Over the course of its five seasons, “True Blood” has consistently been one of the best shows on television not only for fans of vampires but for music fans as well. Each episode is named after a song title, and a number of artists have contributed new recordings to the show. Every week during season six, Radio.com will check in with “True Blood” Music Supervisor Gary Calamar, who has been nominated for GRAMMYs twice for his work on the show. (To see previous recaps, go here.)
What we heard were ominous rumbles before Robert Plant wailed, “In the eeeeeve-ning… when the day is done.”
What we saw was an anguished Eric Northman clutching Nora in the last moments of her life, before a strain of “Hep-V” led her to the “true death.”
“Oh, oh, I need your love/I need your love/Oh, I need your love, I just got to have…” When Plant sang those lyrics on “In The Evening” (from Led Zeppelin‘s 1979 swan song In Through The Out Door), it was, like many of Zeppelin’s blues-based songs, lust-driven. Hearing it as Eric grieves over Nora, his dead sister and lover (it’s complicated), “In The Evening” becomes an anthem of despair.
Led Zeppelin is notoriously picky about licensing their music for TV, film and advertising synchs. Jack Black famously begged them for permission to use “The Immigrant Song” in School Of Rock. True Blood music supervisor Gary Calamar told Radio.com how Zeppelin came to Bon Temps.
“One of our assistant editors did what every music supervisor dreads,” he said. “He ‘temped’ the last scene with the song,” meaning he put it in as a placeholder until they could figure out another song to use.
“This should never happen, as it leads to a phenomenon known as ‘temp love,'” Calamar continued. “That is when the producers see the scene with a song temped in and it works really well, and now they can no longer see any other song working in that scene. When you have a rich and costly song like ‘In The Evening,’ that can be a big problem. We tried many other songs that worked to varying degrees, but nothing worked as well as ‘In The Evening.’ So after discussions, negotiations and hoop jumping, we hammered out a deal. And we are thrilled to have the song in the show.”