Category Archives: Film / Tv / Theater Review

Song of the Day #1990

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Overture”) [YouTube link] first appeared on a classic 1960 album of jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky‘s “The Nutcracker“, by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra (arranged by the Duke and Billy Strayhorn). It is featured in Season 5, Episode 7 (“Say My Name”) of BB, which debuted on August 26, 2012.

Song of the Day #1989

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“On a Clear Day”), music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, was first heard in the 1965 musical, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever“, and in its 1970 film adaptation, where it was sung by Barbra Streisand [YouTube link]. A rendition by the jazz/soul trio, The Peddlers, appeared on their 1968 album, “Three in a Cell“. That rendition is heard in Season 5, Episode 3 (“Hazard Pay”) of BB, which debuted on July 20, 2012. Check out the full BB scene and montage featuring that rendition [YouTube link].

Song of the Day #1988

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Freestyle”) [YouTube performance clip], composed and performed by the Taalbi Brothers. It is heard in the finale to Season 4, Episode 13 of BB, which debuted on October 9, 2011. For those who know the content of this episode, its title “Face Off” will be of no surprise, but what might be surprising is that two teenage boys provide the nice flamenco guitar licks on this track! Check the ‘destroying the lab’ BB clip that highlights this rousing recording [YouTube link].

Song of the Day #1987

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Crickets Sing for Anamaria”), composed by brothers Marcos Valle and Paulo Sergio Valle, was first heard as “Os Grilos” on Valle’s 1967 album, “Braziliance”. It was also recorded by Astrud Gilberto [YouTube link] with English lyrics by Ray Gilbert. Season 4, Episode 8 (“Hermanos”) of BB, which debuted on September 4, 2011, features a bouncy instrumental version by organist Walter Wanderly [YouTube link] from his 1967 album, “Batacuda“.

Song of the Day #1986

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Digital Animal”), is credited to a host of writers, including Jon Von Letscher, first appeared on the 2008 debut album of the electronic hip hop band, Honey Claws. It can be heard loud and clear from the sound system of Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) in Season 4, Episode 2 (“Thirty-Eight Snub”) of “BB“, which debuted on July 24, 2011. Check out the original recording and the BB scene in which it is featured [YouTube links].

Song of the Day #1985

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Lee”) [YouTube link], composed by jazz guitarist Jimmy Raney, is heard as source music in a recording by jazz tenor sax legend Stan Getz in Season 3, Episode 11 (“Abiquiu”) of BB, which debuted on May 30, 2010. The song appears on the 1953 album, “Jimmy Raney Plays,” featuring Raney on guitar and Hal Overton on piano.

Song of the Day #1984

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“Ginza Samba”) [YouTube link], composed and performed by the wonderful Vince Guaraldi, is heard in Season 3, Episode 6 (“Sunset”) of BB, which debuted on April 25, 2010. The song originally appeared on the 1965 album, “From All Sides“, a collaboration between pianist Guaraldi and Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete. It’s got that classic “Peanuts” feel, even though it’s used during a Meth Cooking scene [YouTube link] that is about as far a cry from Charlie Brown and Snoopy as one can get.

Song of the Day #1983

Song of the Day: Breaking Bad (“The Ballad of Heisenberg”), words and music by Jose “Pepe” Garza and Vince Gilligan, is one of those hilarious musical moments featured in Season 2, Episode 7 (“Negro y Azul”) of BB, which debuted on April 19, 2009. Performed by the regional Mexican band Los Cuates de Sinaloa, check out this song on YouTube

Breaking Bad Franchise Music Tribute / Song of the Day #1982

I have made no secret of my love for the “Breaking Bad” (BB) universe, as I said back on August 15, 2022, “one of the best written, well-acted, finely-plotted television” franchises in the history of television. The five seasons of BB, its sequel film, “El Calmino” (EC), and its prequel-sequel six-season spin-off, “Better Call Saul,” (BCS), are so well integrated, “such that each is an extension of the other and each could not be what it is in the absence of the other.” When BCS ended its magnificent run, these shows, taken together, express a “dialectical sensibility, both constituting and being shaped by the wider context of which they are a part.”

At the end of BCS, I decided to rewatch the entire franchise again, from the beginning, which only reinforced my appreciation of their organic unity.

What also struck me about this franchise was its music, not just its scoring but also its use of source music in ways that both augmented and reflected the plot lines and themes of its various episodes. Back on May 12, 2022, “Song of the Day #1945” highlighted one such song from Season 6, Episode 5 (“Black and Blue“) of BCS: “Georgy Porgy” (by Toto, with Cheryl Lynn). So, this gave me an idea!

On January 20, 2008, the BB franchise kicked off on AMC with the very first episode of “Breaking Bad.” In honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of this franchise, I decided to set up a playlist of some of my favorite musical selections from the entire franchise, arranged chronologically, from BB’s pilot episode to the BCS finale. The musical palette of both shows has enormous continuity, thus underscoring (no pun intended) their integrated character. My only warning is that many of the selections contain spoilers, so prospective readers proceed with caution!

I will be posting one “Song of the Day” each day, from today, New Year’s Day, January 1, 2023, through January 31, 2023. There are many other songs that I could have noted in this tribute, but since I have never repeated a single song in my nearly 2000 featured “Songs of the Day”, I won’t repeat any tracks that I’ve already selected.  (And once this Fifteenth Anniversary tribute is done, my Nineteenth Annual Film Music February Festival will commence.)

Today, we start at the start. Happy New Year and enjoy!

Song of the Day #1982: Breaking Bad (“Main Theme”) [YouTube link], composed by Dave Porter, made its debut in the “Pilot” episode of “Breaking Bad” (Season 1, Episode 1)—the Vince Gilligan-created series, starring the superb Bryan Cranston as Walter White. This AMC landmark television series premiered on January 20, 2008, and this is our first of 31 tracks to mark the Fifteenth Anniversary of both “Breaking Bad” and the franchise it inspired.