Luke Skywalker and Michael Jackson have more in common beyond their mutual popularity in the 1980s. Thanks to artist Steven Lear —known online as “Why the Long Face” — Luke and M.J. also now both have iconic vinyl record album covers.
Michael Jackson’s Bad, is of course, a 13-time, platinum-selling album, while Luke Skywalker’s Bad is something we can only hear in our imaginations. But Lear’s Star Wars Album Cover MashUps don’t end with Luke and M.J.: on his Facebook and Instagram he’s posted over 90 different album-cover mashups featuring Star Wars stuff. And the selections aren’t necessarily limited to “cool” Star Wars characters either as Jar Jar and Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker are even give their own albums. Lear jumps around all eras of popular music, throwing in selections as contemporary as Taylor Swift and as old-school as Bob Dylan.
Here’s a world where the Smiths become “the Siths,” and the Foo Fighters, “The Rebel Fighters.” That iconic Foo Fighters’s selection is telling, too, since the band used a photograph of a 1935 Buck Rogers “disintegrator pistol” for that cover.
But George Lucas was roughly inspired to make Star Wars by Buck Rogers, making Han Solo’s pistol a kind of appropriate distant mashup relative. If Star Wars itself is a mashup of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, then the Rebel Fighters/Foo Fighters cover is a mashup commenting on a mashup!
Lear has done some other pop-culture mashups, too, but the Star Wars ones are perhaps the most compelling. Not just because of the sheer number of pieces he’s done, but also because each one manages to give you a little personal “chuckle” or forces the words “cool” to leave your lips. If you think the zeitgeist is destined to tire of pop-mashups, Steven Lear’s art will give you pause.
And if you do love these, then you’ve only got one problem: how can you possible pick your favorite? Because there are also limited-edition t-shirts.