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Top ten lists of an artist's work are never controversial. Nope. Never any discourse, disagreement or finger-pointing with these!

But eh, I don't care. My top 10 list of John Williams Star Wars tracks is unique to me and needs neither validation nor dispute from anyone else Your list is 100 percent as legitimate as mine or anyone else's. That's the beauty of the art John Williams has created over his eight decade career of film music composition. You love what you love, and no one need love it like you do.

So here is my list, with YouTube links for your listening pleasure. These tracks come from officially released John Williams tracks for the Star Wars films only.

For me, the word "ethereal" was invented to describe this track. 
We begin this track on Dagobah as Luke's Jedi powers are clearly growing. When used correctly, as it is here, the celeste might be my favorite musical instrument. It delicately plays as Luke is pained by a vision of his friends in pain in a city in the clouds. 
In part 2, the female chorus soars as the Millennium Falcon flies into Bespin's Cloud City. When matched with the orange clouds, this is movie music at its finest. This track (and the Ralph McQuarrie concept painting of the scene) endlessly fascinated me as a kid, and nothing in any of the Star Wars films marries scene and music quite as perfectly as this.

If the chorus in the #1 track is a siren's song of welcome, the chorus that opens this track has the complete opposite effect. It's a low, quiet singular voice that explodes into choral cries of anguish as Anakin Skywalker dives head first into the dark side with the slaughter of the Separatists on Mustafar. In this track, the chorus, for me, acts as the Force itself, crying out in pain as Anakin's brutality is on full display, His perversion of the Force is almost painful. Williams directs more of a full chorus as the track ends as Anakin concludes his latest round of carnage.

On the Empire LP, this track immediately follows City in the Clouds, giving the listener a double shot of Cloud City goodness. A new theme for Lando Calrissian debuts here. A fun, bouncy theme, Williams once again creates something distinct musically for a character we're meeting for the first time. The music plays over the dialogue of the characters, helping embed this new theme within our minds and hearts.
This track has two very different parts, and part two returns us to Dagobah as Luke is preparing to cut his Jedi training short to rescue his friends. Williams shuffles between the Force theme and Yoda's theme as Obi-Wan and Yoda warn Luke of impulsive action, which Luke of course ignores. The pitch of the music is unmistakably foreboding, as Williams lets the audience know Luke is headed into mortal danger,

I referenced this musical cue in my tribute post to Williams, published earlier today. At this point in the saga, we were all so deliriously caught up in the drama of Luke and Vader, just the two of them talking demanded total silence in the theater with every one of its guests on the literal edge of their seats. Vader plays the one last card he has left in his effort to turn Luke, and that's Leia.
What follows is the most intense we have ever seen our hero, and the music rises up to the moment to match it. A male chorus represents the swirling nature of the Force as Luke overwhelms his father. It is such an emotional music cue, it tingles more than just the ears or the hair on the back of your neck. The feeling swells up from the deepest part of yourself as you become fully engulfed in this dire struggle between good and evil, and Williams places the exact amount of appropriate musical drama to this critical moment in time. 

A duel earlier in Anakin's life is featured here, although its one with similarly apocalyptic overtones. Low and fast violins introduce us to this most personal conflict between former best friends Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar. Those violins give way to the horn section at its best, covering the audience in a brand-new version of the Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace.
Lucasfilm Sound Designer David W. Collins said it best when describing this theme: "Anakin, look at what you have become." Williams goes full-on tragic with his tone for this track.
In the documentary The Beginning - which covers the making of The Phantom Menace - George Lucas hinted at this theme's existence in his conferences with Williams at the conducting of the TPM score in London. Lucas mentioned Duel of the Fates would be related to this exact track in ROTS.
"It goes into the third film very well," Lucas said in the documentary. "It'll be an important thing to reprise. It definitely has the quality of the inevitable fate of doom." What a perfect way to describe this track, and is so illustrative of the incredible collaborative relationship between Williams and Lucas.

