Evolution of Local Boy Covers

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Ago 29 2008, 21h06

My novel Timely Persuasion features a musician named Local Boy in the years 1969 & 70. When we first meet him he's playing cover songs. Here's some info on the songs he chose and the songs he left out excerpted from the book's blog.

In the very first draft (circa 2003), the songs were:

I’ll Follow The Sun
We Can Work It Out
In My Life
Everyday
I Walk the Line

Two of the final five are already present (”We Can Work It Out” & “Everyday”). As for the others:

I’ll Follow The Sun
Included because it’s acoustic and simple, but dropped since the narrator previously referred to it while finding his way around town.

In My Life
Chosen for the time travel imagery the song evokes, and possibly also because Johnny Cash covered it. Dropped for the same reasons and to not have multiple Beatles songs.

I Walk The Line
Honestly I don’t recall why I picked this, which probably explains why I dropped it. Probably classified Cash as one of the “rock and roll forefathers” that the narrator’s Dad influenced him with in his younger years.

The next iteration:

Homeward Bound
People Are Strange
We Can Work It Out
Everyday
Sugar, Sugar
All Along the Watchtower

The set expands to six and now contains four of the final five. Also of note is a comment I found scribbled in the margin of a previous draft:

Nick Drake? Rod Stewart? Homeward Bound?”

Only one of those notes (temporarily) made it in, but the influence was felt. Remember this for later…

Notes on the discarded songs:

Homeward Bound
An obvious choice to connect the dots between the Dad calling Paul Simon “one of the greats” in a previous chapter. Would have loved to have kept this one, but it didn’t fit the final theme of the cover set.

Sugar, Sugar
The Billboard Single of the Year for 1969, and coincidentally just wrapping up four weeks at #1 on the charts the day our hero arrives in ‘69. Made sense that Local Boy would be covering something that was really big at the time, and when I did the pop chart research it felt like a perfect choice. Dropped for the same reason as “Homeward Bound,” I think that this cover probably popped up on a few of Local Boy’s tours from time to time and might even be on the LBBS live album.

And now for the final version in the actual book:

People Are Strange
We Can Work It Out
Everyday
Piece of My Heart
All Along the Watchtower

Remember that Nick Drake note? Seems it subconsciously put dead musicians in my head, which set things up for the final theme of this set of covers.

People Are Strange
Chapter 16 originally started off with the death of Jim Morrison, but was later changed to Jimi Hendrix when I rewrote it to include the narrator predicting the other members of the 27 club to Local Boy. Can you say foreshadowing?

We Can Work It Out
Included from the very beginning, I kept it to dovetail with the “Paul Is Dead” reference earlier in the book. Incidentally, Paul was 27 in 1969. I also liked how having Local Boy do this song famously in 1969/70 might have stolen the thunder from Stevie Wonder’s 1971 cover, furthering the unexplored impact of stolen songs.

Everyday
Also included from the first draft, this should have/could have put the theme in my head from the start. Just a great classic song and one that showcases the simple LB style I envisioned. The lyrics also evoke time & love, making it a good fit.

Piece of My Heart
Like Coverville’s Brian Ibbott, I’m also fascinated by gender swapping covers and had to include Local Boy doing Janis in his repertoire.

All Along The Watchtower
See the Jimi/Jim note above. In my head this version sounds like LB doing a folk version of Hendrix rather than Dylan, making for a deliciously interesting translation from folky Dylan to electric Hendrix and back to folky Local Boy.

Learn more about the book at www.timelypersuasion.com.

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