COVID-19 Explained Through ’60s-’80s Songs


Illustration by Abeeha Zaidi.

Information surrounding COVID-19 can be pretty funky sometimes, especially considering new information seems to come out every hour.

The whole global pandemic ordeal can get quite confusing at times, with new information about the COVID-19 virus coming out every hour. What better way to try and understand this unprecedented situation than by understanding it through a (mostly) ’80s playlist?


Don’t Stand Too Close to Me- The Police

While originally about a teacher-student romantic relationship, if you just pay attention to the chorus and not the verses, the song easily becomes COVID-inspired. I mean, the chorus of this song is pretty much self-explanatory: “Don’t stand too close to me.” With all of the social distancing protocols and quarantining fiascos, this song is sure to remind you to keep six feet apart at all times. 


Video Killed the Radio Star- The Buggles 

Not exactly. But, the same principle applies. Just look at how Zoom took off in these past six months. In-person anything has been completely moved to a virtual platform. Businesses have started offering virtual meetings with their clients, the town Board of Education meetings and other town meetings are being held over a video-communication platform, and the world is shifting even more towards being technology-centric.


We’re Not Gonna Take It- Twisted Sister

Throughout the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, anti-vaxxers have remained steadfast in their desire to refuse getting a vaccine, even for a virus as prolific and dangerous as COVID. This song, a long-standing symbol used in many different protests and movements throughout the years, just as well represents the views of those who are adamant about having a “natural” and “vaccine-free” life.


In the Air Tonight- Phil Collins

Yup, it’s COVID. You heard me, COVID-19’s gone airborne. Recent research conducted by medical researchers, scientists, and doctors alike have concluded that the virus has gone airborne and those tiny droplets have the potential to carry the virus throughout the air. Now, this quite obviously spells danger, especially because public health policy is just starting to catch up despite information of this being present from as far back as July.


9 to 5- Dolly Parton

While Parton is singing about the typical workday of someone who is physically at work, it’s important to note that with new social distancing guidelines, the typical workday has drastically changed. After all, just look at New York City, the place is practically deserted! Meetings have turned into Zoom calls, people only dress the upper half of their body, and all forms of communication have turned completely digital. On the bright side, large businesses are saving hundreds of thousands, even upwards of millions of dollars, on electricity and heating/cooling bills. 


Take Me Home, Country Roads- John Denver

Has anyone else noticed the droves of people abandoning city life and, instead, moving towards the suburbs? With COVID-19 being most easily spread in crowded, unhygienic places, cities have become hotspots for the virus to manifest and spread. As a result, families and individuals alike have decided to relocate to the quieter, more spacious suburbs to escape the craziness that is COVID.


Witch Doctor- David Seville 

From marijuana to UV radiation to drinking bleach, there has been a myriad of bogus COVID-19 “cures” that have flooded mainstream media. These “cures,” which, need I remind you, aren’t real cures, are reminiscent of something the Witch Doctor character portrayed in Seville’s song would prescribe. Note: Please don’t try any COVID-19 “miracle cures.” Go to the doctor if you are experiencing symptoms and stick to the medications and treatments they give you.


I Want to Hold Your Hand- The Beatles

Am I the only one who misses human connection? Hugging friends? If so, this Beatles hit will allow you to reminisce about the old days while looking forward to the future when you can hold each other’s hands and hug friends without fear. And, if you love your friends as much as I do, this song will be a saving grace when thinking about the day social distancing and COVID-19 is behind us.


Lean On Me- Bill Withers

This absolutely beautiful song, while released in the ’70s, is a stunning example of the type of support we all should be supporting each other during this time. As of now, the world is incredibly uncertain. Unemployment is skyrocketing around the world, businesses are filing for bankruptcy left and right, and COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc on a global scale. However, this song reminds all of us to be kind to one another and to offer help or just a shoulder for others to lean on.