May the 4th is a day for Star Wars fans around the world to celebrate the legacy of the films. Star Wars has permeated nearly every facet of our culture. The way I see it, there have been lots of songs written about the popular sci-fi franchise, but not enough country songs. Weird Al parodied Don McLean’s “American Pie” and turned it into “The Saga Begins” (which at least made the plot of Episode I easier to understand). Bill Murray did an SNL bit singing about the show, and the films have had major musical successes in their own right. John Williams’ original theme, Darth Vader’s Imperial March and “Duel of the Fates” are some of the most easily recognizable.
Here are the country music tunes that serve as theme songs to all the major characters in the original series.
Han Solo: “The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends”, Robert Earl Keen
This story song by Robert Earl Keen fits Solo’s personality perfectly: a lovable rogue who isn’t above breaking the law to help people.
Luke Skywalker: “The Conversation”, Hank Williams, Jr. and Waylon Jennings
At the heart of Luke’s story is the way he feels about his father, Darth Vader, and how that legacy would impact his own life. This duet between Williams and Jones discusses Hank Williams’ impact on country music as well as Bocephus’ life. It ends up being two friends reminiscing about a man they hardly knew.
Princess Leia: “Good Ol’ Boys Club”, Kacey Musgraves
Because Leia proved time and time again she didn’t need anyone’s help unless she specifically asked for it.
Darth Vader: “When the Man Comes Around”, Johnny Cash
Cash’s apocalyptic vision of Judgement Day is simple, but carries a profound message: Everyone dies, but not everyone has to die without redemption. One of the biggest plot points of Return of the Jedi deals with Vader’s evil character being redeemed by his son as the Empire crumbles. It’s a great reminder that even the worst characters can still have redemptive qualities. Plus, there’s the whole “Man in Black” persona that just fits.
The Evil Emperor: “Psycho”, Eddie Noack
Don’t let the easygoing melody fool— this song’s lyrics are all you need to know about evil. By the song’s end, the protagonist has killed his ex-girlfriend, a puppy, a small child and an ex’s lover, with intent to kill more people.
Chewbacca: “Yellow Ledbetter”, Pearl Jam
Yes, I know this is cheating, since Pearl Jam isn’t remotely country. But think about it- nobody knows the real words to this, but everyone gets the sentiment behind it. Just like Chewbacca. Plus, this live version could probably pass for country airplay if it were released today.
Yoda: “As Good As I Once Was”, Toby Keith
The ancient Jedi master might not be able to fight all the time, but give him enough time to prepare, and he’ll be as good once as he ever was.
R2-D2: “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”, David Allen Coe
The robot can’t speak English, and only C-3PO can really understand him. So who knows what he was saying with all those beeps. But one thing’s for sure, he definitely couldn’t say anyone’s name.
C-3PO: “Carney Man”, Cross Canadian Ragweed
The protocol droid’s whole function was to do jobs that may look like tough work to everybody else, but are fun to him, like the titular carney man in the song. Except when C-3PO gets shot at while trying to do his job. Then his job “f—–‘ sucks,” as the lyrics go. Plus, it’s not that hard to imagine this guy as a carney man guessing people’s weight.
Admiral Akbar: “Merry Go ‘Round” by Kacey Musgraves”
Because the lifestyle Musgraves is singing about IS A TRAP!
Lando Calrissian: “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line”, Waylon Jennings
Calrissian’s smuggler gangster is as duplicitous as they come, walking the thin line between good and evil. He even handed off Luke and Han and Leia to the Empire for a quick buck.
Jar Jar Binks: “Achy Breaky Heart”, Billy Ray Cyrus
The ultimate litmus test for both country and Star Wars fans. Both the song and the character are hated and loved with equal measure and are extremely divisive to diehard fans. Whether you love them or hate them immediately puts you in a generational box.