Stuff We Love: Cowboy Bebop’s theme song 'Tank!'

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Feb 16, 2018, 8:58 PM EST (Updated)

There’s been a lot of discussion this year about the live-action version of the classic anime Cowboy Bebop, from what should be in it to what it must do. With the show also celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, I couldn’t help but think back to the series and what made me become a fan of the beloved anime when I first watched it. There are a lot of things I love about Cowboy Bebop, but one of my favorite parts has always been the theme song “Tank!”

The entire soundtrack by composer Yoko Kanno and performed by the band the Seatbelts is amazing. However, “Tank!” stands out among it all. The fun and intense jazz piece is such a perfect fit for the spirit of the show. Listening to it gets you itching to start the next adventure with these characters. It’s one of the few opening themes that makes it worth sitting through credits so you can hear it. In fact, I love this theme so much I even made it my ringtone a few years ago.


Kanno, in an interview with Red Bull Music Academy in 2014, said that the start of the soundtrack began when she was in the brass band in school.

“I’m not sure how it is nowadays, but back then all the songs kids were taught weren’t at all cool, so I made and performed originals. But a part of me was always frustrated because I couldn’t understand why everybody else was content playing the uncool music,” she told Red Bull Music Academy. “I wanted to play brass music that shook your soul, made your blood boil, and made you lose it. This yearning became ‘Tank!’, which was the opening theme. I wanted to make music which would light a fire in me when I played it.”

“Tank!” definitely succeeds in doing that. It’s what makes it one of my all-time favorite pieces of music and one I listen to often. Now that I think about it, I just might make it my ringtone again …