Boyfriend and I got around to watching The Sopranos only recently. I’ve known about it for a long, long time, of course. Back when the pilot premiered I was in high school in India, and thought it was a show about classical singers. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Anyway, Boyfriend and I watched The Sopranos recently. And like every other show we watch together, each sixty-minute episode takes us at least two hours to get through, because Boyfriend pauses after every scene and gives me a little historical tidbit about it. (He just can’t help himself. Sometimes I think I should lay down the rules and ban him from pausing an episode for any reason other than a terribly urgent loo-break. But then I have visions of him breaking out in hives or burning up with a fever because of all that information frothing in his brain and shattering his skull in an effervescent frenzy.)
About half-way through Season 4, he paused the episode during the title sequence for this:
“Did you know one of the guys on the band that composed the title track for The Sopranos is the son of the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery?”
Ok, so first of all, for those of you who didn’t know, or knew just the broad details, here are some of the facts on the Great Train Robbery. The incident occurred on August 8, 1963, in Buckinghamshire (no, I didn’t make that name up) in England. A supposedly secret Royal Mail train was heading from Glasgow to London, carrying a sizable stash of cash. At some point during this journey, a gang of fifteen robbers, led by one Bruce Reynolds, attacked the train on a railway bridge. Turns out they had a man on the inside (known to this day only as ‘The Ulsterman’), who gave them the intel they needed, and perhaps even helped them tamper with the signals. The gang got away with £2.6 million, which is roughly £50 million today. Very little of that money was recovered.
Incidentally, Bruce Reynolds’ son, Nick Reynolds, had some serious musical chops.
Little Nick grew up, renamed himself Harpo Strangelove (no, I’m not making that up either), joined a band named Alabama 3 as a harmonica player, and became a part of pop culture history when one of the band’s songs, Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One), was used as the title track for what was to become one of the greatest TV shows of all time. (And, as Boyfriend will enthusiastically tell you, a show that ushered in the Golden Era of television.)
Here’s the original version of the song (audio only):
And that’s not all. Nick Reynolds (who has gone back to being known as Nick Reynolds) now spends his time making death masks of famous and controversial people. Here’s a video of him at work. It’s pretty cool. In a slightly weird way.