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Every Story Has a Soundtrack

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

When I’m writing, nothing brings me into a story like music. It sets the stage and shows me the history in a very active way. Music pulls me in so that I’m center stage with my characters. It helps me see the world through their eyes and feel what they are feeling.

Joie Lesin, Speculative Fiction Author, "Every Story Has a Soundtrack"

Part of my writing process includes listening to the book’s music to set the mood and help the story to percolate before I sit down to create. Depending on the scene, I may not always have the music playing while I write but it gives me a jumping off place. I listen and it transports me to my version of the place and time. Just like that I’ve traveled through time, and I’m immersed.

When I wrote The Passenger, the “soundtrack”—which was an assortment of CDs and vinyl albums—consisted of music from the 1940s.

She’s a 1940s ghost whisperer. He’s the son of a ghost.

I’ve recreated my playlist on Spotify (as I now do for all my books). So, here’s a look at the music that helped set the stage.

The Passenger song list:

1 Solitude Billie Holiday

2 Candy Johnny Mercer, Jo Stafford

3 It's Been a Long, Long Time Kitty Kallen, Henry James

4 Jumpin' at The Woodside Duke Ellington, Count Basie

5 I've Heard That Song Before Henry Names, Hellen Forrest

6 G.I. Jive Johnny Mercer, Paul Weston and His Orchestra

7 La Vie en rose Edith Piaf

8 On The Atchison, Topeka & The Sante Fe Johnny Mercer, Jo Stafford, The Pied Pipers

9 Dream The Pied Pipers

10 Maizy Doats The Pied Pipers

11 A Bushel and A Peck Perry Como, Betty Hutton

12 Green Eyes Glenn Miller & The Dorsey Brothers

13 Chattanooga Choo Choo Glenn Miller

14 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy The Andrew Sisters

15 Stuff Like That There Betty Hutton, Robert Norberg

16 The Gettleman Is a Dope Jo Stafford

17 Murder, He Says Betty Hutton

18 On The Sunny Side of The Street Billie Holiday

19 It's Only a Paper Moon Ella Fitzgerald, The Delta Rhythm Boys

20 P.S. I Love You Billie Holiday

21 How High the Moon? Benny Goodman

22 Someone To Watch Over Me Ella Fitzgerald

23 Bewitched Ella Fitzgerald, London Symphony Orchestra

24 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Harry Connick, Jr.

25 Sentimental Journey Doris Day, Les Brown & His Orchestra

26 It Had to Be You Harry Connick, Jr.

27 Pennsylvania 6-5000 Glenn Miller

28 Dream A Little Dream of Me Louis Armstrong

29 It Had to Be You Betty Hutton, Robert Norberg

30 I'm In the Mood for Love Nat King Cole Trio

31 (I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo Glenn Miller

32 Georgia On My Mind Jo Stafford, Paul Weston and His Orchestra

33 Walkin' My Baby Bake Home Jo Stafford, Paul Weston and His Orchestra

34 Sunrise Serenade Glenn Miller

35 A String of Pearls Glenn Miller

36 Moonlight Serenade Glenn Miller

37 In the Mood Glenn Miller

38 Tuxedo Junction Glenn Miller

39 Tampico Stan Kenton & His Orchestra, June Christy

40 I Cover the Waterfront Billie Holiday

41 Stuff Like That There Betty Hutton

42 Harlem Nocturne Johnny Otis

43 I Fall in Love Too Easily Frank Sinatra

44 I Fall in Love Too Easily Chet Baker

45 Lover Man Billie Holiday

46 It Might as Well Be Spring Dick Haymes

47 If I Had You Benny Goodman Sextet

48 A Kiss to Build a Dream On Louis Armstrong

49 Rhapsody in Blue Duke Ellington

50 Jersey Bounce Ella Fitzgerald

51 Straighten Up and Fly Right Nat King Cole Trio

52 Jersey Bounce Benny Goodman, Marge & Gower Champion

53 Ac-Cent-Tchu-ate The Positive Johnny Mercer, The Pied Pipers, Paul Weston and His Orchestra

54 Blue Moon Billie Holiday

55 Little Brown Jug Glenn Miller

56 ... I Cover the Waterfront The Ink Spots

57 On the Sunny Side of the Street Tommy Dorsey

58 Body And Soul Billie Holiday

59 Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree Glenn Miller, The Andrew Sisters

60 All of Me Louis Armstrong

61 All of Me Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra

62 One For My Baby (And One More for The Road) Johnny Mercer, Paul Weston and His Orchestra

63 How Deep Is the Ocean Billie Holiday

64 Shoo-Shoo Baby The Andrew Sisters

65 Le Vie en rose Josephine Baker

66 A Kiss to Build a Dream On Louis Armstrong

67 Someone to Watch Over Me Blossom Dearie

Until next time, what songs would be on the soundtrack of your life?

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About the Author

Joie Lesin, Author of Speculative Fiction

Minnesota-based author, Joie Lesin is a life-long fiction writer and the author of The Passenger. She has long been fascinated by anything otherworldly including ghosts. She loves to write a good ghost story—especially when it includes a touch of romance.

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