Soundtrack to a Dream, Part II
At the end of the process of writing Believe in Me, my forthcoming rock and roll novel (Wampus Multimedia, Nov. 29), I discovered that I had set myself up for some challenges. As a rookie author, I hadn’t realized that I would be responsible for acquiring permission to quote from each of the songs I had woven into my narrative. The process became marginally simpler once I learned that song titles are considered fair game to quote—it’s just the lyrics that you have to ask for permission to use.
Still, that left me with about 15 songs and 10 or 12 publishing companies to deal with. The process took months. But as I told publisher Mark Doyon at the beginning of the process, “(a) I think the quotes really enrich the story, and (b) I’m just stubborn enough to stick it out to the very end of this road.”
Here I am, and here are the rest of the songs that helped me to tell the story of ex-campaign operative Tim Green running away with the rock and roll circus that is his new friend Jordan Lee’s stadium-filling rock band Stormseye.
“Band On the Run” by Paul McCartney & Wings
Part two of the book is about Tim going on the road with Jordan’s band, both of them running away from something they can’t escape. Between that and the fact that this is my favorite post-Beatles McCartney song, it was kind of a no-brainer as the title of part two.
“Lost Horizons” by Gin Blossoms
“When You're Alone” by Bruce Springsteen
“Another Saturday Night” by Sam Cooke
“Recovering The Satellites” by Counting Crows
A great song about the torches-and-pitchforks dark side of celebrity: “All anybody really wants to know is / When you gonna come down.”
“Instant Karma” by John Lennon
“No Better Place” by Fountains Of Wayne
As a student of irony (and one-liners), I have always loved the opening line of this song, which fronts part three of the book: “Is that supposed to be your poker face / Or was someone run over by a train?” I can’t say much more than that without a three-alarm spoiler alert; suffice it to say that someone who might have thought they were fooling someone else, was mistaken… and conversely, someone who starts to think they have it all figured out, could not be more wrong.
“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
Tim has a half-denied, half-repressed crush on his oldest friend, who has big brown eyes. In the middle of part three, they make dinner together at his house. As she’s helping him in the kitchen, he puts on Van Morrison’s Greatest Hits. Wouldn't you?
“Misty Mountain Hop” by Led Zeppelin
The name of part four, which might be either a metaphorical or a literal interpretation of the events that open that final section of the book; more than this I cannot say.
“My Mercurial Nature” by Arms Of Kismet
This one took awhile to find its way into the book, but when it did it became the lyric-quote cherry on top. “Where would I be without these sins / Made me who I am today?” equals the essence of part four, and a lyrical home run.
“We Are One Tonight” by Switchfoot
Every single time I’ve heard this song, I’ve thought it was just made to be played live, late in a show in front of a huge audience. Such elemental chords, such an anthemic message of unity, a song that seems fully capable of capturing the hearts and minds (and hands and feet) of every single person in a theater, arena, or even stadium. Play it loud and see for yourself.
These are some of the songs I listened to while writing Believe in Me. There were many others, of course, but the quotes and song titles that stuck had to be ones that both fit and somehow enhanced the story, adding texture and context to Tim and Jordan’s journey. It’s a journey I hope you’ll join me on. Believe in Me is available for the Kindle, iPad, Nook and Sony Reader—visit http://wampus.com/jason-warburg/ to pick up your copy. Thanks again to Richard for offering me this platform, and thanks to each of you for listening.
[Note: All lyrics quoted are copyrighted by the songwriters and their respective publishing companies, all rights reserved, and are used here only for purposes of discussion.]