Now that the coronavirus has affected all 50 states, and is spreading fast, it’s difficult to think of it in any other terms than a 1950s horror film trailer:
It came unexpectedly, afflicting city after city, town after town in its silent quest for world domination. Witness the futility of modern warfare against a silent enemy! Watch how the deadly toll rises! See the panic stretch and strain a healthcare system on the brink of breaking! Will mankind prevail and tame this latest attack on the human species? Keep your eyes open and your face covered, because you won’t want to miss a single second of…
COVID-19: The Awakening! Coming soon to a town near you!
Mister Boomer is as tense as the next boomer — we are in the most vulnerable group after all. Yet rather than suggesting the dubious therapy of watching films like, The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Andromeda Strain (1971), The Omega Man (1971), The Crazies (1973) or other boomer-era virus-infection films, he feels a lighter tone is just what the doctor ordered.
What did boomers turn to each and every day, in good times and bad? Music. So, Mister B suggests a play list of good, boomer music to soothe the soul and occupy the mind. Most listed here, as might be expected for boomers, weren’t about a virus at all, but love. To wit:
Witch Doctor (1958), Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville)
I told the witch doctor I was in love with you
I told the witch doctor you didn’t love me too
And then the witch doctor, he told me what to do
He said that….
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang…
Fever (1958), the Peggy Lee version
You give me fever when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the morning
Fever all through the night
Are You Lonesome Tonight (1960), Elvis Presley
Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter sunny day?
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Pain In My Heart (1964), The Rolling Stones (written and first recorded by Otis Redding, 1964)
Pain in my heart
She’s treating me cold
Where can my baby be
Lord no one knows.
Dr. Feelgood (1967), Aretha Franklin
Don’t send me no doctor
Fillin’ me up with all of those pills
I got me a man named Doctor Feelgood
And oh, yeah, that man takes care of all of my pains and my ills
I Don’t Need No Doctor (1966), Ray Charles
I don’t need no doctor, I tell ya now
For my prescription to be filled
Only my baby’s arms
Could ever take away this chill.
I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good), first released by Duke Ellington, 1941
The title says it all. The song was popular throughout the boomer years, recorded by dozens of artists, whose versions boomers heard on the radio, including Marvin Gaye, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Cher, Ella Fitzgerald, Carly Simon and a host of others, including one of Mister B’s favorite versions by Etta James (1971).
Doctor My Eyes (1972), Jackson Browne
Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong;
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?
The Boogie Woogie Flu (1972), Johnny Rivers (first recorded by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, 1957)
I wanna jump, but I’m afraid I’ll fall
I wanna holler, but the joint’s too small
Young man rhythm’s got a hold of me, too
I got the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu
All By Myself (1975), Eric Carmen
All by myself
Don’t wanna be, all by myself anymore.
How about it, boomers? Are you practicing social distancing and taking advantage of senior shopping hours to avoid crowds?