Jump to content

Music in Boardwalk Empire: From Sophie Tucker to Enrico Caruso


  • Please log in to reply

125 replies to this topic

#1

TWoP Howard

TWoP Howard

    TWoP Moderator

Posted Sep 19, 2010 @ 9:40 PM

I heard Sophie Tucker and Caruso at least twice each tonight. We also had Eddie Cantor performing on the stage and at the very end of the show. Sophie Tucker is a memorable singer, and had very interesting material.

#2

IdesOfSmarch

IdesOfSmarch

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 20, 2010 @ 11:52 AM

Anyone know the name of the piece that was played during the hotel lobby scene (where we first see Rothstein & Luciano) and that was also played during the closing credits?

Thanks in advance!
  • 0

#3

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 20, 2010 @ 12:12 PM

I'll have to see the pilot again, but I believe it was "Fascination" both times. Some kick ass 20s music showing up so far in BE- "Japanese Sandman," a personal favorite, also used as a background track along the way.

Yep, I'm an aficionado of early 20th century pop music.
  • 0

#4

IdesOfSmarch

IdesOfSmarch

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 20, 2010 @ 12:34 PM

It was Fascination. Thanks, Boisvert 8!
  • 0

#5

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 20, 2010 @ 1:49 PM

My pleasure, IdesOfSmarch.

Judging from BE's 1st ep, this series should generate some terrific soundtrack CDs.
  • 0

#6

TWoP Howard

TWoP Howard

    TWoP Moderator

Posted Sep 20, 2010 @ 9:07 PM

Oh, yes, Iím looking forward to it, too. What a great variety of music they used just in this episode. Iím disappointed that there isnít anything up on the HBO site about the music in the episode.

#7

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 4:49 AM

When the early 20s tunes used in BE's premiere extend from "Whispering" through "Good Morning, Judge," I am so there on this series.

HBO- plz catch up on your site re: all the great early recordings that BE is using. And any viewers who might think they don't "get" this era, take a listen to their pop music, the stuff everyone was listening to back then. Recorded music was new, exciting, & ubiquitous in places like Atlantic City- a key element in understanding those times, as ours is today.


(edited for clarity)

Edited by Boisvert 8, Sep 21, 2010 @ 11:19 AM.

  • 0

#8

Merrythought

Merrythought

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 2:15 PM

Who sang the song: "I lost my love in Avalon?" That may have been a lyric and not the actual title of the song.
  • 0

#9

clack

clack

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 2:56 PM

Who sang the song: "I lost my love in Avalon?" That may have been a lyric and not the actual title of the song.


Al Jolson. Big hit 1920/21. Song name : 'Avalon'.

Edited by clack, Sep 21, 2010 @ 2:56 PM.

  • 0

#10

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 3:47 PM

Questions were being asked over on the episode thread about the Caruso aria Colissimo was listening to when shot. It's "O Lola" from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni. Quite a counterpoint to the two jarring deaths it played over.
  • 0

#11

TWoP Howard

TWoP Howard

    TWoP Moderator

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 6:02 PM

Oh, thank you. I was listening to snippets from some of his albums and hadn’t hit on it yet. I couldn’t get enough of the lyrics to guess at it either.

There isn’t any music for the series up in iTunes, either (as a package, I mean). They did that with Treme, so I was hoping they do it for this show.

Edited by TWoP Howard, Sep 21, 2010 @ 6:06 PM.


#12

clack

clack

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 7:02 PM

Apropos because Caruso and Colosimo were long-time friends.
  • 0

#13

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 7:47 PM

You're very welcome, TWoP Howard. Agree that HBO needs to hurry up & do the same iTunes packaging as with Treme.

Thanks, clack, for the info on the Caruso/Colosimo friendship- that explains the autographed photo on his restaurant wall. Further thanks for the correct spelling on Big Jim's name. Off to look up a bit of background on him...
  • 0

#14

ccridernyc

ccridernyc

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 27, 2010 @ 8:53 AM

I like the opening theme music, but it doesn't seem to fit the series at all. Unless they're going for a timeless ocean thang.
  • 0

#15

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 29, 2010 @ 12:30 PM

During the ep 2 scene in which Arnold Rothstein describes his cruel trick resulting in the death of the cue ball swallower, a slow, almost sultry piano version of Pretty Baby plays on his state-of-the-art Victor phonograph in the background. For the smooth-veneered, deadly Mr. Rothstein, a nice choice to be listening to as he tells his chilling story.

*edited because a friend emailed me a couple corrections, including that Rothstein's Victor record player was a considerable step up (sound-wise & cash-wise) from the Vic gramophone I originally thought it was. Using Mathematician's calculations over on the ep 2 thread, Rothstein's phonograph (with record cabinet) would cost approx. $2000 today.



*Looking forward to 2nd viewing of this ep. Thx for the emails & info, Craig V.

Edited by Boisvert 8, Sep 29, 2010 @ 9:12 PM.

  • 0

#16

ThatGrrl

ThatGrrl

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 29, 2010 @ 9:06 PM

I like the opening theme music, but it doesn't seem to fit the series at all. Unless they're going for a timeless ocean thang.

Who is responsible for the opening credit music? It doesn't fit, granted, but I sort of like it. Just curious if anyone knew. Searching the interwebs seems to not be working for me.
  • 0

#17

tsumitobatsu

tsumitobatsu

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Oct 1, 2010 @ 3:53 AM

someone on Tumblr posted it - The Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Straight Up And Down"
  • 0

#18

bmsartre

bmsartre

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Oct 3, 2010 @ 8:34 PM

Hi! I'm usually over at the Mad Men forums.

