Friday, September 9, 2016

"Action Men with Silly Putty": The Soundtrack, Part 1

For some reason, this book ended up having a kind of soundtrack. In most of the fiction I have done, music has served some sort of inspirational purpose, but it was sometimes "behind the scenes," not something that came out in the actual writing. There might be songs that I would play over and over again during some stage of the creative process, because it inspired me to write about a particular character or scene, but the song itself was not part of the story. With "Action Men with Silly Putty," I found that quite a few song titles actually got mentioned within the context of the story and that this trend continued throughout. Thus, my book ended up with a soundtrack.

I want to share that with you. In some places, I can share some lines of context and some places not in case it should prove to be a spoiler.

It's also a fairly eclectic soundtrack with songs from jazz, rock, country, Broadway, even opera and classical.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

In the beginning, we meet a suspect with two differently colored eyes, heterochromia iridum.

"I started to whistle 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.' It wasn’t my favorite song in the world as I’m not too fond of getting looped up and seeing pink elephants or walruses with egg men or whatever it is you’re supposed to see while under the influence, but it was that line 'the girl with the kaleidoscope eyes.' It seemed fitting." From this point on, this suspect comes to be known as Kaleidoscope Eyes.

"Rubber Ball"

Jack Donegal is a toy inventer and the owner of his own toy business, Out of the Box Toys. His buddy Andy Westin is his marketing manager. The "Rubber Ball" song comes out in the context of a musical ball in their toy line.

"Are You Going To San Francisco?"

Although my sleuths, Jack Donegal and Andy Westin, are New Jersey natives, the opening scenes take place in California and San Francisco.

At some point, Jack persuades Andy to don a disguise in the chapter "We Become Spies At the Expense of My Dignity." Jack picks out a loud rainbow tie-dye T-shirt -- a beaded one -- for Andy at a Salvation Army thrift store.

"'Are you sure this is men’s wear?' I asked. 

I actually took the hanger from him and sniffed at the shirt cautiously, expecting to detect traces of a five-leafed plant. I inspected the tag, but there was nothing to indicate how gender neutral it was … or not. “Don’t worry,” said Jack. “You’ll fit right in with the culture.” I’d fit right in with the culture, all right, providing it was a subculture of hippie Indian chiefs. I remembered that ‘60s song about the gentle people you’d meet in San Francisco, you know, the ones with flowers in their hair. I would have to draw a line at flowers in the hair. I eyed Jack with caution, almost as if he could read my mind. I ran a hand through my summer crew cut, relieved that my hair would not hold a flower even if I tried it."  

"Mission Impossible Theme"

The next few songs are mentioned in the context of a chapter titled "Music as Psychological Warfare and the Most Esoteric Security Code Imaginable"

"Soul Bossa Nova"

"I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General"

"Bad Boys"

These two songs "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" and "One Way or Another" were actually listed separately but close together in this chapter. While I was writing though, I did a lot of listening to this Glee medley of both songs.

"Hit Me with Your Best Shot/One Way or Another"

There's actually quite a few more, and it makes a long list, so I think I will leave some for a new installment. 


  1. Wow...this was just an added bonus to your book...Loved hearing the songs you talked about!

    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I'll have to continue this as there are a lot more. :)