Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Heroes in Music

When I started thinking about this theme week, one of the concepts that immediately jumped out at me was the idea of theme songs. After all, don't we all associate this with Rocky?

And how about Superman?

And you can NOT be a child of the 80s and not immediately recognize the heroes we connect with this one:

Even our favorite villains have music we recognize:

So, I thought it would be fun to talk to my fellow Craisies and put together a group soundtrack of music we thought should represent our favorite characters. The responses I got were so fun. Some titles were based on events from the books, like Bob Seager's "Old Time Rock 'n Roll." Some songs were reflections of a single character - "Witch Queen of New Orleans" -  while others represented relationships of the characters - "Now Comes the Night." The complete collection came to this:

"Run Through the Jungle" - Credence Clearwater Revival
"Witch Queen of New Orleans" - Redbone
"Steam Roller Blues" - Elvis Presley
"Love Interruption" - Jack White
"If You Want Blood" - AC/DC
"Me & My Arrow" - Harry Nilsson
"I Won't Back Down" - Tom Petty
"Bad Company" - Bad Company
"Feelin' Alright" - Joe Cocker
"Imagine" - John Lennon
"Desperado" - Eagles
"Local Hero" - Yellowjackets
"I'm No Angel" - Gregg Allman
"Body Bag" - Hit the Lights
"Make Me Smile" - Chicago
"Bad Moon Rising" - Credence Clearwater Revival
"Old Time Rock 'n Roll" - Bob Seger
"Now Comes the Night" - Rob Thomas
"A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis Presley
"Lean  on Me" - Al Green

I put together a playlist for you. Unfortunately not all the songs were available, but most of them were. 

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
While this is from the fan's point of view, it also got me thinking about how authors view their own heroes. So I talked to some folks to see what theme songs they would choose for their characters. (Note: some of the links I've provided go to YouTube videos that have ads at the beginning.)

Daniel Palmer is a musician as well as the author of  DELIRIOUS and HELPLESS. He said Charlie, his protagonist from DELIRIOUS would best be represented by "White Rabbit" from Jefferson Airplane. And Tom, his suburban dad protagonist from HELPLESS would have "Blow Up the Outside World" from Soundgarden as his theme song.

Lou Berney weighed in for his former wheelman, Shake. "Be True" by Bruce Springstein best represents Shake.

Meg Gardiner analyzed her two main characters: Evan and Jo. I loved Meg's response to my question. She said, "your request got me to think about Evan and Jo, and the music they love, and how it affects them and reflects them." That is really fun.

For Evan, Meg said, "She tells people she's a 'Crazy' kind of gal, being a Patsy Cline fan. But that's not her theme song. She also loves the Dixie Chicks: 'Tonight the Heartache's on Me,' 'Cowboy Take Me Away,' 'Long Time Gone,' 'Ready to Run.' And she adores Mary Chapin Carpenter, especially 'Why Walk When You Can Fly' and -- her favorite, the song that has to express it all for her -- 'Jubilee.'"

And for Jo she says, "Jo loves world music (Angelique Kidjo, Cheb Mami) but what gets to her is California rock'n'roll like Los Lobos (Will The Wolf Survive?) But theme songs... there are really only two: Sarah McLachlan, 'Angel'. That song is just so achingly beautiful, about our broken humanity and compassion and comfort in the face of loss. But I think Jo would rather rock out in dark bluesy tones to Elvis Costello, 'Complicated Shadows'...Hey, she's a shrink! Plus it's part of the soundtrack to Jo's favorite TV show of all time, The Sopranos."

Julia Spencer-Fleming said her character's theme songs tend to change depending on her work in progress and what she's heard that resonates with her. At the time she responded, she said her Chief of Police, Russ Van Alstyne would have "I Won't Let Go" by Rascal Flatts and Reverent Clare Fergusson theme song would be "Never Say Never" by the Fray. Julia pointed out that these songs also reflect the characters' tastes in music as well.

Rebecca Cantrell's character Hannah Vogel is living in the midst of World War II and Rebecca says she's best represented by "Song of a German Mother" by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, sung by Lotte Lenya.

Reed Farrel Coleman believes "Solitary Man" is a good theme song for Moe Prager. Plus, he says, Neil Diamond is another Jew from Brooklyn!

Alafair Burke put a lot of thought into Ellie Hatcher's theme song. I know because I was with her the night she mulled over what song best represented her New York police detective. She came to the conclusion that "Seether" by Veruca Salt was Ellie's song. 

Brad Parks said he would sing Carter Ross' theme song for us. He hasn't done so yet, but we may have to hold him to that. In the mean time, he chose the Theme from the Greatest American Hero.

Chris Grabenstein's choices for Danny and Ceepak shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Fans of the series already know the duo are Springstein junkies. So Danny's theme is "The Promise Land" and John Ceepak's is "Land of Hope and Dreams." 

