Sunday, August 19, 2012

Calling the Show's Eclectic Soundtrack

Calling the Show was originally going to be about singing, not hula hooping. Sim was going to be this really great singer, and Jesse had a good voice but was too nervous to sing in front of people, so Sim gave him lessons and they bonded over Broadway duets. I scrapped that partway through the outline, and I’m glad I did. But some vestiges of the duet idea remain.

“Mama, A Rainbow,” the song that depresses Sim when Jesse listens to it in the car, was going to be Jesse’s big solo. It’s a gorgeous song from a 70s musical about the Marx Brothers called Minnie’s Boys. Jesse’s such a mama’s boy that it’s pretty perfect. Here are a couple of versions of it. The first is a more stylized/modernized version sung by Broadway actor Jesse Nager. Quite different from the Jim Nabors original, but I think some of the notes he hits are really impressive. Here it is.

If you want to hear something closer to the classic, here’s a rendition by Terry Hicks.

Some of the other songs the boys were going to do that I listened to a lot during the writing process were “Something Good” (Sound of Music), “I’d Rather Be Sailing” (A New Brain) “Only He” (Starlight Express – that was totally going to be Sim’s solo), and “You Were Meant for Me” (The Object of My Affection – this song still got a mention in CtS). So yeah, a lot of Broadway playing in the background while I wrote this book.

And a lot of Foreigner.

I made the mistake one night of asking myself how I’d describe Jesse’s overarching objective in the book. My answer? “I think he really just wants to know what love is.”

I knew it was a mistake as soon as the words were out of my brain-mouth, but it was too late. Lou Gramm was already in my head, singing “I Want to Know What Love Is.” So I started listening to that a lot. And from there it was just a small step to “Feel’s Like the First Time” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You.”

I also added one of my all-time favorite songs, Sammy Hagar’s “When Love Walks In,” to the writing soundtrack, because it seemed appropriate to both Jesse and Sim. Plus it mentions masters and slaves.

Come on, you know you want to listen to it. Click here and feel awesome for the rest of the day.

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