There's something about the John Williams themes from Star Wars that instantly take me to a happy place and recall childhood optimism and exhilaration. Since purchasing my Crossley Cruiser Mickey Mouse record player at the D23 Expo last summer, I've discovered my favorite way to relax from a stressful day is to sit back while a spinning record hypnotizes me, surrounding my ears with hi-fi brilliance. When I heard that Walt Disney Records would be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars with a 3-disc LP set this December, it was already on my holiday wishlist.
My built-in excitement didn't adequately prepare me for the grandeur of this release. The box it's housed in looks and feels like black leather, with a metal embossed logo recessed in the center that reads "Star Wars: A New Hope" and silver foil credits on the top and bottom. It's absolutely gorgeous and worthy of display.
The book slides out from the side, containing the three records in addition to 47-pages celebrating the anniversary of this groundbreaking film. Images include concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photos, and pictures of John Williams' life and career. There are two essays, one exploring the history and success of the original film by Jeff Bond, the other providing information on John Williams' life and career highlights.
The original soundtrack in 1977 was a 2-LP release that featured 74-minutes of score, most of it out of order. The first two records in this collection recreate that same audio experience, but restored "at 192kHz/24-bit." It sounds amazing and my ears have picked up on instruments and arrangements that I never noticed before on CD or digital, or in the film itself. If you've never listened to this music on vinyl before, then you haven't heard all of it. Both LPs are high gloss black and more reflective than any other vinyls I own. Each of the LPs come with sleeves featuring the rebel and imperial logos, which slide into sturdy pages at the back of the book.
The third LP adds an extra wow factor with a hologram etched side that features a rotating Death Star when you spin the disc. It does contain music as well, the 12-minute track "The Last Battle" which is also on Side 4 of the release. This was my first hologram disc, although I did see a demonstration of the one previously released for The Force Awakens at the D23 Expo. It looks like the Death Star is spinning slightly above the record, while a reflection of it is deep inside. The other side of this bonus LP doesn't have any audio content, but makes a lovely display as it features the 40th Anniversary logo etched into the vinyl. (The image doesn't do it justice, it is spectacular in person.)
I loved celebrating 40 years of the force by experiencing the original motion picture soundtrack of Star Wars: A New Hope fully restored on vinyl in the original track order. If you're a fan of John Williams and have never experienced this music this way, you're in for a real treat. This is sure to become a treasure in the hands of any Star Wars collector.
Walt Disney Records has provided us with a set to giveaway to one lucky winner located in the United States. To enter, please fill out the form below: