What song makes you seize the day?

I’m crowdfunding my new book Carpe Diem Reclaimed with the lovely and rather funky publisher Unbound – in just two weeks it’s already reached 55% of the target, so big thanks to everyone who has backed it.

One of the best things about crowdfunding is the crowd bit: it’s not every day that an author gets to know a book’s readers before the book is even finished. And it’s a great source of ideas. Last week I posted the following message on Facebook and Twitter:

CDR Song 1

The responses came flooding in. Here’s a small selection:

CDR Song 2

CDR Song 6

CDR Song 5a

Suddenly I realised how many fantastic seize-the-day songs were out there – and many of them I’d never heard of! And it gave me an idea. Why not crowdsource a Top 10 Carpe Diem playlist, which can be part of the book itself?

So please let me know here: What song makes you seize the day? Add your answer as a comment below.

If we can create a really strong list, I’ll make sure it gets printed in the book.

Here’s to the power of the crowd.

Find out more about my new crowdfunded book, Carpe Diem Reclaimed. If you haven’t yet got round to pledging, now is the moment (of course!) Thank you.

 Carpe Diem Reclaimed button


46 thoughts on “What song makes you seize the day?

  1. I agree with Margie: Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now is pure seize the day – Freddie Mercury sings it with the most extraordinary abandon.

    But my second favourite Carpe Diem song to go along side Freddie is from none other than Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, as she steps out of the convent to face a life in the wider world. ‘What kind of day is this, I wonder? What will my future be?’ she begins…. you can’t beat her heel-clicking, guitar-swinging verve … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfF6lLEByZc

  2. Jan, I love your choices! I’d forgotten about TNT – one of my teenage favourites. And who doesn’t secretly feel inspired by the Rocky theme song?! Judas Priest – Turbo Lover is a new one for me.

    But hasn’t your own band, the Red Stars (otherwise known as Punatähdet) sung any carpe diem songs?


  3. First song that came up -> Hair – I Got Life and of course Beans on Toast (A whole lot of loving) and I think I could find a lot, but will leave it with these two 🙂

  4. It has to be ‘Shake Some Action’ by The Flamin’ Groovies. It’s been my favourite song since I was 16 (1978). Here’s the album version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI7-ol-TG2o
    And here’s a live version from 1986 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI7-ol-TG2o I’ll have it played at my funeral, for sure.

    Another Carpe Diem anthem from the same period is Eddy & the Hot Rods, ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndF1ZDuFBgw Despite its Epicurean title, the song is really a call to action, a blazing assertion of personal freedom and refuse of conformity.

  5. John, I would be utterly honoured to have Shake Some Action played at full volume at the book launch! You supply the vinyl and I’ll bring the record player. Roman

  6. Then there is Steppenwolf with Born To Be Wild.

    Running my first Helsinki Marathon (maybe in 1993), they played this song at the 32km (?) drinking spot. I just flew the last 10kms, singing this song, overtaking dozens of runners, probably much more. Thanks to this song, I survived – and ran 15min faster that I ever imagined running (finishing time 3.45). That was 40kgs ago, mind you.

    It’s an another cliché song, but for a reason

  7. Jan, thank you for your marathon memories! Born to Be Wild – fantastic…I’ve been trying to work out how to bring the film Easy Rider into the book, and now you’ve solved it for me! Sure you didn’t get a motorbike lift for the last 10km of that marathon?

  8. It sure felt like a motorbike ride. I felt immortal. But, crossing the finish, line near the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, I collapsed to the ground, legs felt like spagetti, sobbing in joy.

  9. “Looking for adventure / what ever comes, I’ll win / Never gonna die”

  10. Running marathon, the kilometers around 30 are the Valley of Death, the hardest point. It was a brilliant idea from the organizers to play that song there.

  11. a song called “ain’t nothing wrong with a little longing” by Bonnie Prince Billy and Trembling Bells – a big mad song (that I later recognised the main riff to be a tune played by Timothy Mouse in the Disney film ‘Dumbo’)

  12. ‘Don’t play with me because you’re playing with fire.’ The Rolling Stones.

