"When The Sopranos’ creator David Chase was hand-selecting the music for his celebrated show, he had an epiphany -- real life doesn’t have a perfect soundtrack. “The songs can’t all be good, because life isn’t like that,” he told Noisey in 2015. “I’ve seen people [in TV] do this, where every song is a cool song. It takes you out of the moment.”
This reverence for all kinds of music is the beating heart of The Sopranos. Twenty years ago this Thursday (Jan. 10) marks the premiere of the show’s pilot episode, introducing the world to New Jersey mob leader Tony Soprano’s crime family and abode -- as well as cuts from Annie Lennox, Bo Diddley, Sting and Nick Lowe.
The Sopranos’ musicality begins with Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen’s longtime guitarist who plays consigliere Silvio Dante on the show. Back in 1999, Van Zandt had no prior acting experience, but he aced the audition for other reasons. “There was something about the E Street Band that looked like a crew,” Chase remembered.
From that casting choice, Chase went on to loosely handpick music that Tony -- a New Jersey dad in his 40s -- would have enjoyed in his youth or young adulthood. But on The Sopranos, rules were made to be broken. Binge the series from front to back, and you’re treated to a mini-history of 20th century music."
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