10 Classic Rock Songs That Were Born Out Of The Pandemic
via Bon Jovi/YouTube
The coronavirus pandemic affected so many touring plans and essentially forced people to stay in their homes. Because musicians found themselves with plenty of time on their hands, most of them turned to music to keep themselves busy and unsurprisingly, some of our favorite rockstars ended up with new songs inspired by the current global health crisis or just the challenging times in general.
Let’s check them out.
10. Mike Campbell – “Lockdown”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell recorded “Lockdown” and even filmed a video for it in his home studio in Los Angeles. He said in a statement, “Since we’re all keeping away from each other, I have been doing what I always do when I am home: writing and recording. I came up with ‘Lockdown’ for fun. Everyone around me (including my wife Marcie, who helped with the recording and shot the video footage) loved the song, so I’m putting it out for people to enjoy and to raise some money for Feeding America. It feels good to do something positive to help in this time of crisis.”
9. Bono – “Let Your Love Be Known”
In March 2020, Bono shared a brand new song dedicated to the people of Italy. It was inspired by the viral videos of Italians singing from their balconies and performing for their neighbors amid the lockdown. He wrote on U2’s official Instagram page, “For the Italians who inspired it… for the Irish…for anyone who this St. Patrick’s Day is in a tight spot and still singing. For the doctors, nurses, carers on the front line, it’s you we’re singing to.”
8. Randy Newman – “Stay Away”
Released in April, it’s a simple song that reminds people about social distancing. He introduced the track at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert by saying: “People are saying it’s the greatest song ever written or that they’ve hear. A lot of people are saying it. I’m not — it’s they who are saying it.”
7. Bon Jovi – “Do What You Can”
Jon Bon Jovi has been busy during the pandemic – from participating in virtual charity events to helping at his soul kitchen and of course, inspiring people. Featured on Bon Jovi 2020, JBJ said in a press release: “I am a witness to history. I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”
6. Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”
Inspired by a dream Dave Grohl had as a teenager, their music video is darker and even more harrowing. A preview to their 2021 album “Medicine At Midnight”, Grohl said: “I thought this should be the first track people hear, so they realise this album isn’t like Foo Fighters records that have gone before.”
5. Neil Young – “Lookin’ For A Leader – 2020”
Another one busy rockstar during the pandemic, Neil Young is no stranger to social and political commentary. Taking aim at Donald Trump last year, Young rewrote his 2006 song “Lookin’ For A Leader”. He’s been lambasting Trump since he was elected president and Young further voiced out his disgust at Trump’s use of one of his songs. Young wrote, “Imagine what it feels like to hear ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ after this president speaks, like it is his theme song. I did not write it for that.”
4. John Fogerty – “Weeping in the Promised Land”
This is another song that mostly touched on politics and Trump instead of the pandemic alone. In 2020, John Fogerty delighted fans by releasing a series of Creedence Clearwater Revival covers performed by him and his family. However, Fogerty’s not a fan of Trump and in fact, when he found out that “Fortunate Son” was played during his rallies, Fogerty issued a cease-and-desist order. And for his first brand new song in eight years, the lyrics touch on last year’s events like Trump’s treatment of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the plight of frontliners and healthcare workers, and the murder of George Floyd. During recording, Fogerty and his colleagues strictly observed COVID-19 precautions.
3. Elvis Costello – “No Flag”
He may have recorded it in February prior to the lockdown but according to a press release, it fits the current predicament of the world. Recorded in Helsinki, Finland, Costello admitted that he “wanted to go somewhere nobody knew me. So, this is ‘The Helsinki Sound.'”
2. The Rolling Stones – “Living in a Ghost Town”
This pretty much summed up what the world looked like with the restrictions in place. The Rolling Stones’ first original composition in eight years, frontman Mick Jagger revealed that he wrote it with guitarist Keith Richards more than a year before its release but they tweaked the lyrics a bit to reflect the times. Jagger told Zane Lowe of Apple Music, “Keith Richards and I both had the idea that we should release it. But I said, ‘Well I’ve got to rewrite it.’ Some of it is not going to work and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark. So I slightly rewrote it. I didn’t have to rewrite very much, to be honest. It’s very much how I originally did it.”
1. Paul McCartney – “Find My Way”
One of the most productive musicians in 2020 is perhaps Paul McCartney who wrapped up the year by releasing “McCartney III”. He worked in his home studio in Sussex, England where he played all the instruments, did all the singing and harmonizing.