Putting A ‘Hit’ On Mob Wives

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Way back when, in late 2010, we were tasked with music supervising a brand new series set to premiere in January, 2011. The series was called Mob Wives, and to be honest, we were a little afraid. Ok, a lot afraid. But we knew it was going to be good, as the characters were undeniably compelling. The women’s rich histories, blended with their tough-as-nails personalities, all set against the NYC backdrop was going to produce nothing less than riveting television.

One afternoon, when we were sitting in a listening session for the new Raphael Saadiq record (and his song “Good Man” specifically), it struck us. This was the type of music that would define and help edify the story lines in this brand new series. Retro Soul/Blues were genres coming back with a vengeance and Raphael was the first of many great artists we would find to create the defining soundtrack to the series. Plan B, Charles Bradley, Fitz and the Tantrums, Mayer Hawthorne, Pauline, Eliza Doolittle, Sola Rosa, Aloe Blacc, Graffiti 6, Maverick Sabre, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Gary Clark, Jr. , and of course the theme song, “The Big Bang” by Rock Mafia, were just few of the artists we placed throughout the first two seasons of Mob Wives.

Cut to the present when it was time to consider the music for the finale episode of Mob Wives Season 2 and a wacky thought presented itself: since all the bands and artists we used thus far harken back to times gone by, why not try to get seminal songs from legendary artists from the 1960s and 1970s that inspired their sound? Sure, it was quite possibly a pipe dream, but we thought we’d give it the old college try. As the cut came together, we brainstormed some of the signature artists who could be the proverbial cherry-on-top to our big finale idea. The Four Tops‘ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”, which at the time of it’s release reached #1 on the R&B charts and the Billboard Hot 100, seemed like a perfect fit around the Drita/Karen reconciliation. We could see its potential to provide the scene with an epic feel–something the producers really wanted. Imagine our excitement when we discovered we could actually get the song! At that point we were beyond inspired and we discovered The Impressions‘ “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”, another Billboard #1 hit on the R&B charts, as another signature track that would work well for the party arrival scene at Del Monico’s. It has a dramatic vibe that sets the stage for possible conflict among the women (specifically Drita and Ramona). And lastly, we came across Buddy Miles‘ “We Got to Live Together” to open the show, as it provides the right lyrical and musical foreshadowing for the finale. Will conflict resolve? Will it not? Either way, the women will to have to work together in the best way they possibly can as they are bonded by a lifestyle that only they can understand.

So we worked backward in more ways than one with Mob Wives‘ music. We started with new artists that had a throwback style, ultimately mining a wealth of possibilities from some of the biggest R&B artists from decades past. The Four Tops’ “Reach Out” sparked ideas for the two other big scenes that could benefit from the great music of that era. It was a memorable experience for us, as we learned a lot about these amazing artists from the past in our research (Buddy Miles was in Jimi Hendrix‘s band, for example). We’ll be looking and listening a lot more from this golden age of R&B…and who knows? Perhaps you’ll be hearing more of these legendary artists next season. It turns out that the music supervision mobsters like to keep secrets, too.