Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Songs for a Pandemic Playlist

The coronavirus might be touching every aspect of life, down to the playlists on cell phones and iPods, prompting discussions of what titles should go on, and what should come off.

Here are suggestions from me and from readers on what you consider for your playlist:

For a good overall theme, there's always "Stayin' Alive" by the BeeGees

For social distancing, you might add “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police

For those tired of the shelter in place orders, try “Stay, Just a Little Bit Longer,” but probably the original version by Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs, or covers by the Hollies or Four Seasons. The Jackson Browne version usually starts with “Load Out,” which is about rock concerts and it might just remind you that all of them are canceled.

For anxiety for any reason, “Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley and The Wailers is always a good listen.

Kim James suggested “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

Might want to cue that up after Bob Witte’s suggestions of “So Lonely” by The Police, “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen, and “One is The Loneliest Number” by Harry Nilsson – although I’d go with the Three Dog Night version for the last one.

Witte and others suggested Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer,” although if you have kids that have been singing that for a month you might be tired of it by now.

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” by Chicago would be good for people who have been home so long they’d have to reply “No.”

Feeling overcome by it all? There’s “Had to Cry Today,” by Blind Faith.

As an antidote for those feeling too down and out, Rick Matthews suggests “We’ve Been Through Some Crappy Times Before,” by The Austin Lounge Lizards. Witte has “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” by John Prine, who himself succumbed to complications of COVID-19 this month.

If you want to take a different route – and don’t want to get into a debate about why Washington’s retail marijuana shops are open but your favorite bar or coffee house is closed – there’s “Might As Well Get Stoned,” by Chris Stapleton.

For a major pick-me-up, there are several versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Matthews would go with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I’m partial to the Eric Clapton version and know the Judy Garland rendition has lots of fans.

Here’s what might come off the playlist:

Probably want to 86 “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans for a while, and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles, considering Dr. Anthony Fauci says handshaking may be a no-no for a while.

Definitely off while social distancing is in full force: “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Touch Me” by the Doors. Also off: “It’s The End of the World As We Know It,” by REM, no matter how tempting that may be to proclaim; and “Can’t Find My Way Home,” by Blind Faith, because with the stay-home order in place, if you can’t find your way home you shouldn’t have left.

“Smokin in the Boys Room,” by either Brownsville Station or Motle Crüe, should be on vacation at least until fall.

If you have suggestions for what should be on -- or definitely off -- a pandemic playlist, email them to .

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

Follow Jim online: