Friday on My Mind: The Sopranos

RIP James Gandolfini

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind, our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

This week brought the sad news of the sudden passing of actor James Gandolfini, who most of us know as Tony Soprano from the critically acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos. Gandolfini, who described himself as a “260 lb Woody Allen”, won three Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the ruthless, yet conflicted New Jersey mob boss. Gandolfini was also seasoned as a film and stage actor, having starred in such movies as True Romance and Zero Dark Thirty, but it was his performance as Tony Soprano from 1997-2001 for which he will best be known. The Sopranos paved the way for many shows that came after no only for showing the creative and ratings potential of made for cable television programs, but specifically for shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad which feature less than perfect main characters with whom we sympathize. The Sopranos was also very effective in its use of music. So this week, we’re looking at a few of our favorite songs that were used during episodes of The Sopranos.

Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning

Released in 1997 on the debut album, Exile on Coldharbour Lane, from London based band Alabama 3, “Woke Up This Morning” is now forever known as The Sopranos theme song. Alabama 3 are a band in a category all of their own. It’s been hard for many to pinpoint Alabama 3’s sound, which pulls from a vast range of musical influences and styles, including electronica, roots, and spoken word. The song served as the perfect mood setter for the show and illustration of the main character.

Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year

Originally recorded by and recorded by Sinatra in 1965 and released on the album September of My Years. At the time of the album’s recording, Sinatra was celebrating his 50th birthday. “It Was A Very Good Year” was originally written by Ervin Drake for one of the members of the Kingston Trio, but it was Sinatra’s version that became the definitive version of the song and a staple of Old Blue Eyes’ repertoire. “It Was A Very Good Year” was used during the second season of The Sopranos within a montage which catches the audience up on what the show’s characters had been up to since the previous season.

Kasey Chambers – The Captain

“The Captain” is our final song choice this week. “The Captain” was written and performed by the Australian singer songwriter Kasey Chambers from her 2000 debut album of the same name. Chambers comes from a musical family tree. Her parents raised Kasey and her brother out in the Australian wilderness, where she learned guitar and absorbed her parent’s love of country music. When the family eventually moved back to civilization, they formed the Dead Ringer Band which was highly successful in Australia, selling many records and earning multiple ARIA awards, which are Australia’s Grammy.

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