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by Linda Ryan

May 4, 2014

May the Fourth...

by Linda Ryan  |  May 4, 2014

The name Domhnall Gleeson saw a major spike in Internet searches last week after the Irishman was announced among the cast for the new JJ Abrams project, Star Wars: Episode VII. The actor will join original stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in another Star Wars spin-off movie. And the timing couldn't be better, as this news arrives just in time for May the Fourth's Star Wars Day celebrations.

Believe it or not, it was the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher, who originally helped spread the word about May the Fourth -- or rather, her political party did. To commemorate her inauguration day -- May 4, 1979 -- her constituents took out an ad in The London Evening News that read, "May the Fourth Be With You Maggie. Congratulations." So the British got it long before most, but over the past few decades, this cute, albeit somewhat obscure, nod to the epic space adventure has grown by leaps and bounds.

Not surprisingly, with each movie release, the magic of Star Wars spreads to a new generation of enthusiasts, ready and willing to take sides in the battle between the Dark Side and The Force. And it seems that with each generation, movie quotes such as "May the force be with you" or "In a galaxy far, far, away" or "Luke … I am your father" have made their way into everyday vernacular.

The Star Wars franchise has also influenced a musician or two over the years. Punk pop band Nerf Herder, for example, took their name from the derisive term first heard in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. And you certainly don't have to guess where DJ Yoda got his name. Star Wars' profound impact on pop culture -- and music -- is as undeniable as it is inescapable, even in the hashtag generation. So to celebrate, we put together this playlist of songs, all of which are touched by the hand of Star Wars in some way, whether it be a tossed-off line about guys looking like Tusken Raiders (The Hold Steady's "The Swish") or Freddie Mercury professing, "Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars." So hit play and enjoy the ride, Wookie.

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