Song Parodies Spread Awareness, Humour During COVID-19 Crisis


There is, of course, nothing funny about COVID-19, which has killed thousands of people around the world, or the impact it has had on the lives of the global population and economy. And, while laughter is certainly not the best medicine, it is the only one we’ve got right now.

On YouTube, which is currently blanketed with links to COVID-19 information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are a few clever song parodies, including some that aim to spread important tips while bringing a smile to people in this challenging time.

MORE: Full Coverage Of COVID-19's Impact On Music

In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Hong Kong entertainer Kathy Mak shared a parody of “Torn,” an Ednaswap song made famous in 1997 by Natalie Imbruglia. “I sterilize, I sanitize / My hands are always frickin’ dry,” she sang.

Mak went on: “There’s nothing left at the grocery store / I can’t find bok choy no more / There’s just white people things like pasta, cheese and corn.”

When she debuted the song in February, Mak called it “a coping mechanism.”

Here’s a look at some of the other COVID-19 song parodies:

Robert Thiessen of Manitoba country-gospel band Prairie Joe, recorded “Goodbye Corona!!!” to the tune of “My Sharona” by The Knack and “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

“We are all living in an age of constant frustration and concern,” reads a description of the mashup of

“This parody looks at some of the common inconveniences many are facing, and brings some humour into a time when we need to stay strong and do our part to stop this nasty virus.”

Thiessen sings: “I’m getting sick of this / sick of this / why you trying to ruin my life, corona? / Oh, I want to take a trip / on a ship / but they went and cancelled my cruise, corona.”

Jason J.W. Grant, who works at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, teamed up with friends Murdo Messer and John Killawee to turn the Barenaked Ladies classic “If I Had $1000000” into “Do I Have the COVID Virus?”

Grant sings: “Do I have the COVID virus / I’ve got to emulate best practices according to Health Canada / Do I have the COVID virus / I should visit the website specific to my province or my territory / Do I have the COVID virus / Let’s find out more.”

A description on YouTube – where a video shows the three musicians standing several feet apart – Grant explained: “The news has been overwhelming and, as the process develops, it occurs to me that we need some humour to balance the severity of the situation.”

The song is intended to “get people to laugh, to reflect on those in need, and to provide some crucial information.”

In Des Moines, Iowa, Dani Ausen reworked the lyrics to BNL’s “One Week” for a parody about self-isolation during the COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s been one week since we quarantined / Said we’d all stay inside and eat our groceries / Five days since you FaceTimed me saying / be symptom free or don't come and see me,” the new version goes.

Jared Clark of Phoenix, who performs music as Pepper Coyote, recorded Ausen’s song and posted the video on YouTube.

Please stay away from people as much as you can,” he wrote in the description, going on to thank “food workers, grocery workers, delivery drivers, and holy crap ALL medical workers/doctors/nurses/techs/etc on the front lines of this.”

COVID-19 also inspired Tennessee woodworker Jesse Mullins to transform “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s into “Hey There Corona.”

“Social distance is now a thing / CDC’s recommendation / but I’ll be honest I’ve been doing this all my life, bro,” he sings. “We’re all buying Lysol by the truckload.”

Mullins captioned his video: “Humour can help us relax. Laughter is medicine. Enjoy.”

YouTube star Randy Rainbow, of course, has come up with a couple of parodies during the pandemic.

His latest is “Social Distance,” to the tune of “I Can Go The Distance” from the animated film Hercules.

He sings: “I’ll stay home from work for a million days / I will order GrubHub and I’ll eat by myself / I will shop online / Let my FOMO blaze / I will do my doody ’til there’s Charmin on the shelf.”

Billy Joel’s hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire” becomes “We Didn’t Spread The Virus” at the hands of Dallas musician Brad Skistimas, who performs as Five Times August.

He sings: “We didn’t spread the virus / ‘Cause we were all at home, we had nowhere to go / No, we didn’t spread the virus / We all just stayed at home, kept playing on our phone.”

California’s Jennifer Corday and Sara Boucher turned Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” into a COVID-19 anthem.

“I’m just a poor girl / I need no sympathy / But when the sneezes come / please just blow / into your right elbow,” Corday sings. “All the ways your nose blows / must now really matter to me.”

American singer Chris Mann went retro for his parodies, reworking the lyrics of Madonna’s “Vogue.”

“Come on, stay home / Watch the TV and eat your feelings / You know you can do it,” he sings.

Mann also customized The Knack’s “My Sharona” for the pandemic.

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