Gold musical notes backgroind

My Favorite Songs from The Sopranos on HBO

A dark model toy train is heading around the tracks with smoke surrounding it.
Season 6, Episode 1, "Members Only" - One of Bobby Baccalieri's model trains.

There are so many reasons why The Sopranos is the greatest television show ever, with the musical selection being one of them. Coming from multiple genres and artists large and small, there really is something for everyone. As for me? Read on to learn about my favorite songs from The Sopranos on HBO.

Season 1- Favorite Music on The Sopranos

hesh rabkin is talking to christopher moltisanti while sitting down at the bada bing club.
Hesh is talking to Tony and Christopher about what to do regarding a doctor who owed Hesh $250,000. (S1, E1, "Pilot")

First, one of my favorite songs from The Sopranos appears right in the Pilot with “Fired Up” by Funky Green Dogs. It comes on at The Bada Bing, a topless bar run by Silvio Dante, Tony’s loyal consigliere. Though it wasn’t on The Sopranos where I first heard “Fired Up.” I actually recall hearing it quite often on the radio when I was younger. This was probably right around the time that they shot the Pilot episode, so I suppose that timing makes sense.

"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane - S1, E7, "Down Neck"

S1, E7, "Down Neck" - Flashback to Tony's childhood.

Next, we come to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” This song came on in “Down Neck” (S1, E7)  as Tony begins having flashbacks to his childhood when he discovers what his father does for a living. And did you see the game last night? Joey Pepitone, tree RBIs!

Silvio Dante is trying on a new jacket and looking at himself in the mirror.
Sil checking himself out in the mirror (S2, E1, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office")

After the extraordinary success of season one, The Sopranos season 2 had a hard act to follow. Sure enough, they outdid themselves with the season two opening featuring Frank Sinatra’sIt was a Very Good Year.” I know I speak for many people when I say I think The Sopranos season two is the best season of any television show, period. In any case, this musical opening to season two does NOT disappoint.

"You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" by Johnny Thunders - Season 2, Episode 11, "House Arrest"

Tony, Paulie, Silvio, Big Pussy, and Furio are standing outside of Satriale's talking about Carmine speeding down the street.
Outside of Satriales Pork Store in Season 2, Episode 11, "House Arrest"

Later in season two, one of my favorite songs from The Sopranos—”You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory“—plays at the end of “House Arrest.” What makes this song by Johnny Thunders one of my overall Sopranos favorites is the foreshadowing we see with Tony and Agent Harris making small talk while Big Pussy’s walking back into Satriale’s. It’s those subtle details that make The Sopranos so magnificent.

tony, aj, meadow, and carmela are sitting around the dinner table as tony tells them he just bought a new boat.
Season 2, Episode 13
tony is sitting in the backseat of sil's car as they drive to the dock.

After “You Can’t Put Your Arms Round a Memory,” we arrive at “Free Fallin‘” by Tom Petty in the season two finale, “Funhouse.” The song starts playing as Tony announces to A.J., Meadow, and Carm that he bought a new boat. After Tony breaks the news, Meadow also announces she’ll be attending Columbia University for college. But the most special moment for me here is the instant transition from the kitchen table to Tony waking up in the backseat of Sil’s car right as we hear the word “Freeeee” and the start of the chorus.

In addition to playing in one of the greatest Sopranos episodes, “Free Fallin‘” has personal sentimental value. I remember listening to this song by Tom Petty quite often while on car rides with my dad to travel soccer games and tournaments. 

the ocean Waves crashing into the shore at the end of the Funhouse episode.
The waves crash into the shore in the final moments of the season 2 finale. (S2, E13, "Funhouse")

Next,  “Thru and Thru” by The Rolling Stones in “Funhouse” takes goosebumps to a whole new level. The episode’s final seconds with the drum beat accompanied by Tony’s cigar puff and the majestic ocean waves evokes a feeling that’s impossible to put into words. But as a fellow Sopranos fan, you probably understand exactly what I mean.

"Dirty Work" by Steely Dan - Season 3, Episode 1, "Mr. Ruggiero's Neighborhood."

