Thursday, April 22, 2010

Best Love Song Ever!

There's a song by Ray Charles called Come Live With Me, and it's the best love song ever. The first line, "Come love with me, and be my love," reads precisely like John Donne's The Bait or Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd To His Love. I don't know who wrote the version Mr. Charles sang, but you'll turn to quicksilver after hearing it. In my women's fiction novel, Charm Bracelet, this is Kate and Simon's song. If you haven't heard it, go to the iTunes store and give it a listen. Come Live With Me is one of Ray's lesser known strokes of genius. (It's no secret, I'm a huge Ray Charles fan. He's brilliant! He inspires me even more than Daniel Craig.)

A few years ago, I put together a playlist for Valentine's Day. It's comprised of sweet music. Songs like: Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding, Cry To Me by Solomon Burke, Over The Rainbow by Johnny Mathis, and lots of Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald. I play this, and I don't have to think about the words at all. I know these songs so well. They don't distract, they create a warm, honeyed atmosphere.

Maggie Hathaway, the obsessive-compulsive main character in my novel The Second Life, is bitter and angry. She hates herself and feels undeserving of happiness. Maggie is a cutter without the knife. When I write about her, I listen to loud, aggressive music. Think Breaking Benjamin or Blue October. Ben O'Connor, one part of a love triangle in this story, is complex. At first, you think you know him, and then you learn that his father is a convicted murderer on death row. This explains a lot when we discover his secret life. I play Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and AC/DC for Ben.

I have an extensive collection of classical to soothe my soul if I need to focus when I'm writing a quiet passage, and if I'm just brainstorming or having fun blogging, I listen to Led Zepplin, The Stones, Aerosmith, Kings of Leon, or Nickelback.

What is your best song ever? Who do you listen to for your varied writing moods?

P.S. My husband and I have a long-running dispute. One of us prefers saying "Seriously?" when we respond with incredulity, while the other insists that "Really?" is better. Example: "You want to borrow my last $20.00 bucks? Seriously?" or "I'm taking your mother to the movies. Really?"

Cast your vote! Which do you prefer?


  1. Seriously is a little funnier, but it's all in the delivery.

    RC and DC. I like that you use music to help you focus on your character.

    I listen to my iPod on its dock, and fast forward to songs, depending on my mood (sappy, weepy, dancy, other). Certain songs stick in my head for certain manuscripts.

    My best song ever has changed. "Bad" by U2 is inspiring. I love "A Message" by Coldplay. Sia's "Breathe Me" and "Day too Soon" are beautiful. And speaking of, The Flaming Lip's "Do You Realize" and Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" are two of my favorites.

  2. I prefer "Seriously?" or the DOUBLE "Really Really?" (think Shrek)

    As for my best song ever...I couldn't begin to go there. My memories and sensations are all tied to music, so my best-song-ever list is very long. However, I will mention one song that rests all curled up in my heart and always brings back the memory of one very special guy. It's a Spanish song by Mexican singer Luis Miguel, called El Reloj (The Clock), and it begs time to stand still to make this moment last.

  3. Can I say that Ray Charles is my personal favorite. Ever. And I never say seriously always really? I don't like seriously. Why say 4 syllables when you can say 2?

  4. I'm cheesy, but I love "My Cherie Amor" because it was the song my husband and I recessed to from our wedding. :-)

    I like "really?", but we usually say "for real?"

  5. AC/DC!! for those about to ROCK! oh and Deep Purple. And Rainbow.


    Oh but seriously and really!

    Oh Ok maybe Ray Charles wins a smidge over Monsieur Craig!

    And song ever is too hard to decide. My current one though is Bach - Air on a G String (oh Lady Gaga's Bad Romance comes a very close second). They don't really help me write anything. I just listen to them and cry.

    Seriously and really.


    take care

  6. You guys are the best! I am so excited to listen to those songs you mentioned. I have a problem with buying from iTunes. Now that I've admitted my addiction, I need to enter a 12 step compulsive music-buyer program.

  7. Songs-wise...Nick Cave every time. A poet and he know(s) it. And, despite his skinniness, he's dead sexy in the flesh.

    In Scotland we say neither 'Seriously' or 'Really' but prefer 'Aye, right!'

    Milt x

  8. I say both seriously and really, depending on my mood and the person I'm talking too.

    I can't possibly say what my favourite love song is. I'm terrible at choosing favourites although I did bite the bullet and post on my blog about this months ago. The post is called Entertainment Meme.


  9. I'm going to out myself one is ever going to have heard of this song, but I love "Somebody" by Depeche Mode. Maybe because I heard it the first time during the height of puberty, I dunno.

    The one song that makes me cry every time I hear it is "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. The day my daughter went to be with her new adoptive family, I went with my parents to listen to their favorite jazz band. They played that song at the exact time they were scheduled to fly her home.

  10. Milton- You now have me intrigued with Nick Cave. Dead sexy, huh? I'll definitely look him up. And I think I'll try "Aye, right!" on my husband soon.

    MissV- Hey, I remember Depeche Mode! I also love Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World. I imagine it would bring back memories when you listen to it.

  11. Inspires you more than Daniel Craig! Wow, that's huge.

    I say, "really?" but I've heard it both ways.

  12. Here's what you do next time...

    I'm taking your last 20. Just sayin'.
    I'm taking Mom to the movies. Just sayin'.

