In terms of pop culture’s sacred cows, there are perhaps no more holy properties than Star Wars and The Beatles, each of which tend to cultivate a manner of fandom that’s both outspoken and all-consuming. Well, in perhaps the greatest indulgence of fandom to grace these nascent interwebs, “music-parody duo” Palette-Swap Ninja has merged Star Wars: A New Hope and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band into a full-length concept album called Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans. 2017 marks the movie’s 40th anniversary and the album’s 50th.
It’s an undoubtedly impressive project, with the band having told the film’s story in order without futzing too much with each song’s cadence and instrumentation (though snippets of John Williams’ iconic score do make an appearance). According to the band, they reverse-engineered “everything the Beatles recorded, from distorted saxophone riffs to Indian tabla rhythms.” They even recorded on the same model of vintage organ the Beatles used on “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. All told, the album’s creation took a whopping five years.
Keyboard player and digital drummer Jude Kelly elaborates:
“We were surprised to find just how well it all synched up. The title song sets everything up with the pursuit of Princess Leia on the Tantive IV. ‘She’s Leaving Home’ hits just as Luke decides to follow Ben to Alderaan, and the circus atmosphere of ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’ is the perfect parallel for Mos Eisley.” Similarly, Ben teaches Luke about The Force to the mystical strains of “Within You Without You,” and both of the original works end in thunderous explosions – the Death Star’s destruction and the final chord of “A Day in the Life.”
The album is free to download on the band’s website, though you can also stream the song’s via a YouTube playlist, which includes the lyrics within custom videos by Katrin Auch.
The timing of the album’s release is right, not just due to the respective anniversaries but also because a new trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX dropped last week.