Atlantic Records and Warner Brothers Records have teamed up to release the official soundtrack of the new HBO series Vinyl. The first volume was released on February 12, two days before the series premiere on Valentine’s Day. The second volume is expected to be released on April 15, two days before the season finale. Both volumes are expected to be released on vinyl (how fitting).
Vinyl director Martin Scorsese is easily one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. It’s not just his ability to craft and tell a story, or his unique vision, or his fearlessness to never stray from anything dark and controversial, Scorsese really rises above the rest by incorporating music into his projects flawlessly. Whether it’s introducing a character, a love scene, or a couple of wise guys getting whacked, Scorsese always manages to find the perfect sounds that clutch to our emotions. Scorsese is no stranger to the ever evolving music industry, especially with legendary rockumentaries attached to his name like The Last Waltz, Shine A Light, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and George Harrison: Living in the Material World; it is clear he has a finger on the pulse of some prolific music.
Martin has never been shy about projecting his love for the Rolling Stones and he frequently dips into their catalog. Whether it was “Jumping Jack Flash” in Mean Streets when Johnny Boy (DeNiro) is first introduced, as he walks into a bar with two women on each arm in the peculiar dark red lighting, or the opening scene of The Departed when “Gimme Shelter” opens the film, painting the picture of pure evil with the lyrics “rape, murder, it’s just a shot away.” “Gimme Shelter” also makes appearances in Casino and Goodfellas as well because why wouldn’t it?
Scorsese’s most recent project finds himself side by side with his idol Mick Jagger as co-creator of the new HBO series Vinyl (along with Terence Winter). The series takes place in New York City in the early 1970s, the epicenter for sex, drugs and rock and roll. The story follows a record executive, Richie Finestra, as he tries to adapt to the changing tides of the music scene, especially with punk and hip-hop on the horizon. Finestra is head strong on finding new talent to save his tanking record label and he has a laundry list of problems, including a cocaine habit that makes Scarface look like he had his shit together.
Scorsese uses music as good as he ever has in this series. The first volume includes takes from The Meters, Otis Redding, Edgar Winter, and even the fictional band from the series, the Nasty Bits (fronted by Mick Jagger’s son, James Jagger). With the series currently underway there’s a lot that can still happen, but after three weeks it seems like the series is setting itself up for a twist. Vinyl airs on Sunday nights on HBO and HBO streaming services.
Key Tracks: The World Is Yours, Sugar Daddy, Rotten Apple