‘What makes a song Peaky?’ How ‘Peaky Blinders’ amazing soundtrack gets selected

Songs of love and hate

Former Pulp bassist Antony Genn is the soundtrack composer for Peaky Blinders season 4. Here he explains some of his excellent choices and spills some secrets on upcoming tracks.

1. ‘Alas Salvation’ – Yak

Episode: one

The scene: When John Shelby is doing his best impression of a country gent


Genn says: “I love Yak. They’ve got pure visceral energy – blood and guts, balls out, heart on your sleeve rock’n’roll. That’s what Yak are. As is John Shelby. In this scene he’s shooting some birds, all dressed in tweed. But the song reminds us that really he’s just a thug.”

2. ‘No Heaven, No Hell’ – OST by Anthony Genn & Martin Slattery

Episode: one

The scene: Michael Gray, John, Arthur and Polly Shelby are about to be hung

Genn says: “The music builds to a big crescendo and I sing the line, ‘No heaven. No hell. No innocence.’ It’s a head on collision between score and the power of a single track.”

3. ‘The Mercy Seat’ (Live From KCRW) – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Episode: two


The scene: When John and Michael are shot.

Genn says: “It’s total mayhem, there’s blood everywhere and it’s all cut together with a strobe light. Over all that is this beautiful live version of a classic Nick Cave song. It has a real emotional sense of depth to it. I was trying to glue the narrative together and this worked well because the lyric “An eye for an eye / A tooth for a tooth” is repeated later in episode two.”


Episode: two

The scene: Arming the soldiers who’ve been drafted in for the war against the Mafia.

Genn says: “I discovered them busking on Oxford Street last Christmas. I just thought, ‘fucking hell, that sounds good!’ So I went straight over and offered to record their songs in my studio. They played me ‘Lost’ and I thought it was fiery, ballsy and had attitude. It went straight in.”

5. ‘Shutdown’ – cover by Antony Genn and Martin Slattery

Episode: three

The scene: Tommy and Arthur Shelby walking through their factory

Genn says: “This cover starts beautiful, then moves into dirty guitar. It’s like ‘Tubular Bells’ with a nod to The White Stripes. Skepta is the ultimate musical outlaw and I wanted that essence represented in Peaky.”

6. ‘Red Right Hand’ – cover by Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker

Episode: five

The scene: Tommy’s gone rogue, and is making plays in his vendetta with Luca (Adrien Brody) and the Mafia.

Genn says: “Luca’s driving along and it’s seriously filthy rock’n’roll with heavy guitars. Iggy’s got a massive, low voice and Jarvis sings higher. It fits really well.”

7. ‘Red Right Hand’ – cover by Laura Marling

Episode: six

The scene: Some big, beefy, burly men walking down a corridor, about to have a boxing match.

Genn says: “Another cover, but Laura’s is much slower, gentler. It was magical in the studio, listening to her unbelievable voice. The testosterone-fuelled imagery is juxtaposed againstLaura’s beautiful vocals. She’s the real deal.”

Peaky Blinders series four is on every Wednesday at 9pm on BBC Two

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