Warning: Spoilers for the most recent “The Leftovers”
If there’s one thing the HBO series “The Leftovers” has proven
over its brief three-season run, it’s that the show loves to
And Sunday’s episode was no exception. From the revelation that
there might be a way for Nora (Carrie Coon) to see her departed
family (the news was delivered to her by none other than the
departure-faker and “Perfect Strangers” star Mark Linn-Baker) to
that old guy on the tower finally dying, there was a lot to
But if you’re a fan of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan,
you were given quite a treat.
When Nora got her cast taken off in the episode, we saw that she
has a tattoo of the Wu-Tang “W” symbol on her forearm. We learned
when Nora visited Erika (Regina King) that she chose the tattoo
to cover previous tattoos of her kids’ names.
Erika then revealed to Nora that one way she’s kept her sanity
after her daughter Eve (Jasmin Savoy Brown) died was buying a
trampoline. We then saw the two on the trampoline in slow-motion
while the Wu-Tang song “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)” played.
It’s just the latest masterful music choice from the show. Though
many of the ideas come from the show’s cocreator Damon Lindelof
and the writers, the person who goes out and clears the song
rights is the show’s music supervisor Liza Richardson.
When Lindelof first brought up to the idea of the Wu-Tang
song to Richardson last February, she wasn’t confident.
“I said, ‘Famously impossible, but let’s try,'” Richardson said
about getting rights.
Wu-Tang songs are so hard to clear because they use a lot of
samples and there are so many writers for each song.
Lindelof had his eye on a song from the 1995 album “Liquid
Swords,” a solo album by Wu-Tang member GZA.
Richardson looked into all the songs on the “Liquid Swords”
album. It took her close to two months, but she was able to clear
the rights to the songs “Liquid Swords” and “Living in the World
Today.” The track “Shadowboxin'” (featuring Method Man) was also
in the running, but there were issues with the samples on the
song that held it up.
Richardson was also able to get the rights to “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t
Nuthing ta F— Wit” from their debut album, “Enter the Wu-Tang
Lindelof eventually decided on “Nuthing ta F— Wit.” Or so
“They changed the scene to Erika and Nora bouncing on the
trampoline,” she said.
Lindelof now had three new songs he wanted Richardson to go
after: “C.R.E.A.M.” (from “Enter the Wu-Tang”), “Triumph”
(“Wu-Tang Forever”), and “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)” (“The
W”). All three cleared and “Protect Ya Neck” was chosen for the
scene. The track cost the show…