Situation’s tolerable. #PlaugeSongs, no. 33

Yes, it’s yet another Plague Song. Some people reading this will be vaccinated and venturing out into the world. Others may not yet be vaccinated. Either way, we’ve all been through a lot — and some of us much more than that. So, we need to handle each other with care. And that’s why I decided to cover this song.

As the story goes, George Harrison needed to record a b-side for a single from his Cloud Nine record. He asked his friends Jeff Lynne (who also produced Cloud Nine), Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan to join him. They wrote and cut “Handle with Care.” The record company realized that this was too good for a mere b-side. Why not record an entire album? The quintet thought that would be fun. What to call themselves? Well, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne had been calling all studio production equipment (limiters, equalizers, etc.) “wilburys” — short for “we’ll bury it in the mix.” And so the Traveling Wilburys were born.

The four sections of “Handle With Care,” each using straightforward “rock” chords, are both easy to learn and provide enough variety to keep the song interesting. You have the main verse (D, C, Bm, G), the Roy Orbison “I’m so tired of being lonely” bridge (G, B, C, D), the “Everybody’s got somebody” bridge (C-G and then C to the main verse chords),and two versions of the chorus — the Am-D-G or the the Am-C-D (this precedes the bridge).

It’s fun to play and sing. Check out Jenny Lewis, Ben Gibbard, Conor Oberst and the Watson Twins’ super cover of the song.

Or maybe sing a version yourself?

Or sing another song? The playlist below offers many tunes that (sometimes only tangentially) intersect with our plague era. But turn to the music that speaks to you most clearly.


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