The late James Gandolfini delivered perhaps the most authentic acting performance of all time when he played Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series The Sopranos but, in addition to being a fine actor, he was also a devout music lover and his favourite album of all time is one that you could never have imagined his iconic Mob Boss character ever listening to.
His Sopranos co-star, Michael Imperioli, was speaking with fans on Instagram recently when he was asked what kind of music that Gandolfini liked to listen to and it’s fair to say his revelation that his favourite album of all time was Green Day’s Dookie came as somewhat of a surprise.
The Bay Area rockers third album was their breakthrough moment in 1994 upon its release, their major-label debut opened the band up to a more mainstream audience and is widely considered to be their magnum opus. Dookie features classics such as ‘When I Come Around’, ‘Paradise’ and ‘Basket Case’ with the band subsequently touring its 20th birthday on a world tour which included a headline set at Reading & Leeds where they played the album in full.
The classic album has sold over 10 million copies worldwide but few of those copies sold will have been more treasured than Gandolfini’s vinyl that he used to play in his trailer on a loop during filming, according to Imperioli. “He would play the vinyl of Dookie in his trailer at work. Totally serious,” Imperioli wrote. He added in another comment, “no joke. He loved Green Day.”
Imperioli later reached out to Stereogum to discuss Gandolfini’s love affair with Green Day and Dookie in further detail, revealing more about the actor’s obsession with the record.
“Gandolfini would also sing ‘Basket Case’ and make up his own lyrics about HBO and the writers and producers of the sopranos,” he told the publication. “Usually when he was feeling overworked and overexposed, and his lyrics would reflect that. Some of the more musical crew members would add a verse or two. Great fun.” Imperioli added, “He also named his dog dookie and used it in his email address.”
The late actor’s love for Dookie sounds incredibly pure and the thought of him riffing his own lyrics to ‘Basket Case’ is one of the most beautiful pictures you can envisage which provides a fascinating insight into Gandolfini’s playful character.