Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (partially lost unreleased Max Rebo Band source music from sci-fi film sequel; 1983)

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The Max Rebo band.

Status: Partially Lost

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is a 1983 film directed by Richard Marquand with a story by George Lucas and was produced by Lucas' production company Lucasfilm Ltd. It is the third film in the Original Trilogy of the Star Wars film series.

Like other films in the series, the original score was composed by John Williams. However, for scenes taking place in Jabba's Palace, which featured a live band known as the Max Rebo Band, diegetic source music was required. These tracks were written by Williams in collaboration with his son Joseph, whom at the time was the lead singer of the band Toto, and filmmaker Ernie Fosselius, who directed well-known Star Wars parody Hardware Wars. Two of these songs, "Lapti Nek" and "Galactic Dance Blast," have never been commercially released in their original versions, and in at least one case the master recording tapes have been lost.

"Lapti Nek"[edit | edit source]

"Lapti Nek" is the song played by the Max Rebo Band in Jabba's palace just before Jabba feeds one of his slave dancers to his rancor monster. During production of Return of the Jedi, three versions of "Lapti Nek" were recorded. The first featured vocals by sound designer Annie Arbogast. Arbogast performed in Huttese, a constructed language spoken by various characters in the Star Wars films. Two more versions, one in Huttese and the other in English, were recorded by vocalist Michele Gruska. Gruska's Huttese version was intended to be used in the final film, but Arbogast's version, originally recorded as a temp track, was used instead in a last-minute decision.[1]

Availablity[edit | edit source]

Of these three versions, only Gruska's Huttese version has been commercially released, when it was featured on the original Polygram Records release of the soundtrack. Gruska's English version and Arbogast's version have not been released to this day. According to Lukas Kendall of Film Score Monthly magazine, who wrote liner notes for the 1993 release of the soundtrack, the original master recording tapes of Arbogast's version have been lost.[2]

Both Gruska's English version and Arbogast's version were used as background music for the PBS documentary From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga. In the case of Arbogast's version, fans have created bootlegged tracks by splicing clips from the final film, Gruska's released version, and the documentary, though not without completely removing film sound effects.

The 1997 Special Edition release of Return of the Jedi replaced "Lapti Nek" with a new song titled "Jedi Rocks," written by Jerry Hey. Every subsequent release of the film's soundtrack has included "Jedi Rocks" instead of any version of "Lapti Nek," discouraging any motivation for Lucasfilm archivists to track down the master recording tapes.

Fan Reconstruction[edit | edit source]

Recreation of the film version of "Lapti Nek" by Auditect.

"Galactic Dance Blast"[edit | edit source]

This instrumental track is played twice in Return of the Jedi, once in Jabba's palace while Chewbacca is being led away from Jabba's court, and once while R2-D2 is selling drinks on Jabba's sail barge.

Availability[edit | edit source]

This track has never been commercially released. An article on the official Star Wars website by Brendan Nystedt explains that the original recording "seems to be lost in the sands of time."[3]

Like Arbogast's version of Lapti Nek, this song was used in the From Star Wars to Jedi documentary, and fans have used clips of the song in the documentary and the final film to create bootlegged versions, though with noticeable changes in sound quality.

Fan Reconstructions[edit | edit source]

Recreation of "Galactic Dance Blast" by Film Score Media.
Recreation of "Galactic Dance Blast" by ESP1138.
Recreation of "Galactic Dance Blast" by Andy Morales.

References[edit | edit source]