Friday Top Ten: A Tribute to Breaking Bad
For today’s Friday Top Ten playlist, I’m paying tribute to the final eight episodes of one of the truly great television shows ever, Breaking Bad. (This should come as no surprise to you if you’ve ever read this space before.) Before I start though, you may notice that the DONATE link on the top right corner of this page is live again, which means that I’m once again raising money for the National MS Society through the Bike MS: The Citrus Tour ride, taking place April 12-13, 2014. That seems like a long way off, but the time goes rather quickly, so any contribution you can make to help me reach my fundraising goal of $2500 is of course greatly appreciated. I’m trying to come up with some different fundraising ideas this year, so if you have any ideas on that front I’d be forever in your debt for your help on that front as well. Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.
As you might imagine, this list has a slight country bias to it, since most of the great songs about murder, darkness, and the dark side of human nature come from that genre. These are songs of formerly good people driven who “broke bad” in response to heartbreak, pressure, or the desire for good old fashion revenge. Here are my favorites, in no particular order. Some of these have actually appeared during episodes of Breaking Bad, so have not. And I can’t believe I couldn’t find room for a Kenny Rogers song or Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot on this list. Doh!:
LA County – Lyle Lovett: A spurned lover makes a road trip from Texas to LA to attend the wedding of his former lover with “an old friend” at his side. Old West justice ensues.
Goin’ Down – The Monkees: Breaking Bad hit two absolute home runs soundtracking their peerless montage scenes in the first half of season 5. This was the first – a manic, jazzy tune played over the scene where Walt teaches Todd how to cook.
Don’t Take Your Guns to Town – Johnny Cash: I could have probably filled this playlist exclusively with Johnny Cash songs and been happy with the result, but I limited myself to just two. In this one, a brash young man’s pride leads him to ignore worried momma’s advice. He took his guns to town, only to find out the hard way that he wasn’t as quick of a draw as he thought.
I Killed Sally’s Lover – The Avett Brothers: A raucous warning for anyone who seeks revenge on a cheating lover by killin’: you’ll hang or rot in jail, and she’ll just find another lover.
Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts – Bob Dylan: A old West tour de force told only as Dylan could. Basically, this is an episode of Deadwood condensed to one brilliant song.
A Good Idea – Sugar: A trip “down to the river, on a warm summer night” turns sinister.
In the Jailhouse Now – The Soggy Bottom Boys: From the brilliant Cohen brother’s movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? A classic, traditional tale of ending up on the wrong side of the law. Ramblin’ Bob isn’t as clever as he thinks.
Candy Everybody Wants – 10,000 Maniacs: No real reason for this song to be here, other than the fact that it appeared in a season 1 episode and I really love it. My list, my rules.
Deila’s Gone – Johnny Cash: You could have had poor Deila for a wife, if only you hadn’t shot her. Twice. She’s not going to take it lying down though, she’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life in prison.
Crystal Blue Persuasion – Tommy James & The Shondells: When the first notes of this song started to play over the brilliant montage in the last episode that aired, I literally shouted out loud (SOL’d?). In retrospect this song was so perfect for Breaking Bad that the creators must have been saving it for something special, and they absolutely nailed it.
Here’s the playlist in Spotify form:
So many great tunes fit the bill for this theme. Which ones did I miss? And keep those theme ideas coming, I’ve got some good ones lined up thanks to your suggestions.
Roll on Sunday night!