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Jefferson Starship, ‘Light the Sky on Fire’ – Hilariously Outdated Videos

We usually use our Hilariously Outdated Videos series to unearth music clips marked by visual and conceptual anachronisms denoting their origins in a distant past. So it takes a very special candidate to make the grade while simultaneously attempting to depict a future time and place — or at least a galaxy far, far away …

The infamous ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ remains the beloved movie mega-franchise’s biggest blunder not named Jar Jar Binks. For those too young or fortunately absentminded to recall, on Nov. 17, 1978,  the first — and last — complete television broadcast of this notorious one-hour ‘Star Wars’ spin-off-cum-variety-show aired. It was centered on a flimsy, Christmas-themed holiday concept called “Earth Day” and set on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk.

As such, the show introduced “fuzzball” Chewbacca’s extended family, including his wife Malla, son Lumpy(!) and father Itchy(!!); featured brief cameos by ‘Star Wars’ cast members both human (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher) and droid (R2-D2,C-3PO); and shoehorned a variety of comedy skits and musical numbers into the plot. (Really, you have to see it to believe it.)

Amid all of these ill-advised attempts at brand suicide, the show’s producers had the bright idea to invite Jefferson Starship to perform a song — presumably because they had the word “starship” in their moniker.

In retrospect, the band’s newly penned ‘Light the Sky on Fire’ (later featured on their 1979 ‘Gold‘ best-of set), came off as an absolute highlight of the doomed special. Still, today, one can’t help but snicker at the “cutting edge holographic visual effects” that bathe the band’s performance with blinding splashes of pink-and-purple neon.

But you can’t really blame that on Jefferson Starship’s Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, Craig Chaquico, David Freiberg, Pete Sears and John Barbata — all of whom were probably just as shocked as everyone else over the awkward results and horrendous critical reception accorded to ‘The Star Wars Holiday Special.’

Can you really blame the Empire for striking back? We can’t. The entire debacle is truly best left in a galaxy far, far away.

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