What Is ‘The Sopranos’ Theme Song?

If you’re a fan of gangster and mob movies like Scarface and The Godfather, you’ve likely already gotten your hands on The Sopranos. If not, the TV show should be next on your list. It’s the classic of all classics and an award-winner for several reasons, including its absurdly talented cast, authentic representation, and outstanding cinematography. Even the iconic show’s theme song has an unforgettable backstory you’ll want to hear about.  

Actor Tony Sirrico posing with NYPD officers
Tony Sirrico | Peter Kramer/Getty Images

‘The Sopranos’ is considered one of the greatest shows of all time

The Sopranos was the late ’90s/ early 2000s crime show that followed Tony Soprano, his family, and his ‘crime family.’ The thrilling series covers his struggles with being a criminal organization leader and the consequential violence, affairs, betrayals, deaths, power struggles, and much more that comes with it. In fact, the conflict is so real for the shows leading man that he has to seek professional help from a psychiatric counselor to work through his personal and professional issues. 

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In light of talks of a prequel in 2021, Highsnobiety explains that The Sopranos is considered the greatest show of all time because it “not only holds up, it’s aged with the grace and full-body [nature] of cask-strength bourbon.” Meaning it not only warranted high praise and reviews at the time of its premiere but continued to grow in authenticity and value since. 

The shows theme song and how it fell upon the creator

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Whether you were aware of the band or song in question, you most likely caught yourself singing along to “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3, a time or two. It’s an upbeat intro song that captivates the mood and expression of The Sopranos quite perfectly. 

In fact, with lyrics like, “You woke up this mornin’/ Got yourself a gun/ Your mama always said you’d be the chosen one,” the creators practically had no choice but to add it in. Those three lines alone could have been written for Tony Soprano. Not to mention it goes on to say, “When you woke up this morning/All that love had gone/Your papa never told you/About right and wrong.”

According to Mental Floss, the song was the ideal theme for the violent and criminal mob show, “HBO reportedly offered the band $40,000 to use it for the series. Alabama 3 agreed, but the irony of the song’s origin wasn’t lost on its members.”

The real-life story behind the song ‘Woke Up This Morning’

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The origin of Alabama 3’s song “Woke Up This morning” was not that of a criminal organization leader, but rather one that was supposed to be about female empowerment – far from how we view the concepts on The Sopranos. According to Songfacts, the song is actually about “a case in which a wife finally shot her abusive husband after 20 years. The woman in question is Sara Thornton, who killed her husband in 1989. The song is about female empowerment, not the mob.”

And as it turns out, “The case made headlines in England, where Alabama 3 founder Rob Spragg heard about it and got the idea for the song. He wrote the song with his bandmates Jake Black, Simon Edwards, and Piers Marsh.” It might be surprising the song wasn’t made specifically for The Sopranos, with how closely it fits in. The show honestly couldn’t have picked a better song. What’s better than a theme song with a fascinating backstory to fit an iconic show with a fascinating storyline?