A long time ago, in a rock ‘n roll era far, far away, a band paid musical tribute to George Lucas’ 1977 blockbuster, “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” in the form of a 34-minute studio album. That band was Dan Whitley’s Rebel Force Band. The album was Living in These Star Warz, and it is available on YouTube in its entirety for all of your listening pleasure. (If you’re wondering about the misspelling of ‘Wars’ in the title, it’s due to copyright infringement laws, which precluded Whitley and his fellow crooners from appropriating the correct name of Lucas’ sci-fi masterpiece.)
Who among us could turn the radio off during such tracks as “Living in These star Wars,” which gets deep, real deep, man. It tells of life “Living in these Star Wars/Dying in these Star Wars.” For isn’t death a part of life, man? Isn’t that what it’s all about, this life, these Star Wars?
Or what about the second track, which warns us, “Don’t Fall In Love With An Android”? Not a cautionary sentence, Whitley and co. hammer their point home, adding, “That’s one thing to avoid.” Speaking of falling in love, how could you not with “Leia,” the slow power ballad that starts at about 6:10? It’s all about the “beautiful lady” Leia, and will make you flip head-over-heels for her all over again.
Next, naturally, is “Chewie the Rookie Wookie,” which describes Han Solo’s faithful companion — who is “helping the galaxy,” as always — as “big and strong.” It’s a bit doo-wop-ish, a real keen tune! Don’t dig that one? No worries, groovy guys and gals, the Rebel Force Band gotchu covered with track five. Let Dan Whitley and his Rebel Force take you to funky town with “Respirator for Darth Vader.”
“Spaced Out” probably refers to Whitley and his buddies’ state of minds when they made the album, but it’s also the title of the record’s sixth and psychedelic track. Be sure to listen the whole way through for other eternal classics as “May the Force Be With You,” “The Ballad of Obi Wan (OB-1),” “You’ll Be A Warrior” (which The Beatles themselves would be proud of), and, of course, the disco version of “Living in These Star Wars,” which any “Star Wars” concept album would forever be incomplete without.
So who, you are probably asking, is this rock legend Dan Whitley? Let me tell you. Dan Whitley is a musician of rock n’ roll’s golden era who now teaches music lessons in Utah. Yes, that’s right, he is alive, well, and administers a whole range of courses— from banjo to bass, guitar to drums, and voice — and you can buy “Living in These Star Warz” from Dan himself. But, in all seriousness here, Whitley gives back to his community via the Notable Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded with the following mission: “The Notable Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization designed to preserve the musical talent that exists within every child. From private music instruction to exciting performance groups, The Notable Youth Foundation is able to reach out to children in our community who are in desperate need of the beauty that the arts can bring into their lives.”
So kick back, listen to “Living in These Star Warz,” and if you’re so inclined, see what you can do to help Notable Youth Foundation nurture the musician within each child. [via Dangerous Minds]