Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The surprisingly strange story of "Lapti Nek"

Posted By on 05.24.11 at 04:32 PM

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John Williams is a monster when it comes to composing film scores, and the proof is in how impossible it is to recall a scene from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Jaws without also remembering the accompanying music. While he's best known for huge, sweeping, legendary-sounding anthems, he's been responsible for more humble soundtrack compositions as well. For instance, he not only wrote the orchestral score to Return of the Jedi, he also contributed the vaguely world-music-sounding "Ewok Celebration," aka "Yub Nub," aka the song that drops in at the end to shit all over the preceding two hours of outer space fightin'. He also wrote "Lapti Nek," which you may remember as the weird disco-funk song that the nasty flesh-bag alien with the inappropriately sexy lady lips sings during the party scene at Jabba the Hutt's palace. Or maybe you don't remember, in which case you can refresh your memory here.

It turns out that "Lapti Nek" has a long and utterly weird story behind it, as uncovered in not one but two recent articles devoted the song in the digital incarnation of Crawdaddy! magazine. It involves a quixotic attempt by Lucas and Williams to get "Lapti Nek" a spot on the real-world pop charts, a guy from Toto, unexpected success in Thailand, and rumors of Lucas bedding the aforementioned inappropriately sexy alien—or at least the sound tech who voiced her in the movie. It's fascinating.

Unfortunately the story has an unhappy ending: "Lapti Nek" (according to Wookieepedia, the phrase means "work it out" in Huttese) was replaced by the blooz-tastic "Jedi Rocks" in the 1997 special edition and in all subsequent editions. Apparently after thinking about it for a couple of decades, Williams and Lucas decided that what would really do the scene justice would be a sci-fi version of Blueshammer.

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