Top 10 Star Wars Soundtrack Pieces

With all of the ups and downs of the ever-expanding Star Wars universe, one factor that has consistently delivered is the music. John Williams’ undeniable wizardry has added its own level of magic to a pretty darn magical setting. The theme and several notable pieces are unmistakable even in the smallest doses. Many people view those few notable pieces as the only highlights while dismissing the rest as background filler. In reality, there’s no shortage of tracks that magnificently tell their stories with all the emotion that comes from its parentage.

 

I put some thought into it and came up with a list of my favorites. I’ll elaborate my decision with each choice. Every song title header is a hyperlink to a YouTube recording to make things easy if you’d like to check it out. Also, if you feel differently, or have your own favorite tracks, PLEASE leave them in the comments! There’s no such thing as too many options or opinions with the score of my favorite saga. Drumroll please…..

 

  1. Rey’s Theme

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A major highlight from The Force Awakens, Rey’s Theme is the most hopeful track on this list. It perfectly emulates the sense of adventure that was hard to find after Episode IV. It’s also a wonderful match for Rey’s character; carrying on John William’s knack for composing music that is practically synonymous with the character it’s written for. The theme compliments its character on a level beyond what is seen.

 

  1. Anakin’s Betrayal

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Easily among the most sorrowful pieces in the Star Wars soundtrack catalogue, Anakin’s Betrayal plays during the execution of Order 66. As the Jedi fall, Anakin’s allegiance to the light fades in desperation to the darkness. It’s a powerful track that underscores a turning point in the saga’s lore.

 

  1. The Throne Room/End Title

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It’s difficult to hear this track without visualizing the fanfare on Yavin 4 after the destruction of the first Death Star. You can just see RD2D bleeping away through a formal ceremony and Chewbacca making a fashion statement. Some of the end title music on the other movies feels like a rehash of the same tune whereas the seamless transition from the Throne Room to the end credits makes this far more likely to be played in its entirety whenever it pops up on my playlist.

 

  1. Imperial March

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What kind of top ten list would this be without mentioning the Imperial March? No elaboration needed there!

 

  1. The Destruction of Xizor’s Palace

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Yes, I am aware this piece was not featured in any of the Star Wars films. Here’s the best part – it’s a soundtrack written for a book. Shockingly, this selection also made the cut even though it was not composed by John Williams. The entire soundtrack was composed by Joel McNeely and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for the fantastic book SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE by Steve Perry. If you haven’t read the novel, and are even remotely a Star Wars fan (I assume you are since you’ve made it this far in my rambling list), definitely check it out. Even though it’s part of the Legends line which exists outside of the post-Disney canon, it’s a hell of a story. They made it a big crossover event with some Darkhorse comics, a Nintendo game, and various toys. I won’t elaborate on the story but I will say that The Destruction of Xizor’s Palace is a longer piece which is set during the climax of the book. It’s filled with ups and downs with some nice nods to the Imperial March. The entire SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE soundtrack is a hidden gem in the mastery of Star Wars themes.

 

  1. The Battle of Endor I

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This long track plays alongside some of Return of the Jedi’s most important moments. The Battle of Endor is technically two tracks but the first is my favorite. Due to the way it is spread throughout the movie’s final act, the only way you can hear it in its entirety is to listen to the soundtrack. I do recommend any Star Wars fan check it out to relive the Rebellion’s last ditch effort (filmed, at least) to topple the Galactic Empire. There are certain moments that will delight you as you remember the exact moment in the movie it was set to.

 

  1. Battle of the Heroes

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Obi-Wan’s clash with Anakin is essentially the culmination of the prequel trilogy. Battle of the Heroes stresses the significance of this moment without a lightsaber to be found. The combination of chorus and orchestra accompanying percussion highlights allows you to visualize the grandiose spectacle of a brotherly bond coming to a dramatic end while surrounded by Mustafar’s hellish landscape. Although similar to the track ‘Anakin vs. Obi-Wan’, I feel it is a better representation of what the scene sought to accomplish.

 

  1. Torn Apart

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Ah crap! Not the feels again! Taking place in The Force Awakens during the scene that made me tear up in all three of my theatrical viewings AND my first Blu-ray viewing, Torn Apart tells a story of hope giving way to trepidation before collapsing entirely under the weight of darkness. Once it’s tone becomes tragically dire, it shifts into a more vengeful and fast paced finish. This track is perfect.

 

  1. Duel of the Fates

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The track that promotionally reintroduced the world to Star Wars while throwing us into a slightly longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This song alone set a high bar that its film simply couldn’t reach. Putting the film aside, Duel of the Fates is utterly fantastic. The vocals are powerful even if you can’t tell what the hell they are saying. Duel of the Fates showed us what Phantom Menace could have been without shying away from embracing that all on its own.

 

  1. Anakin’s Dark Deeds

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I rather enjoyed Revenge of the Sith. I’m captivated every time I see Anakin’s final decent into the Dark Side. The track has an ominously quiet opening that crescendos in an instant into dramatic choir lines underscored by a powerful orchestra. All throughout it’s like a tug of war between these dramatic crescendos and emotional segways of string and brass. A strong low brass component will always pull me in thanks to time playing the trombone long ago. ‘Anakin’s Dark Deeds’ is a perfect representation of one of the saga’s most pivotal character developments. When this pops up on my playlist, I usually end up repeating it once or twice because of its ability to move me.

 

 

So there you have it! Was your favorite on the list? If any of these are new to you I highly recommend you give them a shot.

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