Tony is driving his car while listening to Dirty Work by Steely Dan.
Tony listening to some good music in the Season 3 premiere - "Dirty Work" by Steely Dan

Here, I can’t exactly explain why, but “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan feels fantastic to turn up and listen to while on a drive. I guess Tony and I have something in common here. For what it’s worth, “Mr. Ruggiero’s Neighborhood” isn’t one of my favorite episodes, but it has its moments, and I include this scene among them.

"Livin' on a Thin Line" by The Kinks - Season 3, Episode 6, "University"

Next, The Sopranos has so many great scene transitions that illustrate how they characters are all “Living on a Thin Line.” It makes sense when considering how “Nothing is separate, everything is connected.” 😉

"Black Books" by Nils Lofgren - Season 3, Episode 7, "Second Opinion"

carmela soprano is sitting outside of Meadow's dorm room until Meadow lets her in.
S3, E7, "Second Opinion"

Speaking of living on a thin line, it’s not just Tony and his crew who have to navigate it. Carmela often thinks about the principle’s she’s sacrificed in order to maintain her “bourgeois” lifestyle as the wife of mob boss Tony Soprano. In “Second Opinion” (S3, E7), we hear “Black Books” by Nils Lofgren while Carmela waits outside Meadow’s dorm to be let in, as well as at the end of the episode when Carmela essentially forces Tony to donate $50,000 to Columbia University in “Sunny Harlem”!

"Eclipse" by Pink Floyd - Season 4, Episode 8, "Mergers and Acquisitions"

Additionally, I really enjoy listening to “Eclipse” by Pink Floyd. For me, the song connects very well with the larger Sopranos themes of identity, purpose, and meaning.

Carmela uis lying down in bed facing away from Tony.
Season 4, Episode 12, "Eloise"

Further, I had actually never heard “Little Bird” by Annie Lennox prior to watching The Sopranos. Better late than never! For some reason, this song always gets me in an upbeat mood, though Carmela was surely far from upbeat while it was playing at the end of “Eloise.” Why the long face on Carmela? Well, it’s because her crush, Furio Giunta. had just gone back to Italy without any warning (at least, I think he went back to Italy?)

cars driving on the highway on a sunny day.
S5, E12, "Long Term Parking"

While this scene truly needs no introduction, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the powerful, heartbreaking feelings that spring to life when I see Sil and Adriana on the car ride to the “hospital.” As we know, it’s not the hospital that’s their destination, but instead, the forest.

Vito Spatafore is taking a picture for a weight loss ad and pulling his old loose pants out.
Season 6, Episode 1, "Members Only"

Ah, Seven Souls, where do I begin? Well, I guess I should start at the first one, Ren, followed by Sekum. In case you weren’t already impressed with The Sopranos for its depth, Seven Souls by William S. Burroughs and Bill Laswell presents another special layer of mystery and intrigue.

carmela soprano is talking to tony by his hospital bed when he is in a coma. She is wearing a light pink top.
S6, E2, "Join The Club"

"Evidently Chickentown" by John Cooper Clarke - Season 6, Episode 14, "Stage 5"

phil leotardo is saying "No more, Butchie."
Season 6, Episode 14, "Stage 5"

Jumping to songs from The Sopranos season 6B, here comes the “Oh sh*t, what’s gonna happen next?” feeling when Evidently Chickentown by John Cooper Clarke comes on. Especially now that we’re deep in season 6 and have no delusions about everything having a happy ending.

christopher moltisanti is fixing a plant right in front of his big house.
Season 6, Episode 17, "Walk Like a Man"

Last but not least for favorite Sopranos songs is “The Valley” by the band Los Lobos. While the picture shown above hardly does it justice, The Valley playing along in this scene perfectly illustrates the tragedy that is Christopher Moltisanti.

Favorite Music on The Sopranos - Conclusion

Finally, these music choices are totally a personal preference. Speaking of, some additional honorable mentions for me include Inside of MeWorld DestructionKentucky Fried FlowRock the CasbahAmerican Girl, and This Magic MomentTruthfully, there are probably at least a couple or three missing here that I’ve temporarily forgotten. If I remember any others, I’ll be sure to update this post. In the meantime, what are some of your picks for greatest music on The Sopranos? Stay in touch and subscribe to Sopranos Blueprint, and here’s the Sopranos Blueprint playlist in case you missed it!

Check out the other Sopranos Blueprint Blog Posts

Read my thoughts on various Sopranos episodes, characters, and themes, and take some Sopranos trivia!
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