Duane Swierczynski just recently came across Charlie Hardie's theme song, "I Wanna Destroy You" by The Soft Boys.

Craig Johnson says the television folks have chosen "Closer" by Kings of Leon as the theme for the LONGMIRE. But left up to him, Craig would choose "Last of His Kind" by Susan Gibson for Walt. And Vic he says it has to be "Tremendous Brunettes" by Mike Doughty. And Henry Standing Bear, well his theme song is "Coyote Dance" by Robby Robertson.

Sean Chercover integrates a good deal of music into his novels and he says his Chicago PI, Ray Dudgeon, would best be served by "Stepping Razor" from Peter Tosh.

Hilary Davidson's world-traveling protagonist has a theme song that coordinates with her tastes in movies and clothing. Hilary says Lily's song would definitely be "Shake Down the Stars" sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

Another theme song that shouldn't come as a surprise is Tom Schreck's choice of "Trouble" by...of course Elvis Presley. Can you believe I actually asked Tom, "that's by Elvis, right?" His response? "Of course it's Elvis!" How could I be so thick? But this one's for Duffy Dombrowski.

Brian Freeman says Jonathan Stride would have to go with "I'm Tryin'" by Trace Adkins.

Michael Wiley's PI, Joe Kozmarski, lays claim to "The Thrill is Gone" by Chet Baker. I like Joe's taste in music!

 Bryan Gruley says Gus Carpenter, his hockey-playing journalist, is best served by Bob Seger's "Heavy Music."

If you're Zoë Sharp, you don't pick a song, you have one written. How cool is this that she has a song written specifically for her new book? 

Many thanks to all the Craisies who participated in this adventure as well as all the authors who piped up with their characters' theme songs. This is quite a collection!

What do you think? Any choices surprise you? Anything you'd add to our Craisie Soundtrack? How about a protagonist you enjoy who isn't covered here. What would his/her theme song be?


Naomi Johnson April 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM  

Wow, I like our Craisie soundtrack! I may have to put that together for my iPod.

I also like Coleman's, Parks's, and Gruley's choices. But then, I admit to being 99.9% old school, musically speaking.

Lauren April 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM  

What a great post! So nice to see so many great contributions, this was a fun read, J!

Clare2e April 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM  

Cool post, and interesting to know what are the lead chracters' earwirms. Mine are never that cool!

nigel p bird April 21, 2012 at 6:58 AM  

This has to be a first.

'Trouble' by Elvis - worth writing characters for/to.


