Character Theme Songs

I love theme songs, and at a tender young age, I decided that if Princess Leia, Shaft, James Bond, and... heck, even Gilligan could have one, so could I (Voco's cover of the Jr. Walker classic "Cleo's Back" was my choice at the time, since I sometimes went by the nickname Cleo. I still wish I were half as cool as that song.)

Since that time, many of my books' characters have had their own personal theme songs. From HEAT LIGHTNING, community crusader Luz Maria Montoya rocked to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down." As I wrote another heroine from an upcoming book, I repeatedly played Tracy Chapman's "Change" because the lyrics represented the character's journey so beautifully.

The cool thing is, even years and years after I've written a manuscript (and I'm including a small mountain of unpublished work here), whenever I hear a song I've come to associate with a particular character, I'm instantly snapped back to that individual and his/her story. Most of the time, there's no mention of the music in the book itself, but it serves as a valuable, evocative anchor, a touchpoint for emotion.

But now I'm curious. Do any of your characters have theme songs? Or does the story itself? Anyone brave enough to share here, just for fun?


Suzan Harden said…
LOL - I create entire soundtracks for my novels. They get me in the mood when I write. So of course, each heroine has her own theme song.

The DH laughs at the range though. Mozart's Sonata in A Major for my Amish vampire, Whitney Houston's Queen of the Night for my zombie, Superchick's One Girl Revolution for my vampire slayer, and Defying Gravity from Wicked for my witch (duh!).
Phyllis said…
I also do a soundtrack... then I end up playing a single song over and over and over again.

Right now, I'm humming the theme from Sanford and Son, because one of my characters has a junky house.
Joni Rodgers said…
I am SO calling you Cleo from now on!
And you'll find I answer to it, Joni (though I have only one childhood pal left who calls me that) -- but you have to a least hum the theme song, too.

Suzan, ROFLMAO over the Amish vampire. What a wicked awesome concept!

Phyllis - Haven't thought of Sanford & Son in years. The song was great -- and Red Fox's clutching his chest and yelling, "Sell my clothes, I'm coming to heaven, Elizabeth!"
Jan Crow said…
How funny that you picked this topic. I was working on my story the other night and came up with her theme song. My character's theme song is Reach Out by the Four Tops. Sanzy loves the song and later realizes that he has to learn to reach out to others for help. Smile.

Yay! I'm so glad other people have theme songs for their books and characters! It seems so very natural to me! My hero and heroine of my upcoming Dorchester debut, Miss Percy Parker and Professor Alexi Rychman, their theme song is a beautiful song called "Beloved" by VNV Nation, a British Goth/electronica band. It's a bit anachronistic of course to have an electronica theme in my head for my Victorian set story, but the fantasy and Gothic elements play into the eternal and epic scope of the lyrics so perfectly- it's simply theirs, and the lyrics inspired a whole scene in the novel. I got to tell that to the lead singer of the band in person and that was a really special experiece.

Great post!
These are all so delicious! Thanks for sharing, everybody.
EmilyBryan said…
My theme songs are so totally not cool. Since I write historicals I pick classical music. I'm currently writing STROKE OF GENIUS (due out summer 2010) to Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto (You may remember this as the Rach 3 from the fabulous movie about David Helfgott called SHINE.)

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