This one is such a classic. But it's also kind of a strange track in that it only appears in a small part of the scene it's meant to represent - the duel between Luke and Vader on Cloud City - and plays mostly over Lando, Leia, Chewie, Artoo and Threepio trying to escape the chaos of Cloud City. 
A deliberate and menacing version of the Imperial March opens the track, reinforcing what the audience suspects - Luke is completely overmatched. The music later takes more of a hopeful and determined tone as Luke battles back, holding his ground to the best of his ability. That music matches the daring escape led by Lando from the floating mining colony, a place that had devolved into hell in the middle of heaven.

The scene of Yoda raising Luke's X-Wing out of the Dagobah swamp typically lands high on lists of people's favorite scenes from the saga. John Williams delivers the goods once again here, filling us with wonder at the feats of the 900-year-old Jedi sage. 
Yoda's theme, itself a beautifully constructed musical cue, soars to its heights as Yoda guides the sunken ship out of the muck. What I find interesting is that this is one of the longer scenes in the film with no dialogue. Luke says "You want the impossible" and sulks off next to a nearby tree. Yoda takes a deep breath before - with a big assist to this music - takes our breath away. 

The first entry on my list from the sequel trilogy was quite a controversial one in Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi (2017). But for purposes of this list, I fully separate the music from its accompanying scene.
The Supremacy opens by signaling to the audience that the Resistance has not in fact escaped, and is in imminent danger. What follows is some of the fastest and most dizzying music Williams has composed for the saga as Kylo Ren and two TIE Fighters engage in battle with the Resistance cruiser that matches this track's name.
The instruments come to a sudden stop as Leia is shockingly blown out of the ship thanks to shots from the First Order TIEs. Hints of the Resistance theme follow. The track concludes with a gorgeous rendition of Princess Leia's theme, as she wills herself back onto the ship. That theme is followed by the Force them as Leia is rescued and put under medical care as this wild sequence comes to an end.

The second of two entries from the sequel trilogy features the music leading up to Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana, around halfway through The Force Awakens (2015). It's a fun track in the middle of a really fun score, one that in my mind, outperforms the film.
I particularly enjoy the three-note package of ascending and descending notes that butt up against one another as Han Solo, Rey, Finn and BB-8 approach the castle (I'm sure someone educated in music can write that much more elegantly than I). 
The soundtrack music played throughout Maz's Castle run a wide range of emotions, from the rage of the Knights of Ren appearing in Rey's Force vision, to the loving but sad cue played as Finn decides to part ways with his friends. It ends with Rey running out of the castle and into the forest in an emotional sequence of notes that strike me with sadness, as our hero-to-be runs away from her destiny.

This is another standout scene in the middle of a very dramatic film, one that immediately stuck in the memories of audiences of 2005.
Again, there's no dialogue as the coming conflict between Anakin and the Jedi looms over the horizon. Lucas expertly alternates between shots of star-crossed spouses Anakin and Padme looking towards one another across the Coruscant cityscape.
The music Williams features here is so different from anything else in Star Wars. It reminds many of music you'd find in Twin Peaks (1990-91, 2017). Its quiet but deep and slow-paced synthesized music draws us into the powerful but conflicting emotions Anakin and Padme have for one another as their fates are about to be permanently, and tragically, turned forever. Matthew Stover's Revenge of the Sith novelization writes this sequence in an extraordinary way, adding deeper dimensions to a heavy scene.

Tales of a Jedi Knight - A New Hope
Training of a Jedi Knight - Empire Strikes Back
Victory Celebration (1983 version) - Return of the Jedi
Duel of the Fates - The Phantom Menace
Anakin and Padme - Attack of the Clones
The Immolation Scene - Revenge of the Sith
Starkiller - The Force Awakens
Ahch-To Island - The Last Jedi
Destiny of a Jedi - Rise of Skywalker

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.


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