The Wire Variations

David K. Israel

By far one of the best HBO series of all-time, The Wire, had a lot of original characteristics going for it: plots that stretched over and across multiple seasons for starters, and a different variation on "Way Down in the Hole" each new season. The "theme song" was originally written by singer songwriter Tom Waits in 1987 and released on his album, Franks Wild Years, which was later made into a stage production. Waits' version was used for season two. Season four's version, performed by Baltimore teenagers Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse, was arranged and recorded specifically for the show, also rather unusual in the world of Hollywood dramas. As far as I know, the idea of using different covers of the same song for different season theme songs was not tried before or after The Wire. Please correct me if I'm wrong in the comments below, and also tell us which season variation you loved best. As for me, it's a toss up between Waits' and he Neville Brothers'.

Season One: Blind Boys of Alabama

Season Two: Tom Waits

Season Three: The Neville Brothers

Season Four: Domaje

Season Five: Steve Earle