Throwback Thursday - Sci Fi Singles from the Age of Disco

Hot Gossip (W/Sarah Brightman): I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper

Part Starcrash, part Village People and part 20 Minute Workout.

"I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper", sometimes cited as "(I Lost My Heart to A) Starship Trooper", is a 1978 single written by Jeff Calvert and Geraint Hughes of Typically Tropical and performed by Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip. It is notable as the debut of the then 18-year-old Brightman as a singer, and reached number six in the UK Singles Chart.

The song is a lightweight space disco track that cashed in on the media hype surrounding the original Star Wars film: the lyrics include the lines "And evil Darth Vader he's been banished to Mars" and "Or are you like a droid, devoid of emotion". The song also samples music from Star Wars, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (from 2001: A Space Odyssey), and the "spaceship communication" melody from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Many of the lyrics contain sexual innuendo; for example, "Take me, make me feel the force". Other science fiction references include: "I lost my heart to a starship trooper", "Flash Gordon's left me, he's gone to the stars", "What my body needs is close encounter three", "Static on the comm – it's Starfleet Command" and "Fighting for the Federation" (which could refer to Star Trek, Blake's 7 or Starship Troopers).

The song was performed on The Kenny Everett Video Show by its regular dance troupe Hot Gossip. Its lead, Sarah Brightman, was dressed in a silver catsuit and platform shoes.

Hot Gossip were noted for the risque nature of their costumes and the dance routines, all designed and choreographed by Phillips, especially considering the early evening timeslot that the Video Show was broadcast in. They are often credited as one of the UK's early television dance troupes, continuing a trend which started with the Go-Jo's and Pan's People on Top of the Pops.

The group was once spoofed on The Benny Hill Show as Hot Gossamer,with references to the Hot Gossip routines 'Supernature' and 'Walk On The Wild Side'. Some former Hot Gossip dancers appeared on the show,notably Jane Colthorpe and Lorraine Doyle were members of Love Machine.Then later Lorraine Doyle featured heavily in sketches as well as part of the Hill's Angels dance troupe. - Source

Nichelle Nichols: The Theme From Star Trek

Although she is perhaps best-known for her role as Lieutenant Uhura in the '60s television series Star Trek and the resulting string of Star Trek movies, Nichelle Nichols also forged a successful career as a singer when she toured with both Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington across two continents. She has a number of recordings to her credit, and many of them are tied in to the sci-fi series. Included in her discography are the 1967 Epic release Down to Earth, the 1986 R-Way release Uhura Sings, and GNP Crescendo's Out of This World, from 1995. Nichols is also featured on Sultry Ladies, a 1996 Sony compilation, as well as on a good number of related Star Trek releases, including Sony's Star Trek: 20th Anniversary Collectors' Edition Soundtrack, issued in 1999.

Out of This World includes "Gene," a song Nichols sang in honor of Gene Roddenberry, the man who created Star Trek. He shared a personal relationship with the actress/singer, which she wrote about in Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories, an autobiography published in 1994. Roddenberry was also the producer of a police drama called The Lieutenant, a 1963 television program that Nichols appeared in three years before Star Trek made its first appearance. In addition, the album features Nichols singing the theme from Star Trek.

Nichols, a black actress who broke many color barriers and faced instances of racial prejudice on the job, was born and raised in black-governed Robbins, IL. The great-granddaughter of a slave, she started dancing and singing professionally when she was 14 years old, and years of nightclub work followed. She married for the first time in 1951, while she was still in her teens. Her husband, who was more than a decade older, was a dancer. He ran out less than six months later, and a pregnant Nichols forged on alone to become a single parent to her son. The actress/singer wed a second time in 1968, but this marriage dissolved within several years. In addition to her autobiography, Nichols also wrote Saturn's Children, a 1995 science fiction novel. For about a decade through 1987, she worked with NASA in the recruiting of minority astronauts, among them Dr. Mae Jemison. - Source

Meco: Star Wars

Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk is a disco album by Meco released in 1977. The album uses various musical themes from the Star Wars soundtrack arranged as instrumental disco music. A single from the album, "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band", reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 1, 1977, holding to that position for two weeks. The album was released on compact disc with two additional versions of the single.

On Wednesday May 25, 1977, Meco watched the 20th Century-Fox soon-to-be blockbuster hit Star Wars on its opening day. By Thursday night, he had seen the film four more times, and attended several more screenings over the weekend.

He then got the idea to make a disco version of the score by John Williams and contacted Neil Bogart at Casablanca Records to pitch the project. Only after both the picture itself as well as the original score had become huge hits did Bogart agree to help Meco realize his idea. Contact was established with Millennium Records, then a Casablanca subsidiary, and this became Meco's first record company. Here Meco rejoined with Tony Bongiovi as well as Harold Wheeler who had also been part of the team behind "Never Can Say Goodbye" in 1974. Lance Quinn was also part of the Meco team, and the different roles played by the four musicians is described by Meco himself in a 1999 interview with his fan Web site:

“ Tony and Lance are the two guys who would not let me be "too musical". Tony would say: "It's not dumb enough—It's too good." Tony is a frustrated drummer and Lance is a guitar genius, so they would make sure the rhythm section was always "smoking" under the very sophisticated arrangements and concepts that Harold and I started with.”

In a matter of just three weeks they arranged and recorded Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk. Although the album was nominated for "Best Instrumental Pop performer" in 1977, the award ultimately went to John Williams for the original soundtrack album. - Source

Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra

The head of production for the GNP/Crescendo label, and the son of label owner Gene Norman, Neil Norman has transformed his band, Neil Norman & His Cosmic Orchestra, into the world's leading authorities on science fiction-inspired music. Dressed in wild space-age clothing, the group, which features Norman on guitar and synthesizer, bassist J. Palmer, drummer Bart Robley, and ex-Tom Scott and Clark Terry keyboardist Bill Burchell, brings the full repertoire of sci-fi music to life.

A session guitarist as a teenager, Norman became resident film scorer as a student at UCLA Film School. He recorded his debut solo album, Not of This Earth, while still attending school.

A highly skilled producer, Norman has worked with such artists as the Ventures, Queen Ida, Robin Trower, and Savoy Brown. He served as executive producer of 20 Star Trek albums, including soundtracks to Generations and the Emmy award-winning Star Trek Voyager, and produced the soundtrack recordings of Mission: Impossible, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. - Source

See Also:

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