COVID-19 songs

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I've recently seen several 1980s songs about troubled romantic relationships re-purposed to refer to the COVID-19 disaster. The most viral is Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive":

See also Michael Bruning's remote-teaching version:

There's also R.E.M.'s "The end of the world as we know it":

…and even Def Leppard's "Armageddon it":

A bit of internet research turned up a 3/17/2020 Billboard article by Xander Zellner, "'It's the End of the World as We Know It,' 'I Will Survive' & More Songs Surge in the Time of Coronavirus", which lists a dozen "virus-related songs that have gained in sales and streaming over the past week".

But items from other eras and cultures are missing — how about some relevant arias from operas or cantatas, some folk songs, some jazz or blues numbers, a fado or three?

Update — Musical theater, from Carousel, 1956:


  1. Timothy Rowe said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 2:36 am

    There's a website,, that lets you generate a poster of handwashing instructions with lyrics of your choice to sing along. I've used Peggy Lee's "Fever".

  2. mg said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 4:30 am

    From the 1970s, there's New York Mining Disaster 1941

    BTW, my favorite poster of handwashing instructions is the one with the Macbeth soliloquy.

  3. KevinM said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 6:00 am

    I think we need more research on the antimicrobial properties of "I Will Survive" before we abandon "Happy Birthday." Also, no copyright issues!

    I don't know many under-oneminute songs. One, however, is by the late, lamented Steve Goodman. The lyrics, in their entirety:

    My baby came to me this mornin'
    And she said I'm kinda confused
    She said "If me and B.B. King was both drownin'
    Which one would you choose?"
    I said "Whoa Baby"
    I said "Whoa Baby"
    I said "Whoa Baby – Babe, I ain't never heard you play no blues"
    Stay healthy, everyone, and keep your spirits up.

  4. Buzz79 said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 6:32 am

    99.5 by Suzanne Vega. Sample lyrics:

    Pale as a candle
    And your face is hot
    And if I touch you
    I might get what you've got

    You seem to me
    Like a man
    On the verge of running
    99.9 Fahrenheit degrees



  5. S. Norman said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 6:53 am

    by Robb Jarmain, 1969

    The title might have influenced Trump

  6. Joshua K. said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 11:14 am

    "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire keeps going through my mind.



    The lyrics to "Can't Feel My Face" by the Weeknd don't really relate, but the title does.

  7. Peter Taylor said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 11:42 am

    The refrain of the toreador's song from Carmen in the English translation we sang at school might work. "Mind well when in danger thou shalt be…"

    [(myl) Is this what you mean?

    Lyrics and translation here. ]

  8. MEJ said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 1:04 pm

    Don't get around much anymore



  9. AntC said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 3:39 pm

    The Vietnamese Public Health anti-COVID-19 song 'Ghen Co Vy' (sorry I can't do the diacritics) is a repurposed hit from 2017. 'Ghen' means Jealous.

    The song is maddeningly catchy (and John Oliver says so), even without the accompanying hand-washing dance moves from TikTok; much more catchy than the original.

    [(myl) There's only one diacritic: Ghen Cô Vy.


  10. ASG said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 6:54 pm

    How about this Yiddish news ballad?


    The automatically-generated English subtitles are interestingly bad… ]

  11. Jason said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 11:04 pm


    Suzanne Vega's "Blood makes noise" seems much more appropriate to this situation.


    Lyrics here.


  12. Richard Campbell said,

    March 20, 2020 @ 5:28 am

    Warren Zevon's "Splendid Isolation" seems particularly appropriate these days.

  13. Michael Carasik said,

    March 20, 2020 @ 7:00 am

    Tom Lehrer, "I Got It from Agnes"

  14. KevinM said,

    March 20, 2020 @ 12:38 pm

    My Corona, by the Knack?

  15. Mark Liberman said,

    March 21, 2020 @ 10:46 am

    "Ventilator Blues", by the Rolling Stones (lyrics):

  16. David J Fried said,

    March 23, 2020 @ 8:18 pm

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Cole Porter's "Why Don't We Try Staying Home?" Bobby Short's version on You Tube is the best.

    The final lyric:

    Wouldn't it be nice?
    We've tried everything else twice:
    Why don't we try staying home?

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