The Story Behind Star Wars's Forgotten Christmas Album
Christmas is not a good time of year for the Star Wars franchise. In fact, two of Star Wars's biggest debacles have happened over the holidays. Most people already know about 1978's The Star Wars Holiday Special, the 90-minute made-for-television "extravaganza" that gave us Boba Fett (good), Wookiee Life Day (bad), and lyrics to John Williams's Star Wars title theme (blecch).
But Star Wars has another great Christmas misstep you might never have heard of. Called Christmas in the Stars, it was a Star Wars-themed Christmas album released in 1980. It has a fantastic origin story, as shown by this amazing oral history by the CBC.
Christmas in the Stars was the brainchild of Tony Bongiovi, the record-producing second cousin of Jon Bon Jovi (whose first professional credit is actually on the album, in the form of the track, "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas"), and Maury Yeston, a Yale professor in his mid-30s who went on to become a Tony Award-winning Broadway composer. The album was the follow-up to Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, the infamous Star Wars disco album that Bongiovi says he produced on a lark, thinking it would sell maybe 50,000 copies or so. Two and a half million copies later, Bongiovi was able to build his own record studio—New York's Power Station—off of the profits.