Tag Archives: HBO

Six Feet Under Theme Song

Great show with a great opening theme—as with most HBO originals.

The theme from Six Feet Under is the work of one of the most recognized American film composers, Thomas Newman. He has had multiple Academy Award nominations, ten in total, but has yet to win one. Examples of his nominated works include the scores for the films Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption, which were both nominated in 1994.

Now, the theme is officially entitled “Six Feet Under Title Theme”. The album version—from the first of two soundtracks—lasts 1 minute and 36 seconds, which is exactly what you get in the title sequence. However, in the same disc, two remixes (longer ones at that) were added.

The first is called the “Rae & Christian Remix”, after the British production duo Rae & Christian, comprised of Mark Rae and DJ Steve Christian. Below is their take on the song—version taken from the soundtrack.

The other remix is called the “Photek Remix”. After some snooping around, I found out that Photek is the artist name of Rupert Parkes, another British, who is a producer and a DJ. Below is his rendition of the song (as it appears in the album).

I think I like the Photek version more.

So, what else? Well, “Six Feet Under Title Theme” is an award-winning song. In 2002 it won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, besting the titles from the likes of Justice League (cartoons) and the short-lived Wolf Lake. And, in 2003, it won two Grammy Awards namely Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement—remember that these awards are not only limited to film and television music.

So I guess that’s it for this one. So, without further ado, I give you the theme. (Below are two versions of the opening sequence—one has the names of the stars but I’m not sure what’s the story behind it or when the change happened.)

How to Make It in America Theme Song

2010-present

Another HBO original you should check out, especially if you like Shannyn Sossamon.

Alright, proper titles, and proper, proper theme song on this one. The opening theme for How to Make It in America is a song entitled “I Need a Dollar” (quite obvious, isn’t it?). It is by American soul and hip hop singer Aloe Blacc (yes, that’s his name). Mr. Blacc has actually been around for quite some time now, but I think this is his biggest claim to fame. Excellent song though. (But why does it feel like a cover to me?).

Song is actually credited to the following composers: Leon Michels, Nathaniel Hawkins, Nick Movshon, and Jeff Dynamite. And, it is part of Aloe Blacc’s 2010 release (and secold full-length) Good Things.

The full/album version of the song lasts 4:04. Here is the direct (and legal) download link.

Below is the official video of “I Need a Dollar”.

And the lyrics (full version).

How to Make It in America theme song lyrics

I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
And I said I need dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
And if I share with you my story would you share your dollar with me

Bad times are comin’ and I reap what I don’t sow
(Hey hey)
Well let me tell you somthin’ all that glitters ain’t gold
(Hey hey)
It’s been a long old trouble long old troublesome road
And I’m looking for somebody come and help me carry this load

I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
Well I don’t know if I’m walking on solid ground
Cause everything around me is falling down
And all I want is for someone to help me

I had a job but the boss man let me go
(He said)
I’m sorry but I won’t be needing your help no more
(I said)
Please mister boss man I need this job more than you know
But he gave me my last paycheck and he sent me on out the door

Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
Said I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
And I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
And if I share with you my story would you share your dollar with me
Well i don’t know if I’m walking on solid ground
Cause everything around me is crumbling down
And all I want is for someone to help me

What in the world am I gonna do tomorrow
Is there someone whose dollar that I can borrow
Who can help me take away my sorrow
Maybe it’s inside the bottle
(Maybe it’s inside the bottle)
I had some good old buddy his names is whiskey and wine
(Hey hey)
And for my good old buddy i spent my last dime
(Hey hey)
My wine is good to me it helps me pass the time
and my good old buddy whiskey keeps me warmer than the sunshine
(Hey hey)
Your mama may have, bless the child that’s got his own
(Hey hey)
if god has plans for me i hope it ain’t written in stone
(Hey hey)
because I’ve been working working myself down to the bone
and i swear on grandpa’s grave I’ll be paid when i come home
(Hey hey)

Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
Said need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
(Hey hey)
Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need hey hey
And if I share with you my story would you share your dollar with me
come on share your dollar with me
go ahead share your dollar with me
come on share your dollar give me your dollar
share your dollar with me
come on share your dollar with me

Below is another music-only video of the song because the official video transitions into this weird song/scene.

And finally, below is the official opening sequence.

That’s about it!

Game of Thrones Theme Song

2011

This show will definitely rule.

So, what do you think? Premiere was shown just last Sunday so I guess it’s too early to judge. But expectations are definitely high for this one.

Good thing about HBO though is they know just how to promote their originals “just right.” Like the video below for example—uploaded by the official HBO channel—which is one of the first results you get when you search.

It does not get more official than this. Below is the opening sequence (and theme song) of Game of Thrones.

Cool,  right?

