Tonight’s fierce Saturday Night Special comes straight from the heart and soul of regular Bacon contributor Matt Osborne…

Our Bacon editor is allowing a break in protocol while we all shelter in place. So, no books this time. Songs instead. A shelter in place top 10, although it is a listing rather than a ranking.

Feel free to make your own, but I would say don’t use R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” Too obvious. Maybe Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World,” though…

1. John the Revelator (Son House)

This virus certainly has the feel of a plague of Biblical dimension, perhaps the opening of the fourth seal. So we’ll start with Son House singing about the Book of Revelation.

Tell me who’s that writin’, John the Revelator
Tell me who’s that writin’, John the Revelator
Tell me who’s that writin’, John the Revelator, wrote the book of the seven seals


2. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones, from the album Let It Bleed)

The greatest rock song of all time, and the soundtrack to the Apocalypse. Merry Clayton – what a voice!

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way


3. Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You (Bob Dylan, from the album Nashville Skyline; a great live version, with different lyrics, appears on The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: The Rolling Thunder Review)

We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Throw my ticket out the window
Throw my suitcase out there, too
Throw my troubles out the door
I don’t need them any more
‘Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you


4. When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around (The Police, from the album Zenyatta Mondatta)

Did I break my own obviousness rule here? Still, this is all we can do.

Tell me where would I go
I ain’t been out in years
. . .

When the world is running down
You make the best of what’s still around


5. Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel, from the album So)

For those who are older or have a preexisting health condition and are living in fear, for the struggling small business owners and their employees who are at risk of losing everything, for the sick and their family caregivers, for the first responders and the health care workers, and for everyone else placing themselves at risk for us (the grocery and drug store workers, the mail and delivery workers, the warehouse workers, and the government workers), this is Peter Gabriel’s great song of hope and caring amid devastation and despair.

Though I saw it all around
Never thought that I could be affected
Thought that we’d be last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up
We don’t need much of anything
Don’t give up
‘Cause somewhere there’s a place where we belong

Rest your head


6. Real Big Sky (Emma Ruth Rundle, from the album Marked for Death)

There is a reason we are taking the steps we are taking. The daily death toll is sobering. This is Emma Ruth Rundle’s magnificent song about death and transcendence. Amazing song, amazing artist.

I will always keep the light on even though you can’t stay
and you sing to me, you say,
“I don’t want to be awake when it takes me,
but I can’t wait to see you smile on the other side.
I can’t wait to kiss the face of The Big Sky.
Won’t you stay for a while with me, my child.”


7. Interlude

From time to time we are going to need to put on the headphones and get into a different brainspace, maybe even astral project. Lots of options here: Jimi Hendrix – “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)”; Miles Davis – “Spanish Key”; Pink Floyd – “Echoes”; Rush – “La Villa Strangiato”; Frank Marino – “Poppy”; and Yob – “Marrow.”]


8. Corona (The Minutemen, from the album Double Nickels on the Dime)

This song was not written about the virus, obviously, but I still take comfort in the opening line.

The people will survive


9. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (The Allman Brothers Band, from the album Eat a Peach)

At some point, we will come out the other side and walk into the clear starlight. This is Gregg’s song following Duane’s death and his own near-death episode.

Well, Lord, Lord, Miss Sally, why all your cryin’?
Been around here three long days, lookin’ like you’re dyin’.
Go step yourself outside, and look up at the stars above
And go on downtown, baby, find somebody to love.

Meanwhile, I ain’t wastin’ time no more
‘Cause time goes by like pouring rain, and much faster things.


10. Electric Worry (Clutch, from the album From Beale Street to Oblivion)

When this virus finally sets us free, I am going to burn out the speakers with this one. I am going to shred my vocal chords shouting the “Bang Bang” chorus. I am going to throw out my shoulder trying to follow Jean-Paul Gaster’s drumming. As the saying goes, my neighbors will enjoy it so much they will throw a brick through my window to hear it better. Eric Oblander from Five Horse Johnson sitting in on harmonica.

I get satisfaction
Everywhere I go
Where I lay my head
That’s where I call home
. . .

Bang, bang, bang, bang
Vamanos, vamanos
Bang, bang, bang
Vamanos, vamanos


Alright, your turn now. What song is getting you through? What song is telling your COVID-19 story? What is your song of mourning, or your song of hope? What will be your song of deliverance? What song will set your course post-virus?

– END –

(Photos from the House of Bacon, except for the super scary one; thank you for the surgical masks, Steve & Mary Jo!)

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