Mariko Tamaki, author of This One Summer talks about music, summer, and it's influence on the new book.
When I was a kid, every summer had a song.
Richie Valens’ ‘La Bamba,’ Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA.’ The theme song from Beverly Hills Cop.
This was music for summer. Some of it mostly for choreographed dance routines, played out in the living room on the stringy cottage carpet or in the water where no one could actually see what was going on. Some of spread out on long nights on the porch, roasting in front of bonfires.
When I was little, the cottage seemed to me to be a place where you could listen to music in a way you never did in the city. In the city, music was for your room, or just generally listened to in isolation, or in the car. Small spaces. In the summer music was for everywhere. It was also something that could take up your whole day, because that was what summer was like back then, kind of endless.
As part of the writing process for This One Summer, I put together a summer mix of all my favorite tunes. It included not only the above but also a lot of Beach Boys, some RUSH (who made it into the final comic), as well as classics like Kim Mitchell’s ‘Patio Lanterns’ and Bryan Adams ‘Summer of 69,’ Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’ and, finally Metallica.
Also, because I knew it would be effective, and not because I have any partiality to it, I threw in a little Dirty Dancing Soundtrack.
Let me just say, for the, Beach Boys especially, it was almost impossible to listen to this stuff and NOT be flooded with inspiration. I mean, how can you hear ‘Barbara Ann’ and not smell suntan lotion?
It was interesting, to me, to note how the different music connected so strongly with me with different times in my cottage kid career. The Beach Boys was all about my dad, for me, and the years being at the summer was about being a kid, and listening to the summer music my parents served up like corn on the cob, peach pie and ice cream. Ditto Dirty Dancing, which was the only movie playing in the local movie theatre, which my mother also loved and dragged us to on an almost weekly basis the summer I was 10 (or so). Bryan Adams was the start of me picking my own music, tuning in on the radio and turning up songs either really loud or too loud depending on your interpretation. And then, finally, Metallica, the band of choice for the local boys, discovered when I hit fourteen, who sometimes invited my friends and me down to the beach to serenade us. (Because of this particular set of boys, I will never hear Metallica’s music and not associate it with the strum of a poorly tuned acoustic guitar).
This One Summer is a tribute to all these songs and, hopefully, if it works for you, a crossroads where all this music meets. It’s a cottage mix tape of summer life moments for all the adults who know ‘Don’t Worry Baby,’ and for the kids who are inventing their own summer music memories as we speak.
I hope when you read it you smell a little summer too. That would be awesome.
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