Posted in Writing

Life Playlists: Today it’s writer Lizzie Lamb’s turn to choose her five special music tracks…

Hi Jo, here are my tracks and the memories they hold for me.

When I was very young, my mother and I went to live with my maternal grandparents and two teenage uncles (Joseph 20 and Tommy 18) who spoiled me rotten and encouraged me to be precocious. NOT that I needed much encouragement. The house was filled with music, my uncles having bought a large radiogram with wages earned working in the local steel mill. They played their 78’s whenever they could, which meant I knew the words to all the latest songs and they taught me how to jive, twist etc. Later, when we moved house to England, my family’s love of popular music continued (via the radio). We listened to Music While You Work, Children’s Favourites, Sing Something Simple, Two Way Family Favourites and ground-breaking Radio Caroline. As a teenager I fell asleep listening to Radio Luxembourg via an earpiece attached to my prized transistor radio. When Radio One was launched in 1967 it was as important to teenagers, like me, as a man walking on the moon two years later.

Fast forward to listening to Radio One on the drive home from work, the transition from cassette tapes to CD’s and finally, downloading music on my iPhone. Small wonder music has provided the backing track to all our lives.


Here are five of my favourites –  click on each title to activate the video

California Dreaming Mammas and Papas

I only have to hear the opening chords of this song and I am transported back to 1967 when the hippy movement reached Leicester. I had just taken my ‘O’ levels and at the start of the summer holidays my friend Brenda Harris and I bought a bag of budgie bells from the local pet shop (much to the shop keeper’s suspicion). We sewed them on the outside seam of our bellbottom jeans, found a couple of floppy hats and ‘granny clothes’ at jumble sales and put together a ‘hippy kit’. Then we joined all the other wannabes on Victoria Park in search of the much promised Happening, which never materialised. Instead, we ended up in mega trouble for chalking – MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR on a neighbour’s garage door, after which the Summer of Love ended abruptly for us.

Sguaban Arbhair – Runrig

I often ‘stumble across’ music and this is how I found Runrig. I was watching TV and saw the group perform at Glasgow Barrowlands and was blown away, When I was a child we would often go to the ‘Barras’ a couple of times a year on shopping expeditions.  That memory, coupled with Runrig’s fusion of folk, Gaelic and rock music tapped into a part of me I’d forgotten existed; my Scottishness. When Runrig came to Leicester I went to see them in concert and bought several CD’s afterwards. There I found the track Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn. It tells how the old ways of crofting and living off the land have vanished as young people head for the cities. It’s my go-to song when I want to get into the mood for writing. In Scotch on the Rocks, my heroine Ishabel sings it at a live mike session in the local pub and the hero falls in love with her. When I listen to it, I’m transported to Eilean na Sgairbh, the imaginary Cormorant Island where I set my novel.

Ship to Shore – Chris de Burgh

Lady in Red (now sadly cliched) brought Chris de Burgh to my attention. And, of course, I had to listen to his back catalogue (first on vinyl and then on CD). I found Ship to Shore and it raised my spirits at a difficult time. My mother had recently died of cancer, I underwent a hysterectomy, we moved house twice in two and a half years and I was acting head at a large primary school of over 350 children. It became an anthem for me, the backdrop to a time when I wanted to get stuck into my writing but was forced to put my dream on hold. The line: how I wish that we could turn the clock back to the time when we were lovers, in the true sense of the meaning, inspired me to go for gold and achieve my dream. In fact, all of the lyrics have a resonance for me. I only have to hear the Morse code ‘pips’ at the beginning of the song and I’m transported back to when I saw Chris de Burgh at the NEC. A time before word processors, the internet, and Amazon made becoming a published author an attainable dream for thousands of indie authors.

