Friday, February 11, 2011

The Every Time We Say Goodbye Playlist

One of the (many excellent) editorial notes I received on my manuscript suggested I anchor each section more firmly in time -- without slapping down the years in big bold typeface on the chapter heads. (But it's so much easier to make a big authorial announcement: Attention reader! This section starts in 1925 and ends in 1942. Also apparently not allowed: gathering all the characters in one room at the end and having a previously-unintroduced detective explain all the mysteries.)
Working in historical references -- movie titles, wars in the news, teen singing sensations -- was harder than I expected. Even harder: making the reference sound natural and organic and essential to the scene, rather than something slathered with carpenter glue and wedged in.
The manuscript already had quite a few song titles, though -- organic and essential to the scenes. Some came from a giant bag of CDs my friend Dan gave me to help me think about the 1940s; others came from memory (my stepmother singing “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” quite cheerfully in the kitchen in spite of...well, in spite of everything). 

At the launch last week of A Cold Night for Alligators by fellow New Face of Fiction author Nick Crowe, I picked up a playlist entitled "Gator Songs" -- a list of songs that inspired Nick while he was writing his very compelling (and very funny) debut novel.

And now I'm stealing his idea.
Below is a list of songs you will find playing on radios and sung in kitchens in Every Time We Say Goodbye:
  • “My Melancholy Baby” by Bing Crosby
  • “Don’t Cry, Baby” by Bessie Smith
  • “You Belong to Me” by Patti Page
  • “Prisoner of Love” by Perry Como
  • “We’re Off to See the Wizard” by Judy Garland
  • “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson
  • "You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy
  • And of course, Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" (the Ella Fitzgerald rendition).

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