Maybe This Time: The Soundtrack

Music has a huge impact on my storytelling, but I’ve never written a book that relied as much on a soundtrack as Maybe This Time. The book takes place in 1992 so the music was crucial in rewinding my brain back twenty years. Although there are no flashbacks in the book (I am strongly anti-flashback), a lot of the music flashes back even farther to the year North and Andie were married, 1982, evoking memories and affecting actions in the present (well, in 1992).

The music from 1982 was music from Andie and North’s courtship (short though that was) and marriage. Andie’s theme was “Layla,” by Eric Clapton (original version) because North said that was the music that had to be playing in her head when she moved. (North’s theme was “Human” by the Pretenders, but I lost it when I moved the setting back to 1992 since it didn’t come out until 2004.) Their song was “Somebody’s Baby,” by Jackson Browne, because that’s what was playing when they met. And North said his first clue that Andie was going to bolt was when she kept playing “Any Day Now,” by Ronnie Milsap, when he came home at night; he really hated Ronnie Milsap. All of those (except for the Milsap) show up on a mix tape that North made for Andie in ‘82 that includes Clapton’s “Rock N’ Roll Heart” and “Man in Love;” North is a big Clapton fan, but then who isn’t? Another set of music from 1982 is a mix tape that Alice plays that belonged to her dead mother: “Gloria,” by Laura Branigan; “She Bop,” by Cyndi Lauper; “Time After Time,” also by Lauper; and “Make a Move on Me,” by Oliva Newton-John. Her mother wasn’t deep, but she was happy.

But in 1992, there’s the music on the kitchen radio that Andie and Alice dance to while they bake, which includes “Hurt So Good,” by John Mellancamp (the announcer says, “Here’s an oldie,”), “I’m Too Sexy,” by Right Said Fred (Alice loves “I’m Too Sexy”), and “Everything Changes” by Kathy Troccoli. Andie sings an old Disney lullaby to Alice, “Baby Mine,” because it’s the only one she knows, but North brings her a just-released album as a present: Clapton’s Unplugged with the acoustic “Layla” on it. Ironically, the song “Maybe This Time” was thematically right for the book, and since it came out in ’72 it was chronologically right, but it didn’t work at all musically: too melancholy.

I can’t imagine writing this book without the music to put me back two decades, so I owe a debt of gratitude to all the artists who helped and inspired me. Also, it turns out that you can play “Layla” over and over and over again and never get tired of it, so a special thanks to Clapton. Maybe This Time wouldn’t have been the same book without you all.

39 thoughts on “Maybe This Time: The Soundtrack

    1. Oh, and now that I’ve read the comments, VERY FUNNY ABOUT THE MICROWAVE. Is nothing sacred? Don’t answer that.
      Looking for my camera now. And my camera cable. Sigh.
      The banana bread recipe is ready to go. You may get that tomorrow if I can’t find the cable.

      Edited to add:
      Found the cable, took the picture, the post goes up tomorrow (Mon.) Very sorry.

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      1. The microwave comment was a drive-by for me, and I just got back from doing other stuff. So I have plausible deniability about anywhere it went after that. Pelting the house windows with M&Ms to wake up someone would have been another option, only I don’t think that works in cyberspace.

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      2. Skye, the jokes are on Monday’s post. There was a placholder that mentioned the collage here earlier.

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  1. Like the soundtrack very much actually. Now I’m going to have to look up that Disney lullaby cause I don’t know which movie it’s from.

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      1. That would explain why I don’t know it. I weep copiously and cannot watch Dumbo. Or the Fox and the Hound. I am a sentimental wimp.

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        1. I cry like my dog just died at that scene from Dumbo, where the Mommy reaches her trunk through the window to comfort her baby. It makes my heart ACHE. I never sing that one to my girls. I sing Winnie the Pooh theme, and Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty and other perky shit like that.

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          1. I never let my kids watch Dumbo, or Bambi. We watched The Bird Cage with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane instead. And I sang the Eagles song Desperado for bedtimes.

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  2. Great soundtrack!

    I really like Clapton’s Rock and Roll Heart, mostly for these two lines: “I got a feeling, we could be serious, girl. Right at this moment, I could promise you the world.” Those lyrics put me right in the heart of the song.

    Have you ever heard Bonnie Raitt’s version of Baby Mine? It’s from a collection of Disney covers called Stay Awake that came out in 1988. Sublime. Back up vocals by Was (Not Was)

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      1. Raitt can do no wrong.

        OT, I got a notice from Amazon that my pre-order was delayed and I wouldn’t get it until…. the 31st. er, okay. That’s when I was supposed to get it. Thanks guys, for being right on top of that.

