The Untold Story of Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Star Wars’ Christmas Song
Before he became Jon Bon Jovi, global rock star, John Bongiovi was one of thousands of aspiring musicians in the New York area looking for a break. In 1980, he made his recorded debut in a somewhat inauspicious manner, singing on a 'Star Wars'-themed Christmas album.
The CBC has compiled what they are calling the "first-ever oral history of 'Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album,'" which includes a section devoted to Bon Jovi's involvement. It began when Power Station owner Tony Bongiovi and Meco were looking to continue the success they had with the disco version of the 'Star Wars' theme. When 'The Empire Strikes Back' hit theaters, they got permission from creator George Lucas to do a Christmas record.
At the time, Tony was also doing what he could to help his young cousin's career get off the ground, so he hired him in the hopes that it would give him some exposure. "I knew that it was going to sell," Bongiovi said. "So he sang on it. If you have a hit, then you can turn around and say, 'Hey, this album is a hit, let’s turn around and sign him'...But that’s how he ended up on that track."
The song, which can be heard above, was called, 'R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas' and featured the future Bon Jovi frontman and a a chorus of kids sweetly singing a tune of Christmas cheer to the droid.
However, Tony's plan didn't pan out as he had hoped. On the eve of the album's release, RSO Records went out of business. This meant that its run was limited to its initial pressing of 150,000 copies, stalling its commercial momentum.
Tony Award-winning composer Maury Yeston, who was a few years away from a Broadway smash with 'Nine,' wrote most of the material, although he added that Meco wrote 'R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas' and that Bon Jovi wrote 'The Odds Against Christmas." Yeston recalled working with the young singer, noting, "I’ve always thought I am not the only one who could be blackmailed by this album."
You Think You Know Bon Jovi?
See Jon Bon Jovi and Other Rockers' Yearbook Photos