Series original music was tasked to Ramin Djawadi, composer extraordinaire. Although just to be careful—and because our only concern is the opening theme—I still have not found a reference that credits him for the main titles (yes, it’s possible it might be a different composer), but I’ve written enough about theme songs to bet that he composed the titles as well.

So far, we have credited Mr. Djawadi for the themes of Prison Break and FlashForward—two excellently-scored shows.

That’s it for now. Show is really young but at least we have some information already. As always, will update this post when something new surfaces.

The Pacific Theme Song

2010

Alright, so The Pacific is a sister show (whatever that means) to the mega-successful Band of Brothers from 2001. It was an epic show, so it had an epic theme song as well.

The song is entitled “Honor”. As per the original soundtrack, it is officially credited as “Honor (Main Title Theme From The Pacific)” and lasts 2 minutes and 56 seconds—same length as the opening sequence, so no full/album version.

Music for the miniseries was done by the team of Blake Neely, Geoff Zanelli and Hans Zimmer. Now, that is an impressive team. Trust me. But, if you don’t know why, here are some of their credentials:

Blake Neely – Nominated for an Emmy for the theme from Everwood.
Geoff Zanelli – Won an Emmy for scoring Into the West.
Hans Zimmer – You don’t know Hans Zimmer? He probably only won like a bazillion awards, including the Oscar for The Lion King. He also worked for The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.

Now, as hinted earlier, the franchise has also released an official soundtrack—March 2010. It contains 20 plus songs, all original scores for the series. It also includes the also-nice end title theme entitled “With The Old Breed” (video below).

Alright, on to the vids.

First, the original opening sequence/titles.

That sequence was also nominated in 2010 for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design.

Next, a better-audio-quality version of the opening theme (“Honor”).

Then the end title theme (“With The Old Breed”).

Bored to Death Theme Song

2009-present

The show’s creator’s name is also Jonathan Ames. You’d get that if you are a true fan.

So, if you know Jason Schwartzman, you would know that he is an all-around musician. He was the drummer of the band Phantom Planet, who performed the theme song for The O.C. entitled “California”. He has since left the band and now moonlights as Coconut Records—yes that’s what he wants to be called for his solo indie-pop project.

Now, obviously, the theme song for his new show Bored to Death was done by him, I mean by Coconut Records.

The franchise has already released an official soundtrack (September 2010). It of course contains the theme, where it lasts an official/extended 1:57 (but it contains a short dialogue from the series in the end).

Below is the theme as heard from the soundtrack.

And below the full-version lyrics.

Bored to Death theme song lyrics

All the shadows in the city
Used to love ya, what a pity
I miss the questions you used to ask me
All the shadows in the city
All the shadows in the city
Alright

Bored to death, plus expenses
The only trouble is my sentence
You said you’d never love another

Russian doll, one inside the other
Russian doll, one inside the other

Bored to death, cut, mad and lonely
Bored to death, cut, mad and lonely
Bored to death, cut, mad and lonely

Now finally, the famed opening sequence.

So really, the theme song edit in the intro is just the first and last 3 lines of the song.

Carnivàle Theme Song

2003–2005

And to quote a fan comment from some Carnivàle article, “HBO sucks for not continuing this genius show.” Could not have said it any better.

The instrumental theme song from Carnivàle is by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Collaboratively, they are known as the Wendy & Lisa duo. In the television music circle, they are known for their work on Heroes and Nurse Jackie—for which they won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2010. Both of them were also part of Prince’s The Revolution band in the eighties.

But there’s more. Not that it’s a big deal, but both had admitted they were in lesbian relationship with each other. This is them in 2010.

The song is part of the official soundtrack of the series, released under Varèse Sarabande on December 7, 2004, where it is listed as “Carnivàle Main Title Theme” and lasts 1:26 (same as in intro sequence). The disc includes other original scores by official series composer Jeff Beal.

Below is the theme in all its 1:26 glory (better audio quality than next video). No, it was not composed by Jeff Beal.

Below is the official opening sequence of Carnivale. Additionally, this really-good sequence was created by visual effects firm A52. It won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design in 2004.

Deadwood Theme Song

2004–2006

Let’s go David Schwartz all the way today.

Well, so I guess that’s it. Deadwood, that American Western drama series set in the 1800s, had its opening theme song composed by David Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz also happens to be the subject of our last two posts—Northern Exposure theme and Arrested Development theme.

The theme song was nominated in 2004 for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. However, it lost to the theme from Monk (composed by Randy Newman).

While the opening song remained constant, the closing credits featured a different song in each episode. Most of the songs used in the closings can be seen in the official soundtrack. The soundtrack of course also has the opening song, credited as “Theme From Deadwood”, and lasts 1:34—same in each opening (no full/extended version).

Below is the epic opening credits.

The Wire Theme Song

2002–2008

I just love the theme song concept they came up with in this one.

