THE TIME I ALMOST DIDN’T PERFORM AT STUDIO 54 – Tales from Bo / by Bo Gerard

Rockin' my 70's look at Studio 54    (with a little help from Photoshop)

Rockin' my 70's look at Studio 54
(with a little help from Photoshop)

I am finally coming out and admitting to something that up until now only two people knew about me.  Here it is… I really like the disco version of Star Wars.  Whew, it feels so good to finally get that off my chest.  Now before the haters start hating let me relate to you how I was entrapped and beguiled into such great affection for this platform-shoed version of the amazing John Williams score.  IT’S ALL STUDIO 54’S FAULT!

In 1979 I was hired by a doctor in NY to perform for his private party being held at Studio 54.  It was a crazy, busy Saturday night at the club and this doctor had a private room/area booked for his guests.  (Nowadays they would call it a VIP table) The velvet roped lines outside of Studio 54 were famously long and populated with happy, shiny people hoping to be let in to party with the famous glitterati of NYC.   This behavior repulsed me, since begging to get in to anything was definitely not my style, no matter what was happening inside.  The host had mailed me a pass that would get me past the line and directly into the club.  But the guard/bouncer/decider-of-peoples-fates guy at the door looked at my specially printed orange pass and told me it was the wrong color.  It was supposed to be blue.  After explaining I was hired to perform there and that this was the pass that was mailed to me, he very begrudgingly said he would send word into the club and try and find the guy that hired me.  And so I found myself in the humiliating position of standing outside of Studio 54 for 45 minutes with all the other hopefuls.  And I could see they were thinking - “This guy is never getting in there.  Look at his haircut!”.  They were right… I never did get in.

A few months later I was hired to perform for a birthday party, and the mom had rented the entire Studio 54 for their child’s daytime party.  I got to the club extra early and this time I was miraculously let in.  The still empty club was huge, with multi levels, nooks and crannies, and an amazing light and sound system that could literally rock your innards.  While I stood waiting for the guests to arrive, the DJ put on Meco’s Star Wars.  (For some reason I always assumed Meco was Japanese, but he is a NY Italian like me.) Standing alone, in the center of the dance floor, and listening to this 15-minute track, was like what I imagined tripping on acid must have been like (I’ve never taken any hallucinogens, but I’ve read a lot of rock star memoires).  Everything Meco was reaching for in the piece was realized for me, as I stood there dumbstruck. 

Now you’ve probably have heard a horribly truncated, 3-minute version of this track on some oldies station, but I challenge you to sit and listen to the entire track, especially if you are a Star Wars fan.  George Lucas had no knowledge that this piece was being made, so Meco had to recreate all of the robot and other special effects sounds from scratch.  And with New York first call studio musicians like Steve Gadd, Will Lee, and Al Di Meola playing on the track it is a piece of 1970’s music history that is worth taking the time to appreciate.  John Williams sent a letter to Meco when he heard it, saying, “I immediately liked what I heard and sensed that a genuine communication was taking place.  Meco took things forward another step by bringing Star Wars to a vast audience who otherwise would not have heard it in its original symphonic setting.”  So if it’s good enough for John Williams maybe it’s good enough for you!  Turn up the volume and enjoy!!!