Heartfelt thanks to everyone who entered my competition and nominated a song for the karaoke scene in my new novel, The Half-Child. Yes, we finally have a title.
Within 24 hours of publicising the competition, I knew this was one of the smartest things I’d done all year! Combining the suggestions left on the blog with those received by email and on Facebook, I had a promising list of 50 songs and a great excuse to hang out on YouTube for a few days.
I was intrigued by the different interpretations placed on the criteria, especially when it came to ‘heroic/romantic’. Suggestions ranged from such classics as ‘Come rain or come shine’, ‘When a man loves a woman’ and ‘All I need is the air that I breathe’ to some outré choices like Life at the Outpost and Wild Horses — the latter described as “the sleeziest and creepiest sexy song from the 80s”.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was the most nominated song, suggested by three people and one I might well file away for future reference. A couple of people also nominated the song I’d originally come up with but couldn’t secure the rights to.
Some people drew on their own karaoke experience; I never knew how many of my friends enjoy a stint behind the microphone. It makes it all the more tempting to follow up on Lanie’s suggestion of a karaoke night for the book launch.
Funnily enough, several nominated songs already feature in the karaoke scene in my novel: ‘Delilah’, nominated by Cousin Mary, was already allocated to a group of drunken Australian, Irish and English men, as was ‘Love me tender’, nominated by Rachel B; ‘I Swear’, suggested by Kate J, is performed in the novel by a group of Thais. And thanks to Khim for ‘I’ll be there’, which I’ve subsequently included in the scene.
I had to disqualify a couple of songs as too recent, or because they featured in movie soundtracks. And as much as I wanted to use a Bon Jovi song–honourable mentions to Kirsten and Kate J for those nominations–the thought of liaising with four different music publishing companies over the rights was too much, even for a fan like me. Likewise, the restricted access to official Prince video clips on YouTube did not bode well for permissions.
Many songs ‘could’ve been contenders’, to paraphrase Terry Malloy, Marlon Brando’s chracter in On the Waterfront. But I had to factor in the character, the era and the setting to determine which best fitted the scene. ‘I’m gonna be (500 miles)’, for example, could have worked beautifully in another context, but not with this character. And I didn’t want to give too much away in that regard without potentially spoiling the plot of the book.
So don’t take it personally if yours wasn’t the successful choice. It’s like darkdirk nominating ‘More than a feeling’: he wasn’t to know there’s a character in the book called Maryanne, thus putting a completely different spin on the lyrics (I see my Marianne walkin’ away…).
And a vote of thanks to the LyricsFreak, whose website made my task a whole lot easier.
And the winner is…
…I can’t say. Sorry. However, I will email the person whose suggestion I’m running with.
I have to sort out permission to use the lyrics and I don’t want to say anything that might jeopardise my chances. Plus if I can’t get permission, I’ll have to re-write the scene without reference to any lyrics at all.
I guess you’ll have to read The Half-Child to find out what happens in the end.
The Half-Child will be published by Text in September 2010.