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The Moon and the Tower – A Novel Playlist

Take a listen to J. Greg Phelan's playlist, a mix of 60’s hits and deep tracks that comprise the soundtrack to his coming-of-age novel.

By J. Greg Phelan

May 27, 2022

A mix of 60’s hits and deep tracks that comprise the soundtrack of my coming-of-age novel, The Moon and the Tower, set in 1964, in Moab, Utah.

During the lockdown, I kept sane travelling back to 1964 to work on my historical novel. Music was a major draw––returning to all-time favorites while also discovering new artists. I inserted songs into the narrative to dramatize themes in novels, like the clash between old and new types of coming-of-age: my seventeen-year-old protagonist, Jim, loves the Beatles, while his stuntman Dad prefers Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I also picked tunes to build character dynamics too. Jim’s best friend (and love interest) communicates to him through the lyrics of Bob Dylan, while an older mentor, an ex-Navy man and helicopter pilot, encourages him to find his groove through R&B powerhouses, Alvin Johnson and Major Lance. Why not use music to bring depth and vividness to our stories? It’s a pleasure and a privilege to compose the soundtrack to our made-up worlds.

J. Greg Phelan has written for The New York Times, America, and other publications. He is the co-founder and board chair of Project Write Now, a nonprofit writing center providing classes and outreach for writers of all ages. In 2020, he launched book inc, a community for memoir and novel writers.