Jon Bon Jovi’s 1980 song ‘R2-D2, We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ is the best gift ever (LISTEN)
Before he was Jon Bon Jovi, New Jersey's to-be-second-most (sorry, JBJ fans) famous rocker was Jon Francis Bongiovi.
And a long, long time ago, before "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was a record-smashing box office hit, the franchise's initial trilogy was, well, its own phenomenon. One that produced ... well, a lot of schlock.
Among the schlockiest: Bongiovi's first ever commercial recording, "R2-D2, We Wish You A Merry Christmas."
Just let it sink in how amazing that is. The man who'd someday release "Slippery When Wet," the man who'd go on to sell 130 million albums worldwide, the man who'd play a plumber and love interest on Ally McBeal (remember that?), crooned out the following lyrics to little R2:
And if the snow becomes too deep, just give a little beep
We'll go in by the fire and warm your little wires
Spreading Christmas cheer will be easy with you here
We'll dance and sing and play from Christmas Eve 'til Christmas day
A 2011 article in Forbes recounts how the piece came together:
The year was 1980, and an 18-year-old John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. was looking to earn a few extra bucks between gigs at New Jersey dive bars and his job as an errand boy at his cousin Tony Bongiovi’s radio station in New York. A producer by the name of Meco Menardo asked Tony if he knew of any good singers looking for some work. And with that, Menardo was quickly introduced to the man who’d become Bon Jovi.
Menardo needed someone with a high voice for lead vocals on the R2D2 track, one of nine songs he was producing for "Christmas In The Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album."
Jon did a great job on the song, though we wouldn't have minded if he'd also taken on "What Can You Get A Wookiee For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb)."
(Really. Really. That's absolutely really the name of another song on the album.)
Bon Jovi told Forbes that Meco tried to sing the song himself, and he didn't sound young enough — so they marked him down as a session musician, and 20 minutes later, what's clearly the best piece of music ever recorded had its vocal track.
Bon Jovi made $180 for the job, the piece reports.
The Onion's AV club in 2002 gave the Star Wars album high marks for kitsch.
"You'll either laugh your head off or weep with geek nostalgia," it wrote.