Darlene Campos Reveals Why She Included The Roseanne Theme On Her Spotify Playlist


On Monday, we shared the playlist for Darlene Campos' Behind Mount Rushmore, featuring 21 songs inspired by the book. Those songs were selected by Darlene herself, and below, we feature the reasons she selected those songs.


Keith Secola – NDN Kars

This is one of my favorite rock songs. It pertains to the story of an “NDN Kar,” which is an old clunker that’s falling apart but it still runs. The lyrics and melody are so catchy – you’ll be singing this song in your head for days!

Keith Secola – Say Your Name

Unlike “NDN Kars,” this song has a much sadder tone to its lyrics and rhythm and the reason is because it’s about the history of Native American boarding schools. Years ago, it was legal (yes, legal!) to take Native children from their homes and families and put them in boarding schools. These boarding schools were meant to kill off Native culture by forbidding the children to speak their native language, practice their religion, and practice their traditions. This is an ode to those children and their descendants. As Secola says, “preserve our children.”

Robbie Robertson – Peyote Healing

Sung in Lakota by Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike and produced by Robbie Robertson, this is a healing song as its title states. The lyrics call out to “Ate,” which is the Lakota word for “Father.” In this instance, “Father” is God and the song asks for health restoration. I first heard this song in the movie Skins, based off the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. As soon as I heard it, I was inspired to write more in ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’

The Cody Blackbird Band – Tribal Blues

I’ve been following Cody Blackbird and his band for the last couple of years. Blackbird is Eastern Band Cherokee and Roma descent. He’s fairly young, too, I believe in his late 20s. He won Flutist of the Year in 2011 at the Native American Music Awards (NAMA). This is my favorite track by him – you can really feel his talent for flute playing in this song.

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Love Song

Cody is the adopted son of the actor Iron Eyes Cody. He is of Dakota Sioux and Maricopa descent. When writing ‘Behind Mount Rushmore,’ I wanted to make sure I focused on love, especially the love between Nimo’s parents. Love is a feeling all of us human beings crave and I feel that this song, even though it has no words, captures the emotion of love for another.

Lakota Thunder – Looking For My Friend

Lakota Thunder is an awesome, Grammy-nominated band. This song is especially important because of the friendship Nimo shares with John David. If you listen closely to the song, you will hear the word “kola.” The Lakota word for a man’s friend is “kola,” but kola means more than just friend. As defined by Lakota language teacher Sam High Crane (his lectures are on YouTube and totally worth checking out if you want to learn some Lakota!), the word kola means a friend you would be willing to give your life for to save his. John David is undoubtedly Nimo’s kola and Nimo is John David’s kola in return.

Robert Tree Cody – Lakota Lullaby

Back when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ was its earliest drafts, the point of view was an omniscient narrator and Nimo was only a six-month-old baby. His parents sang him their own version of this soothing lullaby. However, once the drafts changed, Nimo began telling the story and surely, he wouldn’t remember his baby life. Even though this lullaby isn’t mentioned in the book, it remains as a huge musical influence for ‘Behind Mount Rushmore.’

Judas Priest – Breaking the Law

One of Jay Eagle Thunderclap’s favorite bands is Judas Priest. In “The Clash,” he is observed grilling turkey meat while blasting Judas Priest on his personal radio. I don’t know which song he was blasting, but it was probably this one.

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

This is one of my favorite David Bowie songs because it tells a story from beginning to end in just over three minutes. In “The Fork,” Nimo and John David head to Rapid City to see a David Bowie tribute band called The Mars Spiders, a name which is taken from this song specifically.

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

This tune is the tune which comes on at George’s in the second to final chapter of the book. Since the full details contain spoilers, I won’t say much about its importance.

Madonna – Into the Groove

Nimo’s a big Madonna fan, but John David is not – in fact, this is probably the only interest they don’t share. Madonna plays a major role in the one of the chapters, but again, this is a spoiler alert. My lips are sealed on this one as well.

Sonny and Cher – I Got You Babe

I was introduced to this song by a former professor during my freshman year of college. We watched the movie Groundhog Day in class which infamously uses this song about a billion times. As I created Jay Eagle and Josephine’s characters, this song was endlessly stuck in my head thanks to that professor! I feel this song describes their marriage down to a T. There are times when the Thunderclaps don’t have much, but they have each other and they’re not letting go.

Lakota Thunder – Lakota Hoksila

This is another great song by Lakota Thunder. Its title means “Lakota Boy” which applies to Nimo throughout the entire novel. He might grow up in the novel, but he remains a Lakota boy at the core of his heart.

Sacred Spirit – Yeha Noha

This song is a rendition of a traditional song from the Navajo Shoe Game. This specific version is sung by the Navajo elder Kee Chee Jake. Even though it is a Navajo song, I listened to this song many times while writing Behind Mount Rushmore to some creative sparks on. The full story of the Navajo Shoe Game is told on YouTube by the user DayBreakWarrior.

Will Peters – Memorial Song

Death is a process we all must go through. Nimo experiences the death of a relative and he laments the deaths of other relatives he never got to meet. This song is for those relatives.

Buddy Red Bow – South Dakota Lady

Josephine Thunderclap, Nimo’s mother, is definitely a South Dakota Lady. She’s strong, she’s loving, she’s hardworking, and most of all, she doesn’t put up with nonsense. If Jay Eagle was a real person, I can imagine him singing this song to his South Dakota lady.

'All in the Family' Theme

All in the Family is a show the Thunderclaps watch a lot because I watched it (actually, I watched the series) while forming the early chapters. This isn’t the original theme sung by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, but it’ll do. In fact, when ‘Behind Mount Rushmore ‘was only a few chapters long, I visited Los Angeles for the first time and I had the opportunity to visit Carroll O’Connor’s grave while I was there. If it wasn’t for Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker character, ‘Behind Mount Rushmore’ would not be the same.

'Roseanne' Theme

Roseanne is a show I grew up watching, but I never fully understood its weight until adulthood. It’s a pivotal show for its portrayal of the working class and their struggles with money, but it also shows their deep love and humor. Jay Eagle and Josephine Thunderclap’s marriage was greatly inspired by Dan and Roseanne Conner’s marriage.

The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love

This song is dedicated to John David’s character. He’s a tough guy when it comes to showing emotions, but he falls in love, too.

Northern Cree – Thank God I’m an Indian Boy

While this song is sung by members of the Cree tribe, it certainly applies to Nimo. No matter what happens to him on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, he’s proud of his heritage and his ancestors.

Robbie Robertson – Cherokee Morning Song

This is another Robbie Robertson production sung by Rita Coolidge. Coolidge is one of the founding members of Walela, which means hummingbird in Cherokee. I’m NOT a morning person at all. If I could hit my alarm’s snooze button more than once, I would, but I can’t be late for work! This song somehow awakens me with its peaceful tones. It does not only awaken my body, but it also awakens my mind for some more writing.

Behind Mount Rushmore will be available everywhere books are sold on May 19.