Songs for a Sunday of Social-Distancing, Solitude & Soul

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A Collection of Singular Songs to Lift Your Spirit

What do songwriters and musicians do when feeling scared, alone, depressed, anxious or worse? Listen to music, of course. In good times and those not so good, songs are our friends. They’re dependable. Great songs and records are consistently helpful and even healing when negotiating with this human expedition, especially when times get dark, uncertain and even potentially perilous, as they are now. What follows is a collection of songs chosen to lift the spirits of anyone needing a lift.

They are all momentous songs of much passion, soul and inspiration. Some are what might be considered “pick me up” songs, though not all. Some are quite famous; some are obscure. But they all share the spark of songwriting fire, alive and timeless with the heartfelt brilliance of a great songwriter.

No doubt there are so many reading this today who have been self-quarantining for years, though we didn’t call it that, or “social distancing,” to describe the understandable urge of songwriters and musicians to get away from all the other humans to be alone with the music.

Whether these isolations were desired, or imposed, what matters is that music sure went a long way in filling in those gaps of solitude, especially when fear, anxiety, sorrow and worse infected us. And at times that meaning seemed to be absent from most things, and despite our best efforts, determining what the moral is to the current story can be tough to determine. But songs help us make sense of the chaos. Even if our understanding of events remains murky, songs go a long way in putting things into place, and bolstering our lonely souls.

So we are happy to provide you this, today, a big bunch of timeless songs and performances ideal for these days of house arrest.

Here’s our first volume of songs for this Sunday of Solitude in America, posted with love for all songwriters and lovers of song, and with gratitude that we have all this timeless art at our fingertips. Some are very famous; some are quite obscure. All are great. In our never-humble opinion, that is. If you disagree, simply skip to the next one.

Stay healthy. Sing, dance, write new songs, and keep hope alive.

Ben Sidran, “Face Your Fears”

Laura Nyro, “Save The Country”

“Orange Crate Art,” performed by Brian Wilson, written, produced & arranged by Van Dyke Parks.

The New York Rock & Soul Revue, “Knock On Wood,”
featuring Michael McDonald, Phoebe Snow & Donald Fagen

John Martyn, “May You Never.”

Rickie Lee Jones, “Jimmy Choos.”

Joe Henry, “Orson Welles”

Wyclef Jean with Paul Simon, “Fast Car.”

Peter Case, “The Long Good Time.”

Amy Winehouse with Mark Ronson, “Valerie.”

Bruce Hornsby with Elton John, “Dreamland.”

Los Lobos, “Mas y Mas” (Live)

John Prine & Steve Goodman, “Souvenirs” (Live)

MeShell Ndegeocello, “Two Lonely Hearts on the Subway”

Jules Shear, “Whispering Your Name”

Warren Zevon, “Genius.” (Live on “The Late Show with The David Letterman,” Zevon’s Last Ever Performance, 2002.)

Joni Mitchell, “Chair In The Sky.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, “Land of Hope and Dreams”

Van Morrison, “Madame George”

George Harrison & Paul Simon, “Here Comes The Sun” (Live on SNL)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Spiritual Radio,” from the soundtrack to “She’s The One”

Stevie Wonder, “Bird of Beauty.”

Sia, “Chandelier”

Mose Allison, “Seventh Son,” written by Willie Dixon

The Beatles, “Hey Bulldog”

James Taylor, “My Traveling Star.”

David Bowie & Mick Jagger, “Dancing In The Streets.”

The Manhattan Transfer, “Soul Food To Go,” by Djavan with English lyrics by Doug Fieger

The Clash, “Hitsville U.K.”

Thee Holy Brothers, “If God Let Go.”

The Rolling Stones with Tom Waits, “Harlem Shuffle.”

Michael Smith, “Spoon River”

Jimi Hendrix, “Little Wing”

Prince, “Purple Rain” Live at the Superbowl

John Lennon, “Come Together” (Live)

Donovan, “Sunshine Superman”

Chuck Berry, “You Never Can Tell”

The Pretenders, “Back On The Chain Gang”

Todd Rundren, “When I Pray”

David Bowie, “Thursday’s Child” (Live)

Pete Seeger, “Old Devil Time”

Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime,” (Live in Los Angeles)

Tom Waits, “Swordfishtrombones”

Matisyahu, “King Without A Crown”

Bob Dylan, “Blind Willie McTell”

Ben E. King, “Stand By Me,” written with and produced by Leiber & Stoller

Tom Petty & Srevie Nicks, “Insider.” (Live)

Art Garfunkel, “Waters of March” by Antonio Carlos Jobim
(English and Portugese lyrics both written by Jobim)

Al Green, “Take Me To The River”

Paul McCartney & Wings, “Letting Go”

The Rolling Stones, “Waiting On A Friend.”

Roxy Music, “More Than This”

George Harrison, “Baltimore Oriole” (written by Hoagy Carmichael)

Harry Nilsson & John Lennon, “Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga”

Paul Simon, “Cool Papa Bell”

Rickie Lee Jones, “Flying Cowboys,” produced by Walter Becker

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