If you are a true The Wire fan, you would know that each season had a different version of the theme tune, sung by a different group or artist. Yes, the song stays the same. The song is entitled “Way Down in the Hole”. It was written and originally recorded by American artist Tom Waits; it is part of his 1987 release Franks Wild Years.

As for each season’s version and a little something about it, see below.

Season 1 by The Blind Boys of Alabama

The rendition in season one of “Way Down in the Hole” is by the gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama. Yes, they are blind. They have been around since 1939, and yes of course, their lineup has changed. They covered “Way Down in the Hole” and included it in their 2001-release Spirit of the Century. Their version also made it in the series finale being played over a montage. Below is the opening credits of season one.

Season 2 by Tom Waits

The second season sees Tom Waits’ original recording of “Way Down in the Hole” as the theme tune to The Wire. As previously mentioned, it is part of his album Franks Wild Years. Below is the opening sequence of season two.

Season 3 by The Neville Brothers

Season three’s rendition is by New Orleans, Louisiana-based soul group The Neville Brothers. As of this time I do not know if they included it in an album/official release. Some help, maybe? Below is the third season’s opening credits.

Season 4 by DoMaJe

DoMaJe is said to be a collaboration between cast members. This version was recorded and arranged specifically for the show. The vocalists in the recording are Baltimore teenagers Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse. Below is season 4′s intro.

Season 5 by Steve Earle

The fifth and final season’s theme rendition is by American country music artist Steve Earle. His version is part of his 2007 release Washington Square Serenade. Steve is also a member of the cast—he plays the recovering drug addict Walon. Below is the intro for season five.

The Wire theme song lyrics

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
If you walk with Jesus
He’s gonna save your soul
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole
He’s got the fire and the fury
At his command
Well you don’t have to worry
If you hold on to Jesus hand
We’ll all be safe from Satan
When the thunder rolls
Just gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole
All the angels sing about Jesus’ mighty sword
And they’ll shield you with their wings
And keep you close to the lord
Don’t pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole

So, which one is your favorite?

P.S. I guess it is also relevant to note the ending theme—entitled “The Fall”, composed by Blake Leyh, the show’s music supervisor.

Boardwalk Empire Theme Song

2010-present

We are still on HBO shows, and this one, damn, what a powerhouse cast and crew.

It is said that the first episode of Boardwalk Empire—the one directed by Martin Scorsese—was the most expensive pilot episode produced in television history. Just a tidbit you might be interested in.

Anyway, like all else, we are here for its theme song. As I have said, all HBO shows have sick sequences and theme songs, and this one is no exception. The theme song from Boardwalk Empire is officially entitled “Straight Up and Down”, and its full version has lyrics. It is by the band The Brian Jonestown Massacre (led by Anton Newcombe); they are San Francisco-based and have been around since the early nineties.

The song has been in a number of albums but is originally from their 1996 release Take It from the Man! In fact in that album it appears twice, first as a 4:30-long song and then as an 11:07-long extended version (last track). “Straight Up and Down” also appears in the 1996 compilation The Diane Perry Tape and in the 2004 best-of Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective.

Below is the official opening sequence of the show.

Below is the album/full version of the Boardwalk Empire theme song.

Treme Theme Song

2010-present

HBO never fails to come up with cool theme song slash opening sequences for its shows. And Treme is one of the newest examples for such.

And it should, as the show is musician-centered. The theme song for Treme is officially known as “Treme Song”. It is by a real-life New Orleans, Louisiana singer John Boutté. “Treme Song” was not made for the show as it came first—as we all know, Tremé is a real neighborhood in New Orleans. The song is originally part of Boutté’s 2003-release Jambalaya.

The franchise has also already released (as expected) an official soundtrack for the series’ first season. Treme: Music From the HBO Original Series, Season 1 was released under Geffen Records on September 28, 2010. It contains 19 songs—including of course “Treme Song” in a show-edit 1:43-second version—and has received two Grammy nominations. (“Treme Song” from Jambalaya lasts 4:23.)

Below is the original opening sequence.

Below is the full version.

Treme theme song lyrics

Album version/complete.

Hangin’ in the Treme
Watchin’ people sashay
Past my steps
By my porch
In front of my door

Church bells are ringin’
Choirs are singing
While the preachers groan
And the sisters moan
In a blessed tone

Down in the Treme
Just me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Down in the Treme
Is me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Trumpet bells ringing
Bass drum is swinging
As the trombone groans
And the big horn moans
And there’s a saxophone

Down in the Treme
Is me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Hangin’ in the Treme
Watchin’ people sashay
Past my steps
By my porch
In front of my door

Church bells are ringin’
Choirs are singing
While the preachers groan
And the sisters moan
In a blessed tone

Down in the Treme
Is me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun

Trumpet bells ringing
Bass drum is swinging
As the trombone groans
And the big horn moans
And there’s a saxophone

Down in the Treme
Is me and my baby
We’re all going crazy
While jamming and having fun