Given that Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger – two men who, between them, could write the book on rock’n’roll and awesome soundtracks – are behind it, there’s little wonder that HBO show Vinyl has the best soundtrack on TV right now. A drama centring on record company boss Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) and starring Olivia Wilde and Juno Temple, it’s a riotous journey through 1973 New York (via the births of punk, disco and hip-hop) in all its glamour, glory and grams of cocaine. Clearly the show needs the attention of your eyeballs immediately, but here’s why you also need to listen to its killer sounds.
‘Vinyl: Music From The HBO Original Series – Vol. 1’ collects all of episode one’s musical highlights in one place, including Sturgill Simpson’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ (the show’s swaggering theme tune) and New York Dolls singer-songwriter David Johansen’s re-recorded versions of his seminal punk band’s ‘Personality Crisis’ and ‘Stranded In The Jungle’. There are also classic tracks from blue rockers’ The Edgar Winter Group, beloved soul man Otis Redding, glam-rockers Mott The Hoople and many more.
The cover versions
Each episode of Vinyl has its own EP of songs from and inspired by the show, and feature a host of exclusive, newly-recorded cover versions, including Julian Casablancas’ sleazy, insouciant take on The Velvet Underground’s ‘Run Run Run’, Trey Songz’ heart-stopping version of Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars?’, party-master Andrew WK’s romp through Alice Cooper’s ‘I Love The Dead’ and Iggy Pop’s raucous, raunchy cover of Nervous Breakdowns’ ‘I Dig Your Mind’.
The new tunes
As well as all the exclusive cover versions and lovingly-curated oldies, there’s something very special lurking on the soundtrack EP for episode 8 – the first new Royal Blood track in almost two years. ‘Where Are You Now?’ is a stonking return for the duo, and was inspired by the show itself.
Have a read of our review (spoiler: we bloody loved it). Or perhaps you’d rather hear it from frontman Mike Kerr, who’s said: “Hearing Richie Finestra talk about the first time you heard a song that made the hairs on that back your neck stand up, or made you wanna dance, or kick someone’s arse. I just wanted to write a song that gave me that sort of buzz.”
Giving you a buzz is just what Vinyl aims to do – and, like Royal Blood, like every louche rock’n’roll song featured on its effortlessly cool soundtrack, it does exactly that.