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Meco

The meaning of «meco»

Domenico Monardo (born November 29, 1939), known as Meco, is an American record producer and musician, as well as the name of his band or production team. Meco is best known for his 1977 space disco version of the Star Wars theme from his album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk; both the single and album were certified platinum in the US.

Meco Monardo was born in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, to parents of Italian descent. Building model ships, science fiction and movies were some of his boyhood preoccupations. His father played the valve trombone in a small Italian band, and through him Meco got his first musical education.[1] Meco wanted to play the drums, but his father convinced him that the trombone was the right instrument, and at nine that was the instrument with which he was to stay. However, for Meco, the slide trombone was his choice, troublesome as it was for the small-statured boy to extend the slide fully at first. He joined the high school band while still attending elementary school.[1] At 17, he won a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York,[1] which provided him with a solid classical and jazz music education.

While at Eastman School of Music, together with his two friends Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter, he started the Eastman School of Music jazz band. When he enrolled at West Point, he also played in the Cadet Band.[1]

After serving in the US Army, Meco moved to New York City and joined Kai Winding's[1] four-trombone band, and then from 1965 to 1974 he went on as a studio musician. Originally not inclined toward pop music, Meco's heart changed when he heard Petula Clark's "Downtown." He began arranging for musicians, for example the horn section on Tommy James' "Crystal Blue Persuasion" and the Neil Diamond series of Coca-Cola commercials.

As a session musician he played the trombone with acts like Tommy James, Diana Ross, and David Barretto. Although Meco focused on producing in the late 1970s, he contracted the horns and performed on Diana Ross' 1980 album Diana as a favor to producer (and neighbor) Nile Rodgers. His solo on the single "I'm Coming Out" is notable because of the rarity of trombone features on post-big-band era pop records.[2]

Around 1973, Meco and Tony Bongiovi were part of a trio that formed the production company Disco Corporation of America. From 1974 to 1976, Meco worked as a record producer. The team of Meco, Bongiovi, Jay Ellis, and Harold Wheeler produced the 1974 Gloria Gaynor hit "Never Can Say Goodbye." Carol Douglas' "Doctor's Orders" was among the other productions of that period.

On Wednesday May 25, 1977, Meco watched the 20th Century-Fox soon-to-be blockbuster hit Star Wars on its opening day. By Thursday night, he had seen the film four more times, and attended several more screenings over the weekend.

He then got the idea to make a disco version of the score by John Williams and contacted Neil Bogart at Casablanca Records to pitch the project. Only after both the picture itself as well as the original score had become huge hits did Bogart agree to help Meco realize his idea. Contact was established with Millennium Records, then a Casablanca subsidiary, and this became Meco's first record company. Here Meco rejoined with Tony Bongiovi as well as Harold Wheeler who had also been part of the team behind "Never Can Say Goodbye" in 1974. Lance Quinn was also part of the Meco team, and the different roles played by the four musicians is described by Meco himself in a 1999 interview with his fan Web site:

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