At first glance, Sons of Anarchy is a show about bikers in a motorcycle club but what even the most devoted fans may not know is that it’s a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Considering this detail, the slightly soapy drama and multiple music montages fit much better than fans ever knew.
Despite that fun fact, there are still a lot of music montages throughout the series, sometimes multiple montages in one episode. Fans see some of them as iconic, done with covers and music that fit perfectly with every scene. Still, others are out of place, excessive, or made with covers that butcher the original song. Here are the best and worst montages, ranked.
10 Worst: Gimme Shelter, By Paul Brady And The Forest Rangers
In the Season 2 finale, Abel had just been kidnapped and Jax is frantic. Tara is devastated that it happened on her watch and Gemma is on the run, having been framed by Agent Stahl for two murders. Ethan Zobelle is getting away and the whole club is broken. The season ended with Abel nowhere to be found and no justice for his kidnapping, for what Zobelle did to them, or for Agent Stahl hurting the club. Fans hated the cliffhanger as well as the song driving in the sadness.
9 Best: Can’t Help Falling In Love, By Elvis Presley (Bobby Impersonating)
This is the setup for a spark growing between Jax and Tara but also for Jax being in love with his newborn son. In this montage, Wendy is also seen overdosing, Gemma stands over the crib with Jax looking at Abel, and Clay stands ominously off to the side. The entire first season is set up with these scenes from Jax’s relationships with his son and mother to Wendy’s issues with drugs and regret for what she did while pregnant with Abel, Jax and Tara reuniting, and Clay butting heads with Jax. Fans loved this setup and Bobby as an Elvis impersonator shown singing the song.
8 Worst: This Life (Irish Version), By Curtis Stigers And The Forest Rangers
In Season 3, several members of the club go to Belfast, Ireland to find and rescue Jax’s infant son Abel. There is a consensus among fans that this arc was the worst batch of episodes in the entire series and that this specially made theme song was like an ominous beacon that Belfast would take up most of the season. The added flute with a rolling Irish theme to it also didn’t fit well with the song. The montage itself had clovers placed in random shots that were supposed to be strategically placed, but that fans found to be completely out of character. All in all, this montage gave fans a creeping suspicion that the Belfast arc wasn’t over when they wanted it to be done.
7 Best: The Lost Boy, By Greg Holden
This montage was about saying goodbye to Opie after his death in Season 5. Opie was a beloved character who had gotten a little lost before fully re-committing himself to the club when he and several others went to prison. While on the inside, Opie was killed in a brutal fight staged by Alexander Pope’s people.
Jax and Opie were best friends since childhood and that’s where this montage begins, with Jax looking at a photo that he then puts into Opie’s jacket while he’s laid out in the coffin. The song, “The Lost Boy” perfectly describes Opie and is a foreshadow to who Jax becomes while trying to avenge his friend.
6 Worst: Coal War, By Joshua James
Season 4 opens with this montage and the guys getting out after serving short time in prison. Jax is writing in a notebook, Tara is with Abel in her office, and the members are hugging each other and the guys who just got out have no cuts or patches while the guys that met them do. It shows a separation as well as the guys getting out of prison as a little broken down. It is all pretty ordinary. Additionally, the song barely appears to match up with what’s going on. Many fans felt this montage was unnecessary and boring.
5 Best: Hey, Hey, My, My, By Battle Me (Neil Diamond Cover)
With Season 3 being taken over by episodes set in Belfast, Jax almost having sex with a woman he finds out is his half-sister, and a lot of extremely sad setbacks before they finally got Abel back, the finale was cathartic in many ways. The club wrapped up the issues with Zobelle, they got Abel back, while Tara had been kidnapped in the states but they got her back too. Opie got his revenge on Agent Stahl in a brutal death scene that fans saw as some serious justice. Chibs finally got revenge on Jimmy after years of Jimmy holding Chibs’s wife and daughter over his head for leverage. Tara finds the letters from J.T. (Jax’s father) to Maureen and began to learn the truth of the club’s history. The fans got a nice wrap-up and they loved the cover of Neil Diamond’s classic performed by Battle Me.
4 Worst: Come Healing, By Leonard Cohen
The unraveling of characters at the end of Season 5 continued in this montage at the end of Season 6’s premiere. Tara was in prison and beat up another prisoner for taking her stuff, which is out of character for her. Jax finds comfort with Colette while Tara suffers. Tig is taking care of Jax’s kids, and Lee Toric shows that he’s a whole lot weirder and more messed up than viewers ever imagined. All of this to a song about healing made the fans confused and marked this montage as simply bizarre.
3 Best: Never My Love, By Audra May And The Forest Rangers
The club members come together as a family gathered around the table, all grieving in their own way for Tara’s death at the beginning of Season 7. This song is a great tribute to Tara and to Jax’s grief when he found her body at the end of season 6.
There are also a lot of new things set up with this montage like the business and new members in Stockton and Wendy getting ready to help Jax with the kids. The song and the montage are a great setup for a season that becomes chaotic very quickly.
2 Worst: Bohemian Rhapsody, By The Forest Rangers & Others (Queen Cover)
The White Buffalo, Billy Valentine, and Franky Perez joined in on this very ambitious cover at the end of the Season 7 premiere. Fans found the song audacious and way too long. The montage showed viewers just how much Jax had spiraled out of control over Tara’s death. Juice is shown holding Unser hostage at gunpoint, and Wendy is in Jax’s house feeding Tommy a bottle. Fans saw this as her taking Tara’s place way too soon. The song didn’t fit with the scenes as they showed characters completely unraveling.
1 Best: House Of The Rising Sun, By The White Buffalo
The song was an easy play on words as Jax, the son, rises to the head of the table, and conflicts are made clear among everyone else. This montage shows the issues between Jax and Gemma, Tara and Gemma, and other members whose places and roles have changed as Jax rose. Tara solidifies her commitment to Jax and the club. The last scene in the montage is Tara standing behind Jax with her arm on his shoulder that morphs into the photo of J.T. with a young Gemma in the same pose years earlier.