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  3. ’82 was a great year for music! This might be the first time I recognize most of the songs used on your soundtrack but that’s because I mostly stopped listening to the radio in 1983;)

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  4. Huh. I guess I’m not very deep. I’d love to listen to Alice’s mother’s tape. Strangely, not being deep doesn’t bother me.

    Do people still make mix tapes (cds?) I think they probably just push “shuffle” on their iPod or make a playlist. Or they make a YouTube video. I have nothing against YouTube. I’ve wasted many a happy day there but it makes me a little sad to know that girls aren’t getting asked out via the mushy love song/power ballad taped off the radio any more. At least then you had the satisfaction of knowing your would-be-love sat in front of the radio for hours waiting for your song to play. The internet has made some things too easy.

    I’m in a rambling mood today. I should probably just go post on my own blog.

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    1. My hubby made one for Friday night, sort of. It was a CD and it was copied mp3’s but the overall effect is the same. Sadly, it wouldn’t play on the CD player, but my Mac handled it fine.

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  5. Baby Mine breaks my heart and makes me cry every. single. time I hear it.

    I’ve never made a soundtrack for a story in my writing life, but the “us against the world” vibe of Brandon Flowers’ “Crossfire” is the song for the relationship between two of my characters in the wip, so I may end up using it.

    Go figure.

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    1. Its such a huge help in putting me back into the book when I’ve been away. And once you have the right theme for a character, it’s just hugely helpful.

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  6. Was it tricky trying to make sure that there weren’t any 2010 anachronisms in the book? It does help that you can actually remember 1992, but I’m curious if you found a character wanting to google something, or things of that ilk.
    Read a short story once, written by a fellow college student, that featured the hero and heroine escaping from 14th century France. They made it to the boat, and were heading out toward the ocean, when the bad guys on shore turned a searchlight on them.
    Um…. no.

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    1. I had betas to double check and the copy editor was good, if clueless on the music. I’d researched all the music so I knew the dates there and she kept finding wrong dates.
      Oh, and I didn’t set it in ’92 to get rid of cellphones. I doubt that area of Ohio has cellphone reception yet.

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  7. The only song I truly know on the playlist is Kathy Troccoli’s. I was actually surprised by that one.

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    1. I think that’s the only one I don’t know… I’m all over that Cyndi Lauper though. she was my first “adult music” tape (moving beyond Sneaky Snake or the Muppets or Disco Duck). The other was Prince’s Purple Rain which I got both on vinyl and tape. Cyndi was on cassette tape.

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  8. What book was Nine Million Bicycles on the soundtrack? For some reason I thought it was this book, but maybe you “lost” it when you set it in “92?

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    1. That’s it. I loved that and in the early drafts Andie sang it to Alice because she didn’t know any lullabies. But it wasn’t recorded until later, so it had to go. Along with “Things Have Changed.”

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      1. Nine Million Bicycles is still in my heart for this book. Perhaps it was influenced by a ghost from the future….

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  9. Speaking of Dusty Springfield… (What? Who wasn’t? We SO were. In MY head.)

    I learned of the existence of this book today and thought of the Temptation crew: It’s Hard Being Queen: The Dusty Springfield Poems, by Jeannette Lynes. Publisher’s description here: http://www.freehand-books.com/books/dusty_springfield Note I am just mentioning its existence, not endorsing it.

    In another instance of “I know other writers do this but it won’t work for me, why not, I don’t know, oh duh, I could try and see,” I realized today one reason I don’t feel comfortable with a character I’m writing is that I don’t know anything about her music. So thanks for the reminder.

    Plus I can definitely see why music would be a great time machine to 1992.

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    1. Ooh I am still looking for the Dusty Springfield “It was a nice dream” from an 80s James Caan flick called Kiss me Goodbye.

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  10. When I was writing about Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII (non-fiction) “her” song was “We Belong” by Pat Benatar. The beat even fits some of the dances from that time.

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  11. For those of you who asked, I just uploaded the original photo and floorplans from the real house in England at the end of the Archer House post, along with a small photo of the upstairs gallery with that big stone arch that leads to the stairway.

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  12. Works that Alice loves “I’m Too Sexy” since it was the kiddies who really sang it passionately. Jazzercize did it to death, and I can still remember some of the moves. Great mock.

    I noticed a certain absence of Hiatt. Guess it’s Not That Book.

    Declaration: “Stay Awake” with Raitt will be mine tomorrow!

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  13. This is so fun to hear about (since I’ve already read the book and adore knowing more about the songs behind it). I graduated from high school in 1992, so songs from that era are especially branded in my brain.

    Tawna

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