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Music That Leaves Viewers Haunted

Last year the highly anticipated British TV crime show, Prime Suspects 1973 (a.k.a. Prime Suspect Tennison), premiered with a 6-episode season. Based on Lynda La Plante’s book, the show goes back to 1973 when Jane Tennison (played by Stefanie Martini) joins the police force. It is the prequel to Helen Mirren’s older and much wiser Jane Tennison in the 1991 series Prime Suspects. The new series filled in backstory while showing Tennison’s early transition from upper middle-class family lifestyle to police rookie. It’s enjoyable. Further, the soundtrack nails it. The songs were chosen for the scenes and encompass a wide range of artists. Ultimately, the final song in the series leaves a haunting impression.

In an effort not to provide any spoilers, the discussion is vague; however, re-watch the series and see how important this selection is. The scene is somber. Martini’s Tennison learns a tough lesson that gives her the strength to persevere on the force. But first, viewers must sit through Joni Mitchell’s iconic “Woodstock.”

Even though Mitchell’s song is iconic and a classic, not much is written about its meaning. There is some speculation but nothing concrete. Mitchell did not attend Woodstock. Instead, she took her manager’s advice and appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, an entertainment/variety show that was popular at the time. Mitchell’s boyfriend at the time was Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He told Mitchell about the huge music festival. Mitchell envisioned how it felt and wrote the song. It’s incredibly haunting. Memorizing. Watch her performance from 1970: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aOGnVKWbwc.

“We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

Finding the perfect song for a scene is difficult. Having that song transcend the scene and encompass the production is rare. Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” does just that in Prime Suspects 1973. Check it out. It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime.