This year we celebrate both the 40th anniversary of Star Wars and the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band just one week apart. Aside from that proximity on the calendar and their shared status as pop culture landmarks, those two works of art really don’t seem to have much in common. This is the internet, though. Someone out there was bound to get these two crazy kids together eventually.
Which brings us to Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans.
We have the musical mash-up duo Palette-Swap Ninja to thank for this gem, which uses the original 1977 Star Wars film to make Sgt. Pepper’s into a different kind of concept album. Every song is now a Star Wars scene, from the title track (Leia giving R2-D2 the stolen plans) all the way to the triumphant final battle (“A Day in the Life of Red Five”).
The lyrics are clever, the music is on-point and there are even some interesting uses of the original Sgt. Pepper’s format to play with scenes from the film. For example, the second Pepper’s track (“With a Little Help From My Friends”) features the entry of singer “Billy Shears” (Ringo) into the concert. Since the second scene in Star Wars features the first appearance of Darth Vader, he gets to be the Billy of the piece, making “With Illicit Help From Your Friends” all the more fun.
That cleverness continues throughout the piece, capped off by the album’s legendary final piano chords ringing out as the Death Star explodes. It’s a precise and very well-planned mash-up no one saw coming, and the apparent strangeness of this juxtaposition only makes the finished product more delightful.
Now hurry up and watch it before the lawyers get it taken down.
You can download the full album for free at Palette-Swap Ninja’s website.