A few months back, I wrote posts about influences from movies, books, and games that went into creating The Thirteenth Hour. This is the last in that series and focuses on the music that went into writing the book. It’s mostly 80s material, which is probably why the theme music I wrote for the book trailer sounded like something out of an 80s movie.
I dunno, there’s something about the lonely wail of an electric guitar and the soft, swirling moan of a synthesizer that gets the creative juices flowing – at least for me 😉
I’ve linked the music below to videos and amazon.com when I could.
-Alphaville – “Forever Young” (amazon link)
When I first heard this song, I thought, “Man, this is a great song. I totally don’t understand the lyrics, but … who cares?” I also immediately thought it was from an 80s fantasy movie. It wasn’t (at least not to my knowledge) but has been used and sampled in countless movies, commercials, and other songs since.
In the original draft of The Thirteenth Hour, I added a quote from the lyrics at the end of the book. Since both the book and song touched on mortality and getting older, I thought I’d include a little homage to the song as a way to end the book:
So many adventures couldn’t happen today
So many songs we forgot to play
So many dreams swinging out of the blue
We let them come true
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
When I decided to publish the book, I actually contacted the band and asked about permission to reprint those lyrics. They routed me to the Hal Leonard Corp. in the USA, which publishes sheet music (and apparently also handles rights to song lyrics, which I didn’t know). I obtained the rights to reprint the lyrics in the US easily enough, but since Hal Leonard is a US only company, they had no jurisdiction outside the country. I tried one more lead but eventually shelved trying to obtain worldwide permission for another day (when I’ll hopefully have the help of someone who better knows how to do these kinds of things).
So, at this point, no copies of The Thirteenth Hour have these lyrics, but … there are always future editions. Until then, there’s this backstory and a link to the video.
-When in Rome – “The Promise” (amazon link)
Songs like “Forever Young” and “The Promise” by When in Rome were examples of the New Wave music that was popular in the 80s. By the time I finally became interested in music and could afford to buy tapes and, later, CDs, the genre was already out of date and the albums were getting hard to find in most stores. It was before the internet made it easy to obtain whatever music you wanted, so you had to go to a music store, like Sam Goody, and hope for the best. Sometimes the people working there could order the CD for you, but once I figured out that you could buy things on the internet, that became obsolete. But before giving up and going the online route, I’d usually try a used record store in the town where I went to college that had tons of used CDs and a dwindling collection of tapes. There was always a hopeful, though remote possibility they might have it and then there would be no need to wait for it to be shipped. (But it was hard to find what you wanted there unless you were able to commit to a few hours of hunting through the racks, CD by CD, fingers crossed, hoping you’d find what you were looking for. Most of the time, I didn’t, though I did find other albums I ended up liking.)
But this album by When in Rome I think I did find in a store. I forget where, but I must have been in high school since I know I had it when I was writing The Thirteenth Hour ; it was the music I imagined playing in the background when Logan was flying on Lightning for the first time, going to find Aurora. The lyrics didn’t quite fit the situation, but the general message of the song seemed appropriate at the time. In my early drafts, the romantic relationship between Logan and Aurora developed a lot quicker than it did in the final version, so the song fit better. I ended up changing the pacing of the romance to be slower and what I thought would be more realistic for two young people new to navigating the complicated, confusing game that love creates. However, whenever I hear this song, I still picture a pink-hued setting sun reflecting off snow-capped mountains and Logan, wind whistling through his hair, shooting past on Lightning, intent on finding his Aurora.
Maybe I’ll make a video or picture of that in the future, but until then, here’s the music video of the actual song.
-Tangerine Dream – “The Unicorn Theme” from Legend (amazon link)
I actually wrote about the music from the movie Legend before. The totally 80s sounding unicorn theme was, not surprisingly, my favorite track from the album and dare I say, my favorite part of the whole movie. But it wasn’t actually 100% complete on the album – they truncated it for some reason. I distinctly remember wishing they had included the whole thing, but I think later editions did, since you can hear it here.
The Jerry Goldsmith score used for European versions of the film, is more lyrical and doesn’t use synthesizers. It fits the movie in a way that makes it more timeless, while the synth Tangerine Dream version plants it firmly in the 80s, which, arguably, is not necessarily a bad thing 🙂 To me, it meant that fantasy could co-exist side-by-side with futuristic synthesizer sounds, which, though some may disagree, adds a bit of flair to the movie.
There’s an interesting retrospective look at the film, its version, and its score here.
-The Neverending Story OST (amazon link)
Like Legend above, while I touched on music from The Neverending Story before, it deserves special mention again since it’s clearly a soundtrack that fits well into the decade (came out in 1984). If it were made today, it would probably sound much different, but I would argue that there was something about the synthesized score and the upbeat Europop sounding theme song that fit the movie well. The score is as much a part of the character of the film as the visuals. Indiana Jones wouldn’t be Indiana Jones without his theme. Rocky wouldn’t be Rocky without a power ballad by Survivor. Jean Claude Van Damme jump hook kicking Bolo Yeung in Bloodpsort just wouldn’t be the same without the synthesized backing track. And The Neverending Story without its unique soundtrack would be, well, like The Neverending Story part 2.
Anyway, here’s the swirling cloud intro with the theme song. The hard-to-find soundtrack (some of which you can listen to here) deserves a listen as a whole if you like the film. Not surprisingly, when making the trailer for The Thirteenth Hour, I added some swirling cloud scenes as a homage to the film.
-The Prince Valiant cartoon OST (amazon link)
Prince Valiant was, in my opinion, an underrated cartoon that ran in the early 90s on the Family Channel. I remember it being on Sunday mornings and tried to watch it whenever I could, through I never caught all of the episodes (there were 65 total). The characters were likable, and there was an epic intro theme song, which was pretty kickass for a cartoon intro. It was, after all, about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, so maybe was all fitting. A soft rock ballad with a slightly more new-agey feel, the song also fit the time (early 90s).
A few years later, I found the soundtrack in the bargin bin of a local bookstore since it had a damaged case. Intrigued, I bought it. The theme song was as kickass as I remembered. This was before I knew much about mp3s or any other digital music, so it kind of sucked to buy an album and find you only liked one song. But I surprised myself by liking the rest of the CD, too. Like The Neverending Story OST, this one had a largely synthesized/electronic soundtrack that was probably largely a product of the time. Like the other music here, it provided inspiration for the theme I wrote for The Thirteenth Hour.
-Van Halen – “When It’s Love” (amazon link)
Unlike the others on this list, this Van Halen power ballad isn’t New Wave, but it has this synthesized intro (full song here) that I’ve always liked and is the music I pictured playing in the background as Logan and Aurora get married at the end of the book.
As the song comes to a close, there’s one last synthesized break, and I always pictured them flying away into the setting sun on Lightning, off to find a better life of their own making on their island of purple mountains and wild horses.
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- Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpcIUpwTiFY
- Listen to a free podcast of the book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-thirteenth-hour-audio/id955932074
- Download two free shorts in The Thirteenth Hour universe here: https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/two-new-thirteenth-hour-stories-are-now-out/
- Purchase The Thirteenth Hour for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/The-Thirteenth-Hour-Joshua-Blum/dp/1505792673/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=thethihou-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=UDBZIFI4NFSPCHG6&creativeASIN=1505792673
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