Living In These Star Warz Record

We all know about the disco Star Wars album by Meco Menardo, but most people aren’t aware of The Rebel Force Band’s Living In These Star Warz album from 1977.

I don’t know the full story on this, other than it was a group of musicians who loved Star Wars, wrote original songs about it, and this was the result. I actually reached out to Dan Whitley, who had a hand in almost every song on the album and either ran the record label, Bonwhit Records, or at least now owns the rights to the label’s music. I wanted to interview him and get the story, but we could never get our schedules to sync. He also seemed to lose interest when he found out I wasn’t from Rolling Stone or some other big news outlet.

Living In These Star WarsSpaced Out
Don’t Fall In Love with an AndroidMay the Force Be With You
LeiaThe Ballad of Obi Wan (OB-1)
Chewie the Rookie WookieYou’ll Be a Warrior
A Respirator for Darth VaderLiving In These Star Wars (Disco)

What I can tell you is that Whitley was a recording artist back in the late-1960s and ’70s. His solo album, 1969’s In Search of Justus, is something of an underground hit, with the record selling for nearly $50 on Discogs.

In 1973, Whitley joined with two other artists, Bob Morphis and Nick Peper, to form The Justus Brothers, who released a soundtrack to a religious stage production called Open Any Door. They toured quite extensively in the 1970s, performing at amusement parks, hotels, and made an appearance on Dinah!, the daytime variety show hosted by Dinah Shore in the 1970s. In 1980, they released another album, minus Nick Peper, called Happy Together that featured a handful of original songs, as well as covers, including the title track, “Happy Together”, by The Turtles. Today, Whitley is a music teacher and record producer, focusing on religious albums.

It seems Whitley brought together a group of artists to create Living In These Star Warz. There doesn’t appear to be a singular “Rebel Force Band”, because many different artists worked on each song. For example, there are seven guitarists, three keyboardists, and two bass players credited. One of those credited is Ike Egan, who was the bass player for The Osmonds at the time and would later go on to write the American soundtrack for the cult favorite anime, Ulysses 31.

Because they used copyrighted names and whatnot, the album was pulled from shelves and re-released a year later in 1978 with a slightly reworked cover, emphasizing that the songs were “inspired by Star Wars” and that these songs had no connection to the music of John Williams. They also changed it to “Star Wars” instead of “Star Warz”, probably because since they were now paying Lucasfilm royalties, they might as well use the actual title of the film to promote the album.

I have the 1977 release, which fetches a pretty penny on eBay and Discogs; the last one sold for $70. The 1978 release isn’t cheap either, selling for $50 whenever one comes up for sale. I picked up my copy on eBay for $25 because the auction was just labeled “Star Wars Record” and it got overlooked by other collectors.

Two songs were released as singles: “Chewie the Rookie Wookie” and the title track, with Side A featuring the disco remix. As you can probably imagine, these go for a decent amount for a 7″ single, usually in the range of $15 – $30.

The album is actually a lot of fun with songs that cover the spectrum of mainstream music in the late-70s, from disco, to funk, to ballads, to southern fried rock and roll. You can check out the whole album over on Spotify.

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