Someone Like You – Adele

I discovered Adele much in the same way as Runrig. A friend had been banging on about her for months and I put my fingers in my ears and refused to listen. Stubborn, see? Then I caught Adele’s concert at the Albert Hall on TV, heard her sing Someone Like You and Don’t You Remember? and was hooked. Something in her lyrics – which come straight from her heart, the key she sang in, and her performance found an answering chord in me. Overall, I’ve had a good life and a very happy marriage. So, I have to dig deep when writing a sad/emotional scenes and Adele takes me there in seconds. So – that evening, once I’d stopped blubbing like a baby in front of the TV, I went straight on to Amazon and ordered ‘21’. It’s remained a favourite ever since.

Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen

In the 90’s we went to America, travelling from Washington DC to Memphis, thru Iowa and up to Door County. We stayed with my former teaching student and when we caught the plane back to the UK, she gave me Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. In return, I promised that I would write a romance set in Wisconsin, bringing together everything we’d experienced over five magical weeks. Once home, I played the album while preparing for returning to school after the long holiday. However, influenced by Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding et al I put notes for my ‘American novel’ to one side and started writing a rom com instead: Tall, Dark and Kilted. But I never forgot my promise and recently returned to the MS, re-writing and publishing it as Take Me, I’m Yours, dedicating it to Dee Paulsen and her family. Apart from the anthemic Born in the USA, my favourite track is Downbound Train. Every time I play it, I’m back in Dee’s Aunt Bev’s house in Memphis sweltering in 100 degrees in the shade as we rush from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car. Now I know that I don’t have a pioneering bone in my body and would never convincingly play the part of a woman having a baby in the back of a wagon.



  • If you would like to read an extract, download or share about Take Me, I’m Yours, click here



IMG_4048After working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of her time is taken promoting her novels she wrote Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of publication on Amazon. Her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is co-founder of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington. Her latest romance, Take Me, I’m Yours is set in Wisconsin, achieved Best Seller status, too. As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing. Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.



Links –


Amazon author page:



Linked in:






Takeme_8 (1)


India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before she lets a MacFarlane set foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they both deserve. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself?


If you would like to come along, promote your work and choose five music tracks which are special to you, simply drop me an e-mail me at



Directs fictional destinies. Living on the edge of a wonderful Georgian city. Addicted to Arthurian legend, good wine, and rock music. Writes...mostly about love

36 thoughts on “Life Playlists: Today it’s writer Lizzie Lamb’s turn to choose her five special music tracks…

  1. Music provides a fascinating window into Lizzie’s world here. I was moved by the story behind Ship to Shore. Lizzie Lamb is an inspiration, and I am so pleased you followed your dream to bring us your stories.

    1. Morning Jessie, sorry for the short reply, something happened my end and my message disappeared into the ether. Yes, I’m so lucky to have achieved what I have done. I keep toying with the idea of submitting to a publisher but Bongo Man says I’d be miserable working to some else’s timetable – did that for 34 years . . . and he’s probably right.

    1. Hi June, as I said to Jessie (above) my replies disappeared somewhere up the spout yesterday – blame Microsoft and Virgin Media – a lethal combination of numpties. I remember sitting in OUTERSPACE with you quite recently when the Mamas and Papas came over the sound system. That introduction and Mama Cass’s voice took us both back to the sixties. Looking forward to your selection of 5 songs later this spring, too.

    1. Hi Isa, technical problems yesterday (my end). Happy to share some of my memories with you. I know you don;t blog etc but maybe, next time we meet, you could tell me which songs you would have chosen. Guessing ‘Volare’ isn’t among them. LOL.

  2. Some great choices there, Lizzie. I adore The Mamas and The Papas and I think Adele’s amazing. Not heard of some of your songs, so will check them out. xx

    1. Hi Sharon, thanks for dropping by. Glad that we have some ‘likes’ in common, although I’m not surprised. I loved Adele’s 21 and play it all the time. Dave bought me ’25’ and I don’t like that half as much. I think the music critics said as much, too. I saw a brilliant sketch (with Tracey Ullman as Adele) and her music producers were encouraging her to ‘get sad’ so she could write more melancholy lyrics. Apparently, she’s just TOO happy these days . . .

