If you’re a music lover like me, the songs that were playing in the background during life’s most memorable moments—i.e the first kiss, a heart-wrenching break-up, while laughing hysterically on an amusement park ride—somehow got catalogued in the brain for all eternity, and whenever they are reheard, trigger a vivid flashback to the moment they made their impactful impression. Sometimes the recollections are smile-inducing. Sometimes they provoke a good cry. Always, they have me singing along.
While writing the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes, I listened to a lot of music, and because I was plucking story arcs from my teenage/young-adult experiences (first love, coming-of-age, hanging out at parties, taking road trips with my friends), I got nostalgic and listened to my own buried-in-the-back-of-the-brain favourites. A word of warning, there’s a segment of the soundtrack-of-my-youth that is timeless and classic, like The Ramones, Jackson Browne, Badfinger, The Who, The Allman Brothers Band, Bruce Springsteen, Queen etc; there’s another segment that is a collection of really bad one hits wonders; and on a seriously-wish-we-could-forget level, there’s a final segment that involves phrases like Boogie-Oogie-Oogie. Regardless of the flavour, it’s all fun to listen to … once in a while.
For fun, I kept a log of some of those old songs, the ones that I thought conveyed Francie Lanoo’s sentiment during the most poignant moments of her life. I’ve listed a selection of them below, and would suggest to readers that they simultaneously listen to the songs while working their way through IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes.
Sure, the exercise will probably result in a few eye-rolls, groans, and mumblings of the word hokey, but I bet it’ll also result in some smiles and emotional ahhhs.
(Quick Clarification: IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes’ chapters aren’t actually called chapters, they’re called FOOT NOTES … because the book is about shoes and feet and such. Get it?)
FOOT NOTE ONE (during The Big Bang Moment) Suggested Song: I SAW THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES Artist: Todd Rungren
FOOT NOTE TWO (At the Dance, Before Francie & Berkeley First Speak) Suggested Song: I’D LOVE YOU TO WANT ME Artist: Lobo
FOOT NOTE TWO (during The First Dance Together) Suggested Song: MAKE IT WITH YOU Artist: Bread
FOOT NOTE TWO (while Francie and Berkeley are Sitting in a Tree) Suggested Song: I WANNA BE WITH YOU Artist: The Raspberries
FOOT NOTE SIX (on the First Valentine’s Day) Suggested Song: BABY I LOVE YOU Artist: Andy Kim
FOOT NOTE SEVEN (at Berkeley’s Birthday Party) Suggested Song: LAY A LITTLE LOVIN’ ON ME Artist: Robin McNamara
FOOT NOTE FOURTEEN (Post Francie’s Ski Trip) Suggested Song: JUST GIMME SOME KIND OF SIGN Artist: Sattalites
FOOT NOTE TWENTY (While Playing With the Mistletoe) Suggested Song: GO ALL THE WAY Artist: Eric Carmen &The Raspberries
FOOT NOTE THIRTY (Francie in Italy) Suggested Song: SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH ME Artist: Austin Roberts
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-ONE (New Year’s Eve Party) Suggested Song: NEVER GONNA FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Artist: Eric Carmen
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-FIVE (At The R.H. High School Graduation Dance) Suggested Song: MAKE ME DO ANYTHING YOU WANT Artist: A Foot in Cold Water
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-SIX (when Francie and Berkeley Head Off to College) Suggested Song: FOOL (IF YOU THINK IT’S OVER) Artist: Chris Rea
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-EIGHT (Meeting Garner Vale) Suggested Song: SO INTO YOU Artist: Atlanta Rhythm Section
FOOT NOTE FORTY-ONE (Reminiscing During The College Years) Suggested Song: CRAZY LOVE Artist: Poco
FOOT NOTE FORTY-FIVE (At the Cemetery) Suggested Song: JUST REMEMBER I LOVE YOU Artist: Firefall
FOOT NOTE FORTY-NINE (After Saying Goodbye in the Airport) Suggested Song: WITHOUT YOU Artist: Harry Nilsson
FOOT NOTE FIFTY (At College Graduations, Worlds Apart) Suggested Song: YOU ARE EVERYTHING Artist: The Stylistics
FOOT NOTE FIFTY-ONE (during Francie’s Time in London) Suggested Song: I AIN’T GOT TIME ANYMORE Artist: The Glass Bottle
FOOT NOTE FIFTY-SIX (Francie Solo Dancing) Suggested Song: DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT Artist: Baha Men
FOOT NOTE FIFTY-SEVEN (Nostalgic Drive Around Town) Suggested Song: LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Artist: Rose Royce
FOOT NOTE FIFTY-EIGHT (Dancing with Robert Matthews) Suggested Song: EVERYTHING I OWN Artist: Bread
EPILOGUE (In The Hammock) Suggested Song: EVERLASTING LOVE Artist: Carl Carlton
The novel contains a whopping 59 chapters, correction: FOOT NOTES, so this list only provides background music for roughly half of the story. If any musically-inclined readers are interested, feel free to suggest some other songs to fill in the blank spots (from any era of music, not just my golden-oldie era). Or, if a reader believes that my musical associations (listed above) are way off base, please send a list recommended replacements. I’m all ears.