing it at a midnight showing while dressed up as your favorite Mos Eisley Cantina alien or simply wearing a jacket and a pair of jeans.
*And remember, this list is NOT in chronological number…we just like presenting things in groups of eleven.*
11. Supernova – Chewbacca
The Orange County-based pop/punk band Supernova hit it (relatively) big when their barely one-minute long song Chewbacca landed on the soundtrack to filmmaker Kevin Smith‘s 1994 indie classic Clerks. While the band wasn’t really heard from again on a mainstream level, the track – which features a jangly instrumental and intermittent Wookiee howls made in honor of Chewbacca’s in the films – lives on in infamy forever.
10. Everclear – Wonderful
Everclear main man Art Alexakis has more or less made an entire career’s worth of songs based on recalling events – both happy and sad – from childhood. Look no further than Everclear’s 1999 mega-hit Wonderful, one of the band’s most successful radio singles. Dealing with the pain of an impending divorce as seen from the child’s perspective, Alexakis uses the line I want the things that I had before/Like a Star Wars poster on my bedroom door to elicit a melancholy nostalgia for what once was.
9. Blink-182 – A New Hope
Before breaking it into the MTV scene with their now-iconic music video for What’s My Age Again?, mischevious pop/punk trio Blink-182 penned an ode to Princes Leia for 1997’s Dude Ranch (the album before drummer Travis Barker joined bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge for their ascent atop the popular music scene).
Princess Leia where are you tonight? And who’s laying there by your side? Every night I fall asleep with you/And I wake up alone sings Hoppus to the up-tempo punk rhythm. Alas, unrequited love…
8. Queen – Bicycle Race
The only reference to Star Wars in Queen‘s classic Bicycle Race has to do with Freddie Mercury thumbing his nose at the movie series:
You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don’t like Star Wars
Hey, we can’t all be fans of the same things…
7. MC Chris – Fette’s Vette
As far as many Star Wars fans are concerned, intergalactic bounty hunter Boba Fett is THE best character in the universe. Celebrated ‘nerdcore’ hip-hop star MC Chris burst onto the scene in the early 2000s with his own musical tribute to Fett, and it spawned a legacy that is still felt today among the Internet hordes.
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Anthony Kiedis’ lyrics aren’t always the most concise or easy to understand, but sometimes he packs a lot of meaning into his writing. That’s the case with the title track to the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ 1999 album Californication. In the song, which was a big hit and has become one of RHCP’s most enduring singles, Kiedis says a lot of things about Hollywood’s ‘dark side’, culture, society and so on.
Kiedis manages to work in a line about Alderaan (the planet Princess Leia is from, and the one blown up by Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars) into a passage incorporating Kurt Cobain, space and David Bowie:
Space may be the final frontier
But it’s made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderaan’s not far away
5. ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic – The Saga Begins
The first of two ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic songs to land on this list,The Saga Begins just may be a better piece of art than the Phantom Menace film itself.
All jokes and prequel jabs aside, Yankovic turned Don McLean‘s classic American Pie into a paean to the 1999 film, essentially recounting the entire plot with a strong attention to detail. It also has an amazing music video, too:
4. The Presidents of the United States of America – Death Star
Every list of Star Wars songs needs an ode to the Death Star. From the Presidents of the United States of America‘s 2000 album Freaked Out And Small, the song lists a number of reasons that made the Death Star invincible and powerful, only to end with the line
Goodbye, death star
You were the largest weapon, ever manufactured.
It’s vastly different in style and structure from the band’s 1990s hits Peaches and Lump, but it’s a fun, quirky listen nonetheless.
3. The Hold Steady – The Swish
Brooklyn-based indie/rock stalwarts the Hold Steady emerged in 2004 with their debut LP, Almost Killed Me. One of the songs, The Swish, features some intriguing lyrics that name-drop several famous figures, including Patty Smyth, Rick Danko, Steve Perry and Robby Robertson, and the song finishes with a reference to the Tusken Raiders, the foraging nomads of the Tatooine desert:
It was a bloodsucking summer
I spent half the time trying to get paid from our savior
Swishing though the City Center
I did a couple favors for these guys who looked like Tusken Raiders
2. Ash – Cantina Band
The members of Irish alt/rock band Ash are big Star Wars fans, so it’s not really surprising that they laid down a b-side recording of the music played by the Cantina Band at the Mos Eisley bar. And it sounds pretty good…
1. ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic – Yoda
Oh hey, it’s Weird Al again. His parody of the Kinks‘ Lola is still a heavy fan favorite, and usually winds up in the encore portion of his concerts, the refrain of ‘YO-DA! YO-YO-YO-YO-YOOOOODA’ echoing around the amphitheater.
Star Wars, food and television are three of the most-tread-upon topics in all of Yankovic’s songs over the years, and with good reason: they’re all pretty much vital necessities in life.
Comedian Eddie Izzard has a famous bit about, as he puts it, the cafeteria that simply had to exist at the Death Star…a concept that would have presented some amusing situations: