Thursday, November 21, 2013

Honey, They’re Playing Our Song!

Do you remember in high school when you and your boyfriend had your song?  Maybe you danced to it under the mirrored ball at the prom or during the couples’ skate (okay, I’m dating myself) or played it on the car stereo, booming on the woofers with the windows rolled down as you cruised the drag. That song was sacred. None of your friends and their boyfriends could have the same song as you and your guy.

Don’t remember? Well, I’ve embedded cheesy 80s music videos that my awesome Facebook friends and I compiled to help you get in that nostalgic (or revolted) mood.



Why do I bring this up? Because almost all my characters have songs or bands that typify their personalities.  In my ebook Rakes and Radishes, the heroine listened to the Cranberries, and the hero, Radiohead. Together their love song was “Love’s Divine” by Seal. In other works, characters have liked country songs, Thomas Newman soundtracks, or crooning Frank Sinatra pieces.




So I always thought it odd that none of the characters in Wicked Little Secrets had their own songs, much less a love song. They seemed unmoved by music.


This greatly disturbed my inner 15-year-old. 


Then in the final edits of Wicked Little Secrets, I had to rewrite a character named Gertrude Bertis, an upright, sexually repressed, Methodist widow. For weeks I struggled and struggled, trying to find my way into the character. I panicked as the deadline approached and nothing was coming. I went through playlist after playlist, lit candles, and said prayers to try to invoke any muse who would listen.


 


A few days before the deadline, I was about to throw up my hands, ready to admit defeat, when I was driving the kids to school and AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” came on the radio. It was like Heaven’s (or Hell’s) flood gates opened and inspiration spewed forth. At last, someone in my book had a song! Granted, she was a Bible thumping, reverent, church-goer getting into a heavy metal classic containing the lyrics “Hells bells, satan’ coming to you. Hells bells, he’s ringing them now.” But with a deadline “coming on like a hurricane” and inspiration finally “flashing across the sky”, I wasn’t going to argue.   And maybe ole Gertrude wasn’t as good and moral as she let on.  

Okay, your turn. What are the cheesy love song favorites of your youth? Or, if you’re writer, do any of your characters possess a horrible taste in music?




16 comments:

  1. Yes, I do remember having a song with my boyfriend. I wasn't quite as strict as you, though. I let my friends have the same song. I write Regency, so sometimes my characters have a song, but they might never have heard it. It's just a song I happen to like or that reminds me of the feeling of the book.

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  2. I didn't have a boyfriend in high school, so we didn't have a song of our own. However, when it came time to assign a ringtone for calls from my DH, I chose Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" for obvious reasons. :)

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  3. "So Happy together"! The DH and I were in the same swing choir and found ourselves singing it to each other across the room!

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  4. "Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. And what's wrong with that . . ."

    I have a soft spot for some of the really sappy pop ballads of the 70s and 80s, perpetrated by the likes of Neil Sedaka ("Laughter in the Rain"), Karen Carpenter ("Top of the World"), and even Paul McCartney in his post-Beatles days.

    What's funny was finding that the Victorian taste in popular music could be just as sappy and sentimental! Reading the lyrics for songs like "A Bird in a Gilded Cage" and "After the Ball" was a truly . . . educational experience. And yet these songs were wildly popular. I try to bear that in mind whenever I write a Victorian musical evening in my books.

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  5. My DH and I never had a song, but we share a musical time-line songs that were playing on the radio that are directly linked with events in our lives. :)

    The year before we got married, he took me to see the Beach Boys at Giant's Stadium! The first ever outdoor concert there--they built a new stadium and tore the old one down not that long ago :(

    I still have the newspaper article about the event - 63,100 fans were there June 25th, 1978. :)

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  6. My husband and I have our song. It's Never my Love by The Association and what is great is that we still hear it on the radio every now and then! Pretty good for a song that's over 45 years old lol.

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  7. My husband is 7 years older than I am, which might as well be a full generation in pop music. We don't remember any of the same cheesy tunes from our teens. But we do have a song, sort of: at our wedding, we chose Diana Krall's performance of "The Look of Love" for our first dance. Silly us forgot that it's a rather long song and that Mr. R hates to dance (he feels very self-conscious). Now that we have a daughter, he'll dance with her--and we've gotten her hooked on the Thriller album. So maybe we have a family song or two?

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  8. @Shana I understand. I find songs that reflect my character's thoughts and emotions.

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  9. @Cheryl -- That's sweet that he has a special ringtone!

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  10. @Mia -- So you were singing to each other while the rest of the choir sang to the audience? Sweet.

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  11. @Pamela - I find the same thing when I do Victorian research. It's really campy stuff. And I love campy!

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  12. @ 63,100!!! That's insane:) Was it an amazing concert? I love the Beach Boys. When I was young, I thought their music was simplistic. Now I hear all the complexity and dissonance. Great stuff. I, too, mark time by songs.

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  13. Oops! The previous comment was for C.H. Thanks!

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  14. @catslady -- It must be so special when it comes on the radio. I totally believe in radio divination:) A lucky day!

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  15. @Theresa -- I LOVE that song. And it's not cheesy at all. I remember my husband was driving our car, and I was six weeks pregnant and beginning to suffer from 24 hour morning sickness, when I first heard that song.

    Are you teaching your daughter to moonwalk?

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  16. Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments. Sorry I was late replying. A crazy, busy day. But it's all good.

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