  13. Hi Roman,
    As I think I mentioned, as music is definitely my obsession I am happy to burn you a CD as a back-track to writing, but off top of my head 10 songs, not including ones you’ve mentioned – and couldn’t agree more about Flaming Lips “Do You Realise” mentioned above:-
    1) Enjoy Yourself by Prince Buster (but if you can find it I think the Guy Lombardo version is better, notwithstanding the casual sexist jokes in the lyrics .. different time), 2) There Goes the Fear by Doves
    3) Eulogy by Frank Turner (very short too!)
    4) First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes
    5) Let’s Go Swimming by Allo Darling
    6) What a Beautiful Day by Levellers
    7) This is the Day by The The
    8) I won’t Back Down by Tom Petty (although I think Johnny Cash does a better version on American III)
    9) Feeling Good by Nina Simone
    10) My Sad Captains by Elbow

    and as a bonus, more sort of “Seized the Day” is Jake Thackeray’s Last Will & Testament of Jake Thackeray

  14. Brilliant suggestions Whit. You’re a one man Carpe Diem Playlist genius! I’d forgotten about that Levellers song…and several others are unfamiliar to me…I’d love that CD.

  15. Oh – and how could I forget “PS You Rock my World” by Eels … true Carpe Diem !

    Sorry, I’ll stop now!

  16. Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will survive’ for its sheer energy, bloody mindedness and self affirmation.

  17. Peggotty, I like the stress on bloody mindedness – an undervalued trait!

  18. I love the pathos and ironic humour of “Walk Like a Panther Tonight” by Tony Christie (lyrics written by Jarvis Cocker). A middle aged man faces up to his mortality – and realises you have to enjoy the moment before its too late.

  19. The obvious ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers, or the less obvious ‘The Day Brings’ by Brad (a Pearl Jam spin-off)

  20. Matt, I love Ngiculela – I didn’t know it (or that Stevie sings in Spanish).

  21. I make you a top-ten, hope you like it!
    Arcade Fire – The Suburbs https://youtu.be/5Euj9f3gdyM
    Sufjan Stevens, “Should Have Known Better” https://youtu.be/lJJT00wqlOo
    OMD So in love https://youtu.be/mD8TApX3btM
    Still Corners :: Don’t Fall In Love https://youtu.be/EubhnwoJ974
    Electrelane – ‘To The East’ https://youtu.be/mlSfPmqiplY
    BEACH HOUSE – “MYTH” https://youtu.be/FuvWc3ToDHg
    Digable Planets – Where I’m From https://youtu.be/sl-pjb7y3y0
    TOPS – Change of Heart https://youtu.be/zBXI9_-sRMc
    Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards https://youtu.be/wycjnCCgUes
    Warpaint – “Stars” https://youtu.be/iHkP9zRyD88

  22. Thanks for your wonderful list. I’ve just started listening through it. Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs brought up so many forgotten memories of my suburban upbringing in Sydney – the good, the bad, the everything…

  23. I love AF, it’s so difficult to me to pick just one song, the suburbs it’s very special for me too… anyway, you’re welcome!
    if you like it, I can make you another one, no worries!

  24. Do feel free to make up another one! The more there are to choose from, the better the final list in the book will be!

  25. Ok, Roman, I’ll do… I never thought that I would be a DJ, hhahahah!

  26. I’ve got 3 to throw on the pile, ones I use at my book sessions to inspire people to carpe diem: This is the Day – The The; Counting Stars – One Republic and Heroes by Alesso.
    Cheers John

  27. Heroes – David Bowie
    Perfect Day – Lou Reed
    Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire
    It’s Nice to be Alive – Ball Park Music
    When Tomorrow Comes – The Eurythmics
    (and one just for fun to dance to)… Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

  28. Great selection, Bianca. Perfect Day is my own top choice of the songs you chose…

  29. Arcade Fire – Wake up
    Xavier Rudd – Follow the sun
    Nina Simone – Feeling good
    Canned Heat – Going Up the country
    and almost a song, Pierre de Ronsard, Sonnets pour Hélène.

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