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How Ed Sheeran, Metallica and ‘The Godfather’ Songs Created Memorable Scenes for ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘The White Lotus’

A music supervisor has a big job, as defined by the TV Academy: She or he “creatively contributes to the story, character development and overall narrative of the program by engaging in song selection, guiding original song creation and production, overseeing on-camera music performances… contributing to the creation of a unique music aesthetic.”

This year’s five nominees reflect those ideals:

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Frankie Pine, music supervisor for “Daisy Jones & The Six,” was hired five years ago; she was even part of the casting process for the rise-and-fall story of a ’70s rock band. “It was all-encompassing,” she says, “being able to do every aspect of music to help create that authenticity.”

Pine submitted episode 8, which depicts the band touring the U.S. “We had all those on-cameras. Everything was done to playback,” she reports, “but everything was also recorded live,” providing multiple options during post-production.

The choice of non-Daisy Jones songs from the ’70s was also critical: “It was such an incredible decade of music, the beginning of punk and disco and funk, that we really wanted to represent.”

An on-camera performance is also central to the final episode of “Ted Lasso,” supervisor Tony Von Pervieux points out. The team sings “So Long, Farewell” (from “The Sound of Music”) to departing coach Lasso, which required composer Tom Howe to arrange for the actors to record the song and prepare a backing track of the tune.

Von Pervieux also realized his dream: Working with Grammy-winning producer Max Martin to create an original song, which Ed Sheeran co-wrote and sings in the finale.

It was a year-long process – luckily they were “super fans of the show” – and star-producer Jason Sudeikis wrote a scene to accommodate “A Beautiful Game.” The Cat Stevens song that closes the episode was also Sudeikis’ idea, he says.

Robin Urdang has already won three Emmys for music supervision on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and this year has entered the series finale, which includes songs by such superstars as Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Petula Clark.

But the surprising “get” was engaging pop duo Tegan and Sara to sing “Girls Talk” for the show’s final moments with Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie (Alex Borstein) in 2005.

The “Maisel” pilot used Dave Edmunds’ version of the 1978 Elvis Costello song, and that tune was cut into the finale during post-production. “Amy came to me and said, ‘Do you think Tegan and Sara would do this?’ Just like that,” Urdang recalls. Not only did they add their vocals to a newly produced track, but top musicians Marshall Crenshaw and David Mansfield are playing in the band.

Nora Felder, last year’s winner for “Stranger Things,” entered its two-hour-plus fourth-season finale. “Each song was essential to the story by highlighting the plight and bravery of our heroes as they worked in tandem to combat formidable evil forces,” she says.

Songs included Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Moby’s “When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die,” the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” Siouxsie & The Banshees’ “Spellbound,” and Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” which was a sensation on the charts last year as a result of its use in “Stranger Things.”

Metallica, big fans of “Stranger Things,” provided musical stems for their song in preparation for the scene in which Eddie (Joseph Quinn) “plays the ultimate rock performance of his life,” Felder says. Ty Trujillo, son of Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo, enhanced the guitar parts. “Metallica’s involvement contributed to the magnitude and impact of this dramatic moment,” she adds.

The Italian locale of “The White Lotus’s” second season was key to the music choices, supervisor Gabe Hilfer notes. “It’s in keeping with the overall vibe – there’s a mystery element, a fantastical element, sweeping shots of exteriors and the ocean… music that would feel congruent to the beautiful visuals that they captured.”

He arranged for “Godfather” music to be played live on set when the cast visited the shooting location; figured out what lounge piano player Giuseppe would perform; used Pink Martini’s “Ninna Nanna” to set the mood for episode 3; and discovered iconic Sicilian singer Rosa Balistreri for Tonya’s tarot card reading.

“An Italian vibe was the perceived directive,” Hilfer explains. “Authenticity was really paramount, making sure that we took the audience and planted them firmly in Sicily with the cast.”

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