One of the most celebrated aspects of Peaky Blinders has been its use of music — with an original score setting the tone of the show, alongside a cavalcade of licenced peaky belters by artists like Idles, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Anna Calvi, and Radiohead, amongst many others.
The musical identity of the series has been so strong, in fact, that the Birmingham district of Digbeth recently hosted the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival — to which dedicated fans gathered, eager to witness live performances by a host of artists involved with and inspired by the series.
But of course, finding the right music for a film or TV show is about far more than just picking out songs by your favourite artists. Historian Carl Chinn, in the penultimate video in our Discovering the Real Peaky Blinders series, asks how the music of Peaky Blinders helps to convey the gritty, sinister atmosphere of its historical Birmingham setting.
The soundtrack of Peaky Blinders has become renowned for its use of music that would not normally be heard in the period drama. From the White Stripes to Johnny Cash, these contemporary tracks capture the feel of outlaw life in a way that is distinctly “peaky”. In particular, the series theme, ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was chosen because it sets the tone for this dangerous and dramatic Brummie tale — with its bluesy, dark, and almost menacing sound, it fits perfectly with a gangster epic. The series and its soundtrack has gained a fervent following across the globe, including stars like the late David Bowie. He was so enchanted by the Peaky Blinders. He actually sent a photo of himself with a peak on his head, into which have been sewn razorblades, to Cillian Murphy, the star of the show.
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