Christmas Past

The fascinating stories behind your favorite Christmas traditions

That time Jon Bon Jovi recorded a Christmas song about R2-D2

r2d2 with santa hat

Which is weirder: the fact that there’s a Christmas song called “R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” or that Jon Bon Jovi sang it?

To be fair, he wasn’t Jon Bon Jovi yet. He was still John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., a New Jersey teen grinding it out between gigs in dive bars and doing odd jobs at the radio station his uncle Tony managed in New York. Living on a prayer, you might say.

In 1980, producer Meco Monardo was looking to make a follow up to his 1977 album, Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, a disco mashup of the Star Wars soundtrack. These kinds of novelty / parody / tribute albums were common in the 70s and 80s, with songs like Disco Duck and Pac-Man Fever becoming hits.

disco ball

The new album, Christmas In the Stars, was a set of Star Wars Christmas songs that also featured vocals and narration by Anthony Daniels, who played C-3P0.

But Menardo was looking for someone with a high voice to sing “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” He tried to sing the part himself, and it wasn’t working. So he asked his friend Tony Bongiovi if he knew any singers looking to make some cash. Tony recommended his nephew John.

He recorded the song in about 20 minutes and received $180 for his work.

Christmas In the Stars is in the same camp as the Star Wars Holiday Special: a head-scratching footnote to the Star Wars universe that even die-hard fans can’t appreciate—or even enjoy ironically.

Thankfully things turned out better for little John Francis Bongiovi Jr.

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