August 16, 2020

Play(list) by the Book - Utopia Avenue, by David Mitchell

 

Hello, everyone! It's finally here! I know that I've been hyping you for weeks about this book, this literary playlist, and the book review (which will come shortly - I hope). Today, I have finally compiled this Play(list) by the Book, so it's time to explore the '60s! 

Utopia Avenue is about a psychedelic band in London so the novel has plenty of references to the era's scene. This playlist is probably the biggest one I have compiled for these posts, but at the same time, it was one of the most interesting. So, sit back and enjoy!


As per usual, for this list, I have used every song, artist, band, and album mentioned in the text. Some songs, like Joni Mitchell's For Free or Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street, found a way in the list through lyrics. However, for this playlist, I haven't used any songs by individual members. For example, John Lennon is an elusive figure in the book and he is mentioned numerous times (as well as the rest of The Beatles). Despite this fact though, the book takes place in 1968 his solo stuff came a little later. For this reason, I haven't also included a song by Yoko Ono.

For the albums, I included the song that I liked the most (and in some cases, it was just a random choice). For the artists and bands mentioned, I went to their back catalog and picked a song that was released in 1968 or earlier. Below, you will find a couple of songs that I couldn't find on Spotify and a list of the albums (in case you want to dig deeper).

Nina Simone  You Don't Know What Love Is



Syd Barrett  Have You Got It Yet?



Nina Simone  Mississipi Goddam



Bruce Forsyth  I'm Backing Britain



List of the Albums mentioned in Utopia Avenue
  • Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
  • Blue Note Albums
  • The Who Sell Out
  • The Byrds – Younger than Yesterday
  • Big Bill Broonzy And Washboard Sam
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
  • The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!
  • Cream – Fresh Cream
  • The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
  • Bert Weedon – Play in a Day!
  • Andrés Segovia – Master of the Spanish Guitar
  • Odetta – Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues
  • Harry Smith – Anthology of American Folk Music
  • Stan Getz and João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto
  • The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majestic Request
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold as Love
  • Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
  • John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
  • Etta James – At Last!
  • Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • Love – Forever Changes
  • Otis Redding – Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
  • The 13th Floor Elevator – The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevator
  • The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle
  • The Band – Music from Big Pink
  • The Beatles – Rubber Soul
  • Bob Dylan – Bringing it All Back Home
  • Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul
  • The Mothers of Invention – We're Only in It for the Money
  • The Beastie Boys – Paul's Boutique
There you have it! This Play(list) by the Book has been a pleasure to compile (but it's the same every time). I hope that I will soon stumble upon a book with plenty of musical references.

Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book

4 comments:

  1. I am a massive David Mitchell fan so I was so excited when I got the ARC. I did finish the book but I dont typically listen to music while reading , but I think this one demands that one does exactly that. I might re-read the book with your playlist

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    1. This is definitely a book that needs a playlist! You need to get the feel of the decade to fully understand Utopia Avenue (the band) and the story.

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  2. I'm glad to see someone else did this. Reading through the book, I feel like it demanded to be aurally experienced. I also dont usually listen to music with lyrics while reading, but certain passages took on new meaning when playing the soundtrack referenced. No spoilers, but like when elf talks to her sister in the coffee shop with the Kinks playing overhead, or the sounds of Stan Gets playing bossa nova at the directors party... Just really added another experiential layer. I love how david makes the book so real, with plenty of real life figures, it almost makes you question whether utopia avenue actually existed.

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    1. That is one of the things that amazes me the most! It's almost like we're reading a historical novel about a band that was never meant to be. Certain songs are very important to specific scenes (like the ones you have mentioned). I loved to pause reading to play the song and imagine the scene with a new perspective.

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