Star Trek: The Next Generation Theme Got A Funky Disco Version, See It Here
Appearing on some versions of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's soundtrack, the disco remix is a real thing, paid for by Paramount, that was once thought to have been lost media.
Star Trek has always taken itself seriously, but at the same time, the cast and crew are well aware of the inherent absurdity present in science-fiction. What better way to close out an up-and-down year for the venerable franchise than with a strange fan mashup, shared on YouTube, of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s first season scored to the strangest officially released remix of the theme? Yes, Star Trek had an official disco remix of the iconic theme song, and yes, it is amazing.
The original theme song was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, but the funky Star Trek disco version was arranged by Bob James. Both men were accomplished, award-winning musicians and both built off of the work done by the original Star Trek composer, Fred Steiner. From StarTrek.com, Goldsmith was tasked with creating the score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was released in 1979, two years after Star Wars, and more importantly, John Williams’s incredible film score had left an indelible mark on popular culture.
The theme song from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which became the basis for the opening theme for The Next Generation as well, was designed by Goldsmith to evoke the feeling of a classic western, only set in space instead of the open plains. That mindset echoed Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of the first series as a space western, with the crew rolling into a new planet/situation each week. As for how the Star Trek disco theme works into it, well, it was 1979.
Star Trek may be set in the far future, but it was revitalized in the late 70s, when disco was still king of the music scene. The famous Disco Demolition Night happened on July 7, 1979, which was not early enough to stop the funky Bob James arrangement from being made but was early enough to keep the track off of most versions of Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s soundtrack. Considered a lost relic for years, the upbeat disco remix made it onto records around the world, but typically only in underserved markets that, in an era before the internet, may as well have been on another planet.
While Star Trek’s disco theme is a fascinating relic from a bygone time, it also underscores just how amazing Jerry Goldsmith’s work on the soundtrack was, especially since he finished putting it together only five days before the film’s release date. In modern Hollywood, no one would be able to get away with waiting that long to complete such an important part of a movie, but in 1979, Paramount had locked in the release date and was not budging, no matter what post-production problems plagued the movie.
A Star Trek disco remix was low on the list of issues that kneecapped Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was still a success, albeit not on the level of Star Wars: A New Hope just two years prior. Enjoy the funky interpretation of what has become an iconic theme in popular culture, while also realizing just how young most of the cast was back in The Next Generation’s first season. To see more of the cast, and what has become of their characters, fans can stream Picard on Paramount+, with the upcoming fourth season promising to reunite the crew of the best version of the Enterprise.