  3. Great choices, Lizzie. It’s so hard to choose a favourite Springsteen track but I hadn’t listened to Downbound Train for ages and I’d forgotten how good it is!

    1. Hi Sara, (loved NOT THOMAS btw – which I read and reviewed). Anyhoo, back to this blog post. My fav line from ‘Downbound Train’ is: ‘now I work down at the car wash where it all it ever does is rain’. So mournful, but good for getting into that mood when one is writing. I also love Dancing in the Dark, for different reasons.

  4. Very interesting collection and I loved the back stories. Where would we have been without Pirate radion and then Radio One I often wonder? RunRig there is a name from the past. We worked with a Scottish band – name escapes me – who supported them several times. I am not a fan of any of the other artists but adore the Mamas and Papas. I think Bruce is a good songwriter but as an artist, nope. I loved your reasons for picking your songs, hard to do, isn’t it? Thanks, Lizzie and Jo for a fab blog. Such fun. Will share, tweet and whatever. 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks Jane, I enjoyed reading your choices last week. While I was compiling ,my list I realised that most of my fav’s are quite ‘ancient’, but they all have a place in helping me become the writer I am today. Listing them in order I’d probably choose: Runrig, Adele, Mamas and Papas, Springsteen and Chris de Burgh.

      1. Nope not ancient in my opinion, I loved that you have such a wide taste in music, so healthy. I love the order too. It was fun I know and hard. Gosh, it makes you really think. But some fab info to go with your choices which I loved. People and music like people and books – so gripping for the nosy. 🙂 xx

  5. Some fantastic music and memories here, Lizzie. What a wonderful auto-biography, I can picture it all as I listen to the groovy sounds! And as you well know, Adele is a goddess in my eyes! (Great idea, Jo – it’s such a fab way of getting an author’s back story!) X

    1. Thanks Adrienne, I’m looking forward to your choices. Can Aiden Turner sing? Lol. And, please note, no Leonard Cohen …….

      1. I did notice, no Leonard or his mate Bob? As for Aidan, be surprised if he can’t sing, he is Irish after all … and I’ll wheeling Bryan out, natch! 🙂

  6. Wonderful music choices and memories, Lizzie. I’m a huge Adele fan and love Someone Like You too. Makes the hairs stand up on my arms when she sings it so beautifully. Love your other selections too. Great post! Xx

    1. Might have known we’d both love Adele, Jan. Dave bought me 25 last Christmas, but IMHO, it isn’t a patch in 21.

  7. This is such a great feature, Jo – and I loved seeing Lizzie’s choices. Although I’ll admit Lady in Red still turns me into a soggy mess (it was my dad’s favourite), particularly good to be reminded of Ship to Shore. And I too remember falling asleep to Radio Luxembourg, and being far more excited about Radio One than the moon landing. Really enjoyed this one – and Take Me, I’m Yours of course!

    1. My mum used to get really cross if I fell asleep listening to Luxembourg 🇱🇺. Mind you she lived music and dancing, too. Thanks for sharing your memories, Anne.

  8. Reblogged this on Jane Risdon and commented:
    Last Tuesday I shared my 5 Life Playlists via Jo Lambert’s fab blog and today you get to hear Lizzie Lamb’s choices and her reasons for picking them. Such fun, so hard to do. Pop over and enjoy her music.

  9. Great to read about your musical influences and I particularly enjoyed the image of your uncles spoiling you. I can imagine you, dancing and singing and enjoying the attention and how lucky we are to have been part of the hippy generation, even though it was only at the weekend. Great memories!

    1. I love the concept of being ‘weekend hippies’ once the homework and Saturday jobs were out of the way, Joan. I feel lucky to have grown up in the sixties when one felt anything was possible. And, in many ways we were groundbreakers, although we didn’t know it at the time.

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