The History of the Sons of Anarchy Theme Song

sons intro

Sons of Anarchy is speeding toward its grand finale in this final season, so we’ll be taking a look at many different aspects of the show here on TVOvermind over the next few weeks. One I wanted to highlight today was the show’s iconic theme song. In an age when many shows skip their intro all together, Sons of Anarchy manages to have one of the most iconic themes on TV today. Here are some things you may not know about it. The song has a name, and it’s called “This Life.”It was written by a collaboration between singer-songwriter Curtis Stigers, Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner, producer Bob Thiele Jr. and SOA creator Kurt Sutter, and was ultimately performed by Stigers and The Forest Rangers. Though we hear perhaps a 30-40 second version of the song on Sons of Anarchy, there is a version that’s a full two and a half minutes when you can check out below:

Velvet Revolver’s Dave Kushner spoke a bit about why he was drawn to the show, and the theme: “I was drawn to the show for two reasons […] ‘Sons’ is an incredibly intense, gnarly drama about family and the things we do for love and money when we’re not presented the same opportunity others are. Also, it was a chance for me to work with my good friend Bob [Thiele] who is an amazing songwriter/producer/musician.” The SOA theme song has seen a few variants throughout the years. An Irish version was used in season three when the gang went to Belfast, and a new version was recorded starting for season six. Though some many think they know the words, it may be hard to keep track of all the lyrics. Here are the full lyrics to the Sons of Anarchy theme, if you didn’t catch them in the intro:

Riding through this world all alone

God takes your soul, you’re on your own

The crow flies straight, a perfect line

On the Devil’s Bed until you die

This life is short, baby that’s a fact

Better live it right, you ain’t comin back

Gotta raise some hell, ‘fore they take you down

Gotta live this life

Gotta look this world in the eye

Gotta live this life until you die

You better have soul, nothing less

Cause when its business time, it’s life or death

The king is dead, the light goes on

You’ll lose your head when the deal goes down

Better keep your eyes on the road ahead

Gotta live this life

Gotta look this world in the eye, gotta live this life until you die.

Naturally, it’s appropriate for the show, though many may not realize it was written specifically for SOA and was not an adoption of another song. “This Life” actually received an Emmy nomination back in 2009 for “Outstanding Main Title Theme Music” but it lost out to PBS’s Great Performances. Due to the popularity of both the show and its theme, This Life has spawned many, many covers on social media sites like YouTube. A few of the most popular examples include covers by Drew Evans, Sebastian Andersson,  and Diljo. For those who may want to try and play the Sons of Anarchy theme for themselves on the guitar, tabs can be found here.

Not many TV themes have as interesting of a backstory has Sons of Anarchy’s this life, where everyone from rock stars to the show’s creator was involved in making it. It’s a bit reminiscent of Joss Whedon taking a hand in writing the theme song for Firefly. Only time will tell if we will see any more variants of the theme before the show ends. It was tweaked heavily for season six, and the opening credit sequence has been rearranged because of the deaths of various main characters. Shows sometimes like to incorporate their intros into their finales as a way of coming full circle, but it remains to be seen if “This Life” will get a special tribute by the time Sons of Anarchy draws its last breath. Until then, it makes a mighty nice ringtone, don’t you think?

[Photo via FX]

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  1. Darren Trask
  2. Josh Foster