    I love music and have pandora on whenever I need to find a mental spot. My tastes run to slower, lovey songs in a number of different catagories. Classic rock, folk, country, 80's hits... I just can't do AC/DC or Metallica--even if my character warranted it. I can't think with that music on. :D

  13. I like Seriously. My teenage granddaughter says it all the time. The group I love is Journey.

  14. I say 'really?' all the time so I vote for that one. :o)

  15. Wow, I think seriously and really are almost neck and neck at this point with seriously only slightly in the lead. Thanks for the scientific data!

    Bethanne and Jan - I've loved discovering your blogs, and I appreciate you visiting mine. :)

  16. Odd I know, but my favourite song would be Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat sung by Jennifer Warnes.
    My favourite piece of music is Mozart's Clarinet Quintet it is sooo relaxing.
    But I have to write in total quiet, I can't zone out any sound.


    Publish or Perish

  17. Seriously, hands down :) And more than Mr. Craig *Seriously?* ;)

    I love the way you make playlists for your different characters. Coolness!

    My favorite song changes a lot, but right now I'm loving "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars.

    And a long standing favorite is "Yellow" by Coldplay

  18. Great song!! I have so many favorites that I can't even begin to start listing the most inspirational or meaningful ones. I have playlists for every possible mood :)

  19. My dad always listened to Ray Charles so I have a soft spot in my heart for him too. Great song.

  20. Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me is so tragic and real. I love that one.

  21. To MissV: I know "Somebody" by Depeche Mode. In fact, I loved that song and had the lyrics written on a piece of stationery and taped inside my personal journal. You know, visualization technique.

  22. I never listen to music when I'm writing. I just find it so distracting.

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Oh, I like seriously! Totally sounds like something I'd say.

    And you know, I love having music for my characters. It makes me feel so much closer to them. I think when you know your characters really well, the music just comes to you.

    I'll have to go check that song out. Such a romantic, sweet poem, too.

  24. Love me some Ray Charles music! My mom intro'd me to his music (and Percy Sledge), and I can never listen without thinking of her.

    As for the vote, chalk me up for "seriously?" If it's a really out-there comment, it deserves a "are you outta your evah-lovin' mind?"

    But like exclamation points, moderation is the key. :-)

  25. I gotta go with "really?" That's my first response.

    "Seriously" is what I say when I am trying to ascertain whether the statement is truly BS or not. So it indicates a higher order of incredulity. But "really?" is my go-to for common, garden-variety nonsense.

  26. I love so many great love songs and I channel them when I'm writing my romance, I love Aerosmith, Don't wanna miss a thing a lot and come what may in Moulin Rouge.

    I vote for seriously?

  27. I must admit, I'm a tad-bit jealous of you tonight. Rarely does my husband read my blog. But tonight, after reading your post, he is addicted to blogspot. He loves blues, jazz, etc..., so you had him at Hello! BTW, I posted an award for you tonight:-) Hope your son had a fabulous b'day, and I'm saying prayers for you tonight. I dread the day my children turn 16...sure you're doing fine, though.

  28. Awesome post, Roxy. I love all your song/musician choices...and I too am a MAJOR music addict. And my taste runs the gamut...I call myself a musical (and literary) omnivore.

    ...and to MissV: I LOVE Depeche Mode!! (I'm a lifetime fan. They're still putting out great music..their new album is tremendous) I know and love that song (and Policy of Truth always works for me too).

    I also love Nick Cave (and loved him in the 80's when he played in a band that I doubt anyone would remember but me...but he was SO gorgeous back then)

    There are SO many beautiful, passionate LOVE songs out there, but a couple that I frequently write to:

    In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel

    Feels Like Rain by John Hiatt

    Destiny by Zero7

    An AWESOME song to write to when you have a parting of ways/divorce/pain scene...and before you think 'Yikes!', just give it a whirl:
    Snuff by Slipknot.
    (it's ballad-ish, believe it or not, and the lead singer wrote it when going through his divorce. It's powerful and works to get me in that head space for writing a scene like that, every time.)

    I use both 'seriously' and 'for real'.

    Happy Birthday to your son!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  29. Thanks for your entertaining comments. Music and writing. There aren't many things better.

    I will pick up my blog on Monday because our family has been hit by a bad flu. All yesterday, I had five kids lying on my bed with me watching television. Kind of fun, if we had not been so sick. :(

  30. Seriously, I like "seriously."

    As far as songs go, I have songs for significant points in my life. But the overall theme song that always seems to fit is "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley.

  31. I'll have to check out the Ray Charles love song. Mine is Unchained Love, though I don't know if the Righteous Bros. wrote it or not. Now I'm going to have to think about favorite songs for my characters. Fun!

  32. Seriously is better because it's "in". Seriously. I also like the way it sounds.

    Music: My drama is a bit of a musical. The Moxie Mamas (that's what I ended up naming my girl group) like songs from the 40's, 50's, and 60's. A couple they're doing - It's in his Kiss, and You don't own Me.

    Music is a prime source of inspiration for me, too. When I wrote some children's dramas (short stuff), I turned on my Mary Poppins CD - it's the full length version.

  33. I listen to the music I loved when I was a teen, no matter how embarassing it seems now. its the time when u were more receptive to new ideas

    @Lola I love that song 'In Your Eyes' too!

  34. I'm so sorry you're sick :(:(

    We just got over that! Yucky.

  35. I'm in the 'seriously?' group - I say it all the time too!