2011 2012 2013 Ace Atkins Adrian McKinty Agnete Friis Alafair Burke Alan Bradley Alan Glynn Alan Orloff Alex Berenson Alex Dryden Alexandra Sokoloff Andrew Grant Andrew Gross Anne Zouroudi Annie Barrows Ariana Franklin Arne Dahl Attica Locke audiobook jukebox Audiobooks author events Author Q/A Barry Eisler Bernard Cornwell Beth Ann Fennelly Bill Cameron Bill Crider Bill Loehfelm Bill Pronzini blog tour Book Events Book News Brad Meltzer Brad Parks Brent Ghelfi Brett Battles Brian Azzarello Brian Freeman Brian McGilloway Bryan Gruley C. J. Box C.J. West Camilla Läckberg Cara Black Carl Hiaasen Carla Buckley Carlos Ruiz Zafon Carter Wilson Catriona McPherson Charles Cumming Charlie Huston Charlie Newton Chevy Stevens Chris Grabenstein Chris Holm Chris Kluwe Christa Faust Christopher Reich Christopher Rice Chuck Greaves CJ Lyons Claude Berube Colin Cotterill Cozy Mystery Craig Johnson Craig McDonald CRCRC crime caper Crime Fiction Crime Writers Caught Recommending Crime CWCRC D.A. Mishani Dana Cameron Daniel Palmer Daniel Silva DATW Dave Barry David Baldacci David Corbett David Ellis David Handler David Hayward David Morrell David Rosenfelt Deborah Coonts Deborah Crombie Declan Burke Denise Hamilton Denise Mina Dennis Lehane Detective Fiction Diane Stuckart Don Bruns Don Winslow Donald E Westlake Donato Carrisi Douglas Corleone Duane Swierczynski dystopian Earl Emerson ebook Ed Lynskey Edoardo Ballerini Elizabeth Hand Elizabeth Haynes Emma Donoghue Eric Beetner F. Paul Wilson FFB Five on Friday Focus Features Forensic Science Foul Play Books Francine Mathews Gabriella Herkert Gar Anthony Haywood Gayle Lynds General Fiction George Guidall George Pelecanos Gillian Flynn Graham Brown Gregg Hurwitz Hallie Ephron Hank Phillippi Ryan Harlan Coben Harley Jane Kozak Harper Lee Herman Koch Heroes and Villains Hilary Davidson Historical Fiction Hugh Laurie Ian Rankin Inger Frimansson Ingrid Thoft international thriller J.J. Myers J.T. Ellison James Barney James Conway James Crumley James DuPont James Fredericks James Grippando James Lee Burke James LePore James O. Born Jamie Freveletti Jan Burke Jane Cleland Janet Evanovich January LaVoy Jassy Mackenzie Jed Rubenfeld Jeff Abbott Jeff Woodman Jeffery Deaver Jeffrey Cohen Jeffrey Siger Jennifer McMahon JIAB2011 JIAM2013 Jill Thompson Jo Nesbø Joelle Charbonneau John Connolly John Grisham John Hart John Lescroart John Sandford John Shannon John Verdon Johnny Shaw Jon Land Jonathan Hayes Jonathan Kellerman Jonathan Schuppe Joseph Finder Joseph Wallace Joseph Wambaugh Josh Bazell Josh Corin Joy Castro Julia Heaberlin Julia Pomeroy Julia Spencer-Fleming Julie Hyzy Juliet Blackwell Karen Fossum Karen Olson Karin Slaughter Katherine Kellgren Keith Thomson Kelli Stanley Kelly Braffet Ken Bruen Ken Isaacson Kevin Guilfoile Kimberly McCreight Lachlan Smith Laura Lippman Laurie R King Lawrence Block Lee Child Left Coast Crime Legal Thriller Lene Kaaberbøl Lenny Kleinfeld Les Roberts Liad Shoham Libby Hellmann Linda Castillo Linda Fairstein Linwood Barclay Lisa Ballantyne Lisa Black Lisa Brackmann Lisa Gardner Lisa Lutz Lisa Unger Literary Mystery Lori Roy Lou Berney Louis Bayard Louise Erdrich Louise Penny Louise Ure MacLeod Andrews Marcia Clark Marcus Sakey Mark Billingham Mark Gimenez Mark Hammer Mark Pryor Mark Sullivan Markus Zusak Martin Limon Martyn Waites Mary Higgins Clark Matt Coyle Matthew Dicks Matthew Pearl Matthew Quirk Medical Thriller Meg Gardiner Megan Abbott Memoirs Meredith Cole MfM 2011 Michael Chabon Michael Connelly Michael Harvey Michael Koryta Michael Lister Michael Stanley Michael Van Rooy Michael Wiley Michelle Gagnon Middle Grade Mike Lawson military thriller Murder and Mayhem in Muskego Narrator Interviews Nevada Barr Nonfiction novella NPM Oliver Harris Owen Laukkanen p.i. fiction paranormal Paranormal Thriller Pat Conroy Paul Levine Pete Larkin Peter Berkrot Peter Robinson PI Fiction poetry Police Procedural political thriller Psychological Thriller R.J. Ellory Ralph Cosham Raymond Chandler Rebecca Cantrell Reed Farrel Coleman Reg E. Cathey Review review copy Richard Lange Ridley Pearson Robert B. Parker Robert Crais Robert Dugoni Robert Fate Robert Greer Robert Gregory Browne Robert Pobi Robin Burcell Rochelle Staab romantic suspense Rosemary Harris Ross Macdonald Rupinder Gill Ruth Rendell Ryan David Jahn S. J. Watson S.J. Rozan Sandra Ruttan Sara Gruen Sara Henry Sara Paretsky Sarah Weinman Sasha Abramsky Sci-Fi scientific thriller Scott Turow Sean Black Sean Chercover Sean Doolittle Shane Gericke Shelf Awareness review Short Stories Simon Lewis Simon Prebble Simon Vance Simon Wood Six-word Memoirs Sophie Hannah Sophie Littlefield Spencer Quinn spy thriller Stefanie Pintoff Stephen Cannell Stephen Coonts Stephen Jay Schwartz Stephen King Stephen White Steve Forman Steve Hamilton Steve Hockensmith Steve Mosby Steve Ulfelder Steven Forman Stieg Larsson Stuart Macbride Sue Ann Jaffarian Sue Grafton Susan Arnout Smith Suspense/Mystery T. Jefferson Parker Tania Carver Tasha Alexander Tess Gerritsen theme week Theresa Schwegel Thomas Holland Thomas Kaufman Thomas Young Thriller Tim Dorsey Tim Maleeny Timothy Hallinan tlc book tours Todd Ritter Tom Franklin Tom Piccirilli Tom Schreck Toni McGee Causey Tony Hays Tony Hillerman Trevanian Truman Capote Val McDermid Victor Gischler Walter Mosley Warren Ellis Wayne Arthurson Will Lavender William Kent Krueger Xe Sands xuni author Yasmina Khadra Young Adult Young Readers Yrsa Sigurdardóttir Zoë Sharp

Great Indie Bookstores


An amazing collection of authors!

TLC Book Tours

Traffic Map

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Google+ Followers

Our Blogger Templates Web Design

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP