FX biker drama Sons of Anarchy kicked off its fourth season this week, and the episode ended with a violent montage set to “What a Wonderful World.” Louis Armstrong originally recorded the song in 1968, and Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo?ol more recently revived it. On the show, the sunny classic played underneath that montage as an eerie, bare-bones remake by belter Alison Mosshart, of the Kills and the Dead Weather. Check it out below.
Mosshart may be better known for stormy, threatening rockers, but her “What a Wonderful World” is relatively restrained. She delivers a straight, lightly scuffed vocal, swathed in vaguely ominous echoes. The Forest Rangers — the band led by Sons of Anarchy music supervisor Bob Thiele — lends solemn acoustic backing.
According to EW, the story behind this cover goes far beyond brutal motorcycle gangs: Thiele’s father actually co-wrote the song. “There was a part of me that was a little nervous about besmirching Bob Thiele Sr.’s memory with having a montage [of] kill sequences while his song played,” show creator Kurt Sutter told the website. “But Bob Thiele Jr. was thrilled and took the challenge completely made it work.” Mosshart reportedly laid down the vocal from a studio in Ireland.
Mosshart has been on something of a cruise down memory lane lately. Before “What a Wonderful World,” she recently joined Kills bandmate Jamie Hince for a cover of Marilyn Monroe’s “One Silver Dollar.” Just last month, though, she was back to her more familiar tricks, performing howling blues-punk stomper “Future Starts Slow” with the Kills on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.