When I watched the first two episodes of this show yesterday and saw Eddie Cantor, I knew exactly where the writers got their material for him. Watch this, made in 1923 as a test in New York City on West 14th Street. It was the then-new sound-on-film process Hollywood uses today.
  • 0

#19

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Oct 4, 2010 @ 1:40 AM

Hey thanks, bmsartre- interesting Cantor clip. Eddie Cantor is an acquired taste that I've never managed to acquire, but his appearances in BE certainly fit the period nicely. The actor playing Cantor, Stephen DeRosa, is doing a terrific job of it.

On the music front, judging from Ep 1 & now Ep 3 of Boardwalk, Arnold Rothstein's marathon gambling binges have their own theme- Paul Whiteman's big 1920 hit, The Japanese Sandman.

Edited by Boisvert 8, Oct 4, 2010 @ 1:45 AM.

  • 0

#20

tsumitobatsu

tsumitobatsu

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Oct 4, 2010 @ 3:55 AM

I think this counts as soundtrack: I really liked the war-drum like theme towards the end.
  • 0

#21

alben1

alben1

    Just Tuned In

Posted Oct 5, 2010 @ 12:12 PM

In episode one during the meeting of mob representatives Colosimo asks for some Caruso to be played. Someone puts on a record...a duet featuring Caruso and some basso. It's heard very faintly until the last eight or so measures when you can hear it a little more clearly . I'm reasonably knowledgable about opera but I couldn't recognize it for the life of me. Anyone figure it out?
  • 0

#22

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Oct 6, 2010 @ 9:13 AM

alben1,

Very hard to hear it, agreed, but I believe it's this:

CRUCIFIX by Faure. Duet: Enrico CARUSO & Marcel JOURNET. Recorded in 1908
  • 0

#23

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Oct 10, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

Interesting music choices for Margaret Schroeder's signature themes in Ep 4- Alice Blue Gown, My Wild Irish Rose, Pretty Kitty Kelly. BE is really pouring on the "good girl" innocent tunes every time Margaret appears. Being of a suspicious nature, I can't help but wonder why. Is this representative of Nucky's vision of her? Margaret's vision of herself? A useful front she presents to the world?

The lovely, virtuous, & humble Mrs. Schroeder is imo turning rapidly into quite a woman of contrasts: hard working Irish lass with nerve enough to stand up to ignorant, condescending politicians, doting young mother who also impulsively steals teddy lingerie.

I'm on the fence if Margaret's theme music in Ep 4 is meant to reveal her character or conceal it. Either way, it's no wonder Nucky's fascinated by her.
  • 0

#24

Contralto

Contralto

    Fanatic

Posted Oct 17, 2010 @ 9:12 PM

"Wall Street Rag" was playing while Jimmy told Pearl about rich Mr. Lancaster.
  • 0

#25

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Oct 18, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

It was nice indeed to hear some Joplin being played on BE- Wall Street Rag's melancholy tone certainly fit the scene. Solace might have been a nice choice also, but too closely associated with The Sting, perhaps.

Liked that the music seems to waft into the bedroom from the bar downstairs. A dirge being played on the joy house piano for sad, disfigured Pearl.

ETA- another Scott Joplin piece played under the 1st Jimmy/Pearl orange juice squeezing scene. Finally placed it- the lovely Magnetic Rag.

Edited by Boisvert 8, Oct 18, 2010 @ 12:04 PM.

  • 0

#26

Contralto

Contralto

    Fanatic

Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 9:15 PM

More Joplin tonight -- "Palm Leaf Rag" near the end of the first bordello scene, and "Maple Leaf Rag" for the moving scene.
  • 0

#27

Boisvert 8

Boisvert 8

    Video Archivist

Posted Oct 25, 2010 @ 7:51 AM

Great use of a speeded up dance band version of Maple Leaf Rag. Joplin's rags aren't meant to be played fast (as he repeatedly admonished on much of his sheet music) but this tempo fit the move scene segue perfectly, from Margaret's "I quit!" to the hasty two-suitcase trip to new digs.

ETA- another evocative tune by one of ragtime's Big Three (Joplin, Scott, Lamb) playing under scene where Jimmy finds Pearl's love note- can't quite place it, though sounds familiar.* Maybe it's even early Ferdinand Morton. Some help on that one, anybody?

*Got the 1st one- it's Joplin's A Real Slow Drag, which was also heard in the R. Crumb documentary. Had to resort to the HBO site for name of 2nd piece: Joe Jordan's Whippoorwhill Dance.

Edited by Boisvert 8, Oct 26, 2010 @ 1:39 AM.

  • 0

#28

Contralto

Contralto

    Fanatic

Posted Oct 31, 2010 @ 9:16 PM

"Carolina Shout" by James P. Johnson was playing at Chalky's club.
  • 0

#29

thebigchill

thebigchill

    Couch Potato

Posted Oct 31, 2010 @ 10:18 PM

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Straight Up And Down"

Thanks for the info on this song. This may sound ridiculous (or rehashed), but from the beginning of the series all I can hear in my head is Donovan's Season of the Witch. Is it borrowing from it, are they just similar, do I have a weird ear?
  • 0

#30

mswyrr

mswyrr

    Couch Potato

Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 4:12 AM

We finally got to hear Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues! Yay! I wonder if the actress singing it in the club was meant to be Mamie or a local singer doing the song? That song was a big hit in 1920. Its success encouraged recording companies to take up African American artists, in particular female Vaudeville Blues singers. But other performers like the famous Robert Johnson were picked up in part because of it and the market its success revealed.

Edited by mswyrr, Nov 1, 2010 @ 4:14 AM.

  • 0