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:



16 Comments »

  1. Timothy Rowe said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 2:36 am

    There's a website, https://washyourlyrics.com/, 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
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9Q5_ttJBUI

    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! https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/02/happy-birthday-is-public-domain-former-owner-warnerchapell-to-pay-14m/

    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"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3EI4S4mLew
    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

    [(myl)


    ]

  5. S. Norman said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 6:53 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNqsORtnRwY

    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.

    [(myl)

    ]

    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

    [(myl)

    ]

  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?
    https://forward.com/yiddish/441967/a-yiddish-song-of-hope-during-the-coronavirus/

    [(myl)

    The automatically-generated English subtitles are interestingly bad… ]

  11. Jason said,

    March 19, 2020 @ 11:04 pm

    @Buzz79

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

    [(myl)

    Lyrics here.

    ]

  12. Richard Campbell said,

    March 20, 2020 @ 5:28 am

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

    https://youtu.be/awhGI0_o90s

  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?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR2JtsVumFA

  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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