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|"Woke Up This Morning"|
|Single by Alabama 3|
|from the album Exile on Coldharbour Lane|
|Genre||Electronica, acid jazz, trip hop|
4:05 (Chosen One Mix)
|Label||One Little Indian|
|Alabama 3 singles chronology|
"Woke Up This Morning" is a song by English band Alabama 3 from their 1997 album Exile on Coldharbour Lane. The song is best known as the opening theme music for the popular HBO drama series The Sopranos which used the "Chosen One Mix" of the song.
Background and writing
Described as "a propulsive hip-hop song complete with Howlin' Wolf samples and a swelling gospel choir", the song has been cited as a paradigmatic example of a "great theme song", which "generates anticipation, immediately puts the viewer in a focused frame of mind, and creates the kind of sonic familiarity that breeds audience loyalty." Alabama 3 frontman Rob Spragg wrote the song after hearing about the 1996 murder case of Sara Thornton, who stabbed her husband after two years of abuse, mistreatment and neglect. The song is co-written with Piers Marsh, Simon Edwards and Jake Black.
"We started with a Howlin' Wolf loop, but a lot of blues lyrics are quite misogynist," Spragg observed. "So I turned it round to be about a woman who's had enough and gets a gun – it's quite ironic that it's become a New Jersey gangster anthem."
The song is in 4/4 time and in the key of F minor. It uses combinations of other styles such as techno and blues. During the breakdown, there's an electronic chord progression in F major while the lyrics' melodic line is in F minor. It fades out with the electric chord progression in the tonic major.
Use in other media
- A remixed version of "Woke Up This Morning" plays during the opening credits of the HBO television series The Sopranos. "Since it's been on The Sopranos," Spragg remarked, "we've met some nice men in Armani suits with fat hands and eaten some nice Italian food. But we're very happy to be associated with a programme of that calibre. While in no way endorsing the use of guns in any fetishistic manner, obviously." (On the Region 4 DVD release of season one of the Sopranos, the music video to "Woke Up This Morning" is included as a special feature: it is incorrectly credited as being performed by "Alabama 5".)
- A shortened alternate version of "Woke Up This Morning" can be heard for nearly 50 seconds in The Simpsons episode "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", while Fat Tony and his gang are on the ride to the Simpsons' house. The sequence is a parody of the opening sequence of The Sopranos. "Woke Up This Morning" is also heard in the later Simpsons episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", which guest-starred Sopranos regulars Michael Imperioli and Joe Pantoliano.
- Rapper Nas sampled "Woke Up This Morning" for his 2001 hit "Got Ur Self A...."
- "Woke Up This Morning" was used in an episode of the BBC series Top Gear, in which the team were driving through Florida.
- "Woke Up This Morning" was used in the episode "Ghosts" (season 2, episode 8) of the Netflix series Lilyhammer, in which Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) and his Norwegian crew are driving through New York City.
- The song is parodied in the episode "The Dabba Don" of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, which parodies various mob stereotypes, including The Sopranos, using The Flintstones.
- Jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti has a rendition of "Woke Up This Morning'" on his album Lucky to Be Me.
- Arturo Gatti used the song for his ring entrance in his fight against Oscar De La Hoya
- Murray Smith, "Just What Is It That Makes Tony Soprano Such An Appealing, Attractive Murderer", in Ward E. Jones and Samantha Vice, eds., Ethics at the Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2010), ISBN 978-0199793167, p. 78. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Ron Sobel and Dick Weissman, Music Publishing: The Roadmap to Royalties (Routledge, 2008), ISBN 978-0203895689, p. 101. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Duncan Campbell, "Face off", The Guardian, September 27, 2007.
- David Johannson, "Homeward Bound" Those Soprano Titles Come Heavy", in David Lavery, ed., Reading The Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO (I.B. Tauris, 2006), ISBN 978-1845111212, pp. 35-36. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Q, May 2001
- Q, May 2001
- Gerard Gilbert, "TV credit where credits are due", The Independent, June 14, 2011.