You may or may not agree that The Sopranos is the greatest piece of art ever created for television. But even if you don’t, you can surely concur that it has one of the finest opening credits sequences ever. It’s a very simple concept – Tony Soprano (played with sublime subtlety and nuance by the much missed James Gandolfini) is driving home from New York to his home in New Jersey, with the camera taking in various landmarks along the way. It’s beautifully edited, but what makes it so memorable is the pulsating soundtrack, the growling, harmonica-stabbed Woke Up This Morning by Alabama 3. (Incidentally, discovering that Alabama 3 were English was as astounding to me as when I learned, after three series of The Wire, that Idris Elba was a Londoner.)
I picked up La Peste to see whether the rest of their work has the same earthy, hypnotic quality, or whether it is simply by association with The Sopranos that I find Woke Up This Morning so memorable. So far, it’s looking like the latter.