Get back up again. #PlagueSongs, no. 34

The plague is, alas, not yet over. So, I’ve recorded another Plague Song. Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” a massive pop hit in 1997. I chose this song because of the lyric’s central contribution to our collective human wisdom: when one gets knocked down, it is generally advisable to get back up again. Or, as Chumbawamba’s lyricist more…

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…

That’s what storms were made for. #PlagueSongs, no. 32

Another of the great happy-sad songs, though — on balance — happier than sad. Introduced by Bing Crosby in 1936, it has music by Arthur Johnston and the lyrics by Johnny Burke (who also wrote the lyrics to “Swinging on a Star,” another hit for Crosby). You likely know the chorus, but not the prologue. I…

Give Love. #PlagueSongs, no. 31

David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” (1981) has long been a favorite. I chose it for this (eventually ending) series of plague songs because it expresses such vulnerability, and because it calls us all to love. Given the extraordinary talent of the original performers (and of the Karen O – Willie Nelson cover, wow!), I’m…

Still worthwhile. #PlagueSongs, no. 30

The music — written by Charlie Chaplin himself — first appears in Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936). Eighteen years later, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added lyrics. That version was a big hit for Nat King Cole in 1954. It’s since been recorded by Tony Bennett, Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Durante, Elvis Costello, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean…

Happy Birthday, Linda!

Dear Linda, You’ll already have a card and physical iteration of one of the musical compilations (below), but I thought you might want a more portable version (via Spotify), and I didn’t make CD mixes of the other two — though I can, if you would like them. I also thought that others might enjoy the…

Don’t run. #PlagueSongs, no. 28

Surf rock in the middle of winter? And how is “Walk, Don’t Run” a plague song? Excellent questions. To answer the second one first, I might say that its title evokes the slow pace of the vaccine roll-out. I want speed, but instead must endure this andante stumble. Or I might point out that the…

I’m lucky to be here. #PlagueSongs, no. 27

This song is a personal favorite of mine, and one I’ve long considered recording for this Plague Songs series. However, in an effort to keep the mood more upbeat, I have — up until now — chosen more uptempo selections. But, as coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surpass 350,000 (and 1.85 million worldwide), it’s time for…