Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, we’d wager good money that you’ve heard the franchise’s iconic scores and songs. From Darth Vader’s ominous theme to the quirky Cantina Band song, these tunes are as famous as the film itself, and can be recognized before the first chords have even finished.
Perhaps just as important as Star Wars-creator George Lucas is the man behind the score, John Williams (pictured). His accolades extend from Harry Potter to Jaws to Jurassic Park and beyond to land him a timeless position as one of the world’s best modern composers. Though no reproduction can ever match the everlasting status of his work, many use his classics as inspiration in popular music. Check out the best uses of John Williams’ Star Wars scores in the last five years for this month’s edition Bootie Samples below.
John Williams – Cantina Band
Performed by George Lucas’ fictional band of aliens called Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, Cantina Band is classic swing at its best. The jazzy song appears in Episode IV of the Star Wars trilogy inside a dusty Tatooine bar. We recently covered Green Lantern’s rendition of the track called Awaken, which you can check out here.
2013 | Trap | Ookay – Star Wars (Original Mix)
Ookay opens with the original tune before giving everything a trap hi-hat lean and adding a bevy of Star Wars-derived samples, including a tongue-in-cheek Han Solo quote that says, “It’s a trap.” Ookay makes this rendition completely his own while simultaneously utilizing the upbeat catchiness of the original. For more Ookay tunes, head to SoundCloud here.
2012 | Electro Swing | Star Wars – Cantina Band (Noize Tank Remix) [Free Download]
Fontana, California producer Noize Tank hopped onto the scene with his wildly popular remix of Cantina Band in 2012. He adds his own kick rhythm and gives the recognizable chords an 8-bit makeover halfway through to add extra flare and bring the track closer to the dancefloor. Grab your free download here.
2010 | Progressive House | Spencer & Hill vs. Bastian Shield – Cantina (Bastian Shield Mix)
Spencer & Hill and Bastian Shield keep the clarinet chords central to their reproduction, only they have chopped it up in certain places and injected the tune with soaring synth work. It’s a little bit cheesy, but so is the original, which makes it a quirky, dacenfloor-ready tune. Grab your tune from Beatport here.
John Williams – The Force Theme
Also referred to as Binary Sunset or Jedi Theme, this tune is used repeatedly throughout the early Star Wars films to signify the triumph of good over evil. It’s most prominent feature is in Episode IV: A New Hope when Luke Skywalker looks pensively to the Tatooine horizon just as the string section makes its crescendo.
2015 | Trance | Faruk Sabanci – Star Wars (Original Mix)
Faruk Sabanci actually recreates the original chord progressions and sets them at a slightly off-kilter pace to align with his more trance and progressive house sensibilities. Not only does he repeatedly refer to the theme throughout, but he samples the iconic light saber effect as well as a vocal snippet from Obi Wan Kenobi that says, “The force will be with you, always.” Hear more from Faruk Sabanci here.
2012 | Electro House | John Williams (Star Wars) – Binary Suns (Coyote Kisses Remix)
Coyote Kisses does not stray too far from Williams’ intentions, but instead modernizes the tune to give it an energized electro house feel. The Los Angeles duo mimics the chords with wailing synths for a finish that makes it feel like you should be raging at an planetary party somewhere. You’ll have to do a bit of sleuthing to find the Coyote Kisses rendition on the internet, but you can find more Coyote Kisses tunes on their SoundCloud here.
John Williams – The Imperial March
The Imperial March is basically Darth Vader’s calling card. Anywhere the masked marauder goes, this sinister theme accompanies him on his march for galactic domination. Not surprisingly, some of the most popular reproductions of The Imperial March stem from dubstep or glitch-based genres. Perhaps it is the abrasive and “dark side” quality of these genres that makes for a bunch of aggressive Star Wars-based tunes.
2015 | Bass | Celldweller – The Imperial March
Celldweller opens with a stark guitar chord set to Vader’s quintessential labored breathing before a heavy bassline sets in. The original chords remain a linchpin to the entire work while a barrage of percussive elements gives everything a hard edge. You can grab this tune for free here.
2014 | Electro House | Star Wars – The Imperial March (Tujamo Version)
Tujamo’s version could fit comfortably in any club setting and is a certified banger by definition. He also uses the central chord progression in his rendition but expands the theme to fit with his own upbeat style. Hear more from Tujamo on SoundCloud here.