Lyrics To The Title Theme Of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire's Michael K. Williams shares home improvement tips

I watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  This show’s major strengths are its art direction and set design, which really are a joy.  Its music direction, faithful to its Jazz Age period runs a close second, and might even have placed first, if not for one inexplicable decision.

In a stark and ugly contrast to the rest of the show’s attention to production standards, Boardwalk Empire‘s title theme music is a disaster.  For some reason, a chunk of sheer hackwork in the form of throwaway bar-band blues-rock culled from the catalog of the resolutely inessential Brian Jonestown Massacre was chosen to usher viewers into each week’s episode.

This isn’t about anachronism.  I’m not saying that a rock song could never work in this role. I’m saying the chosen rock song relates to the show only in one sense:  Each time I hear it, I lament that Atlantic City, endowed today with van-loads of creatively vacant, Stones-tribute bar bands who suck far less than San Francisco’s Brian Jonestown Massacre, couldn’t contribute to its namesake “death and titty” cable drama when the time came to slap a shitty rock song in the theme hole.

One habit I inherited from my father is to give lyrics to annoying tunes.  In that tradition, I offer to all Boardwalk fans a means to put a happier spin on this most bullshit of title themes.  Take these lyrics to Boardwalk Empire in the shared hope that a saddened nation can, as one, polish away this small spot of musical tarnish from our Sunday nights.

Lyrics To The Boardwalk Empire Theme

Boy, this theme sucks
Lemme tell ya 
God, this theme sucks
Like a hoover
Stupid blues riff
What the fuck, man?
Sounds like Oasis
Fuck you 
(repeat 1x)

And it’s cloudy
In the 1920s
And Buscemi
Looks especially worn
Hey, it’s water
What are those, bottles?
Fly away, seagull
Shitty solo ahoy!

Baaaaaw woooo-awooooo oooo-ooo-ooooo

(Singers give tempo ruboto impression of awful guitar solo)


Please just start the show
And end this theme
Just start the show
Already please

(repeat after rest)

6 Responses to “Lyrics To The Title Theme Of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire”

  1. 1 Chris Hall
    November 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    A bunch of us watch this show together every Sunday night, and when Jimmy Two Hands is around, he does a stereotypical `20s style white guy Jazz voice and makes up lyrics. You should try it. “Boardwalk Emmmmmmpiiiiire”

  2. 2 Johnny
    January 14, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Thank you, that theme song god-awful. The show’s creator decided he wanted to use a rock song, and that would’ve been fine if the one he chose didn’t suck so much. I actually assumed it was a generic rock instrumental created for the show and didn’t know it was by an actual group. A favorite of the show’s creator, and of course none of the yes-men he’s surrounded with dared to question his horrible taste. HBO itself should’ve stepped in and objected to it.

  3. 3 mo
    September 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    This opening sequence sucks so bad I had to search for similar sentiments just to rant about it. The music sucks very badly and should have been a period correct jaz or rag theme, but equally, the theme here with Nucky looking around doing nothing while clouds roll around shoudl have been a wake up call to someone… it is simply very badly thought out. The show is much better than the sequence suggests.

  4. 4 Ricky-Joe
    October 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    So that’s the Brian Jonestown Massacre? I’ve always thought it was great band name, although I’d never heard the band. Had no idea they were still around.

    • 5 Mike
      December 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

      You are an idiot. Everyone gets to have an opinion. I’ve considered your comment about the music; I play guitar and love the theme song. It’s edgy, just like the show. I also play alto sax and enjoy jazz. Your elitist armchair attitude sucks big time.

      • December 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

        (Mike, I’m assuming your comment is directed at me and not Ricky-Joe)

        1) People who use the word “edgy” in a sentence absolutely deserve to be laughed at.

        2) Ha ha ha ha ha. You think “edgy” actually means something. That’s the #1 word used by people who work in cubicles to describe any music or film with the slightest challenge or confrontation to it. But this theme is about as challenging and confrontational as milk.

        3) I play guitar, bass, keys and I compose for picture, stage and games. If I’m in an armchair, you’re on my ottoman.

        4) To recap, this theme totally sucks. Until you put my lyrics to it, I mean. Then, it’s awesome.

        Let me know if there’s anything else you need cleared up.



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