You know the best part about movie trailers? No, it’s not the teasers and spoilers that you may glean from a two-minute synopsis of the plot. That’s the obvious answer, and it’s also the wrong answer. The song selection is the best marketing strategy for any upcoming release. You might be in another room when the trailer comes on your television. You can’t see the commercial, and you probably won’t be able to make out any dialogue or voice-over story-telling, but I bet the music will creep its way into your ear canal. It might be faint. Possibly even subconscious, but once your synapses begin making connections, you can tell what the trailer is without even looking. OR, if you aren’t already familiar with the title, then you have an undeniable need to run into the other room to see what the movie is.
So you’ve finished the first book in the Kings of Chaos Motorcycle Club series and you can’t stop thinking about the magnificent plot and fully developed characters. Hell, maybe you even thought to yourself as you were reading it, “Self, I can hear this song playing in the background of this scene.” Well, maybe you were right. Let’s think about it for a minute and take a look below!
Writers often fantasize (sometimes secretly if they’re too uptight to willingly come out and admit it) about their works being adapted for major motion pictures or long-running television series. I know I sure do. Since I’ve already written the plot for whatever adaptation a production company would like to pay me for, the next key piece to build interest would be a righteous soundtrack. And I don’t just mean 12-16 killer tracks that I like to listen to. I want my soundtrack to tell the story when the songs are played. And of course they have to convey the proper tone. Since Crossroads is a high-octane action story about some hardcore bikers, the soundtrack has to live up to that reputation – so bring on the classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, and Neil Diamond (because every soundtrack needs some Neil Diamond). With that in mind, I have put together the most fitting songs that I think best tell my tale in their own words.
***Spoiler alert! If you haven’t read Crossroads, there are a few spoilers below. Read ahead at your own risk!***
- Chapter 1: Introduction – Before the opening credits roll, while the screen is still black, the music fades in with an acoustic guitar opening. The opening scene pops up and “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi kicks in, because there might not be a better biker story-telling song out there. Crossroads revolves around an outlaw motorcycle club and an undercover federal agent. They ride steel horses, and they’re wanted. ‘Nuff said.
- Chapter 1: Will’s back story – The first track may very well be the best biker story-telling song out there, but this next one is the most quintessential biker song ever. Period. If you’re going to describe the childhood of a biker, then you know they were “Born to be Wild.” Steppenwolf is the obvious answer, and I’ve never heard a better version…BUT for the sake of this soundtrack, I am going to go with the Hinder version simply to make it a little more current and punch up the heaviness.
- Chapter 3: DEA introduction/Olsen overdose back story – Any story that involves the Drug Enforcement Agency, drug dealers, and a cocaine overdose has one requirement for the soundtrack: “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton. You know it.
- Chapter 7 & 8: Kayla’s introduction – Rough River Falls is nestled into the countryside in Central Kentucky, and any female from the Bluegrass State should have only one anthem: “Kentucky Woman” by Neil Diamond. When Will sets his sights on his hometown beauty, all other sound fades out, leaving Neil Diamond to solely explain what’s so special about this woman.
- Chapter 9: Riot’s first appearance – Every major character needs a theme song, and there’s not a more fitting way to choose one than find a song with your name in the title. “Riot” by Three Days Grace is a perfect fit. The tone of the song matches the story and the rest of the soundtrack perfectly. Plus, every time this guy appears, violence ensues.
- Chapter 9: Barroom ruckus – Speaking of violence, a barroom brawl is essential for any outlaw biker story. If you’re going to put music to it, then “Ballroom Blitz” is the way to go. I’m going to detour from the original by Sweet though, and opt for a heavier version originally recorded for the Wayne’s World soundtrack by the fictional band, Crucial Taunt.
- Chapter 11: Will & Kayla’s ride – “Ridin'” by Buckcherry seems like a no brainer to me, and there’s not much more discussion that needs to be involved.
- Chapter 12: Will’s ride when he’s strung out before he gets the backpack – Just like the previous song, some of these tracks select themselves based on the story. “Doperide” by Saliva fits that bill. The title alone sums up the situation Will is experiencing in this scene.
- Chapter 15: Will’s first run to Tennessee – This song could be used for any number of scenarios in this story, but I think it fits best here. “Breaking the Law” by Judas Priest sums it up pretty succinctly. This is where the Kings’ illegal drug business crosses state lines and breaks into federal territory, ratcheting up the severity of the situation for the club and Will alike.
- Chapter 18: Gas stop with other Kings during return trip to Tennessee – It’s inevitable…you have to fill up your tank at some point when you’re out for a ride. And if you’re going to write about a drunken idiot making a gasoline fountain at the same time, then “Fuel” by Metallica is a requirement.
- Chapter 21: Scott’s forced drug use – Scott certainly had a history with the Kings’ number one product, and his forced relapse got him lit up one more time. “Lit Up” by Buckcherry is a gimme for this scene.
- Chapter 21: Fight scene between Will & Riot – Will has to respond to the previous situation before we even get out of this chapter. He confronts Riot in front of the entire club and more fighting follows. You have to have a great soundtrack for a fight scene, and I’m a huge fan of “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” by AC/DC.
- Chapter 22: Disrespect to Scott during initiation – The number one rule to remember when dealing with any biker, but particularly an outlaw motorcycle club is this…it’s all about respect. So I’ll let Pantera spell it out with “Walk”.
- Chapter 27: Shootout finale – If you’re going to have a shootout between a group of outlaws and an undercover lawman, there’s only a couple good options. None of which is better than “I Fought the Law” by The Clash. With Will’s cover finally blown by this point, the Kings were well aware they were in an all out war with the law.
- Chapter 27: Arrests – The outlaw lifestyle eventually catches up to you in one way or another. In this story, it comes in the form of massive arrests against the entire Kings of Chaos Motorcycle Club. Once they were all taken into custody, they all have to face their charges head on. The Styx classic “Renegade” is a great tune to wind down the action.
- Chapter 27: Bike wreck outro – This is a busy chapter. I don’t think Tom Petty wrote this song with a motorcycle crash in mind, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be twisted to fit. “You Wreck Me” fits really well here without much twisting at all actually. Listen to the lyrics, and tell me he’s not singing about his wrecked bike.
- Chapter 27: Bike wreck outro/closing credits (bonus track) – Will finally gives in to all the injuries he’s sustained throughout Crossroads and fades out at the end. “Fade Away” by Black Stone Cherry is too good not to include in this list.
And there we have it. 16 killer songs and a bonus track for good measure. If you can listen to this list and not visualize the story unfold then I have failed on multiple levels, but I’d be surprised if that’s the case. So tell me what you think in the comments. Are these the songs you heard in your mind as you read the book, or did you have a different soundtrack playing? After seeing the unofficial playlist, did I miss anything that you think should have been included? Let me know below, and maybe I’ll have to update my list!
3 responses to “Literary Listening: The Unofficial Crossroads Playlist”
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You need to develop this into a screen play
I would love to! I’ve shopped it around a couple times, but no luck so far.