Woke Up This Morning

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"Woke Up This Morning"
Single by Alabama 3
from the album Exile on Coldharbour Lane
Released June 1997
Format CD single
Recorded 1997
Genre Electronica, acid jazz, trip hop
Length 4:14
4:05 (Chosen One Mix)
Label One Little Indian
Writer(s) Jake Black
Rob Spragg
Producer(s) Alabama 3
Alabama 3 singles chronology
"Ain't Going to Goa"
(1996)
"Woke Up This Morning"
(1997)
"Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"
(1997)

"Woke Up This Morning" is a song by English band Alabama 3 from their 1997 album Exile on Coldharbour Lane. The song was used as the opening theme music for the HBO drama series The Sopranos which used the "Chosen One Mix".[citation needed]

Background and writing[edit]

Described as "a propulsive hip-hop song complete with Howlin' Wolf samples and a swelling gospel choir",[1] 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."[2] Alabama 3 frontman Rob Spragg wrote the song after hearing about the 1996 murder case of Sara Thornton,[3] who stabbed her husband after 2 years of abuse, mistreatment and neglect.[4] The song is co-written with Jake Black.

Musical structure[edit]

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[edit]

  • A remixed version of "Woke Up This Morning" plays during the opening credits of the HBO television series The Sopranos.
    • 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.[5] "Woke Up This Morning" is also 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 The Dabba Don episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, which itself parodies various mob stereotypes, including the Sopranos, and the Flintstones.
  • Jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti has a rendition of 'Woke Up This Morning' on his 'Lucky to Be Me' CD.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Ron Sobel and Dick Weissman, Music Publishing: The Roadmap to Royalties (Routledge, 2008), ISBN 978-0203895689, p. 101. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  3. ^ Duncan Campbell, "Face off", The Guardian, September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Gerard Gilbert, "TV credit where credits are due", The Independent, June 14, 2011.