(Editor’s note: When Palisadian Alan Eisenstock is not researching and writing one of his nonfiction books (18 thus far!), he pursues what he calls “a crazy labor of love side project” that he started in mid-March: sending a weekly Covid-themed playlist of songs to his family and friends. These 20-song playlists (which can be downloaded on Spotify) span rock ‘n’ roll and pop music from the 1950s to 2020, and Eisenstock adds one or two lines of commentary about each song that is clever, amusing and informative.)
Celebrate Home during Covid-19 through Song
By ALAN EISENSTOCK
In the time of Covid, your house is your home–and your office, kids’ school, gym, yoga studio, coffeeshop, favorite restaurant, bar, hotel, and escape room. And this could go on for a while. What to do? Idea! Here are 21 “house and home” songs. Listen up!
- “A House Is A Home” Ben Harper, Ellen Harper. Ben–Mr. folk/Rock/R&B/reggae–sings this with his mom. In 2004, Ben and Toots and the Maytals performed on SNL hosted by Donald Trump.
- “House Of The Rising Sun” The Animals. British R&B band led by Eric Burdon, he of the gritty, sandpapery voice. Kid goes wrong, where? Unclear. House of ill-repute? Home casino? Illegal House of Pies?
- “Our House” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Graham Nash song about sharing domestic bliss with his then significant other, Joni Mitchell, and her two cats. They broke up. May have been the cats.
- “Bring It On Home To Me” Sam Cooke. The King of Soul wrote and sings this 1962 hit. Sam was born Samuel Cook. I guess he wanted a hipper name so he added the “E.”
- “Home” Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Folk rock collective from L.A. led by Alex Ebert. Played their first show at the Troubadour back when we could go out to a club.
- “Homeward Bound” Simon & Garfunkel. From 1966. Paul was coming home from London and wrote this. One of my top 5 S&G songs.
- “Daddy’s Home” Shep and the Limelites. Doo-Wop trio from Queens. Big hit in 1961. Years later, they performed at my bar mitzvah.
- “Gimme Shelter” The Rolling Stones. From “Let It Bleed.” Not really a “home” song, but we’ve been sheltering in place, so close enough. A favorite Stones’ song.
- “Home Again” Carol King. Carol King Klein, one of our greatest songwriters, this from “Tapestry,” one of the best albums ever, released in 1971.
- “My Hometown” Bruce Springsteen. About the Boss’s tough hometown, Freehold, NJ. From 1984, off “Born in the U.S.A.” album. B-Side is “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
- “Coming Home” Leon Bridges. Young R&B singer from Fort Worth, TX, this is his biggest hit. A young Sam Cooke? He also changed his name, from Todd Michael to Leon. Uh, why?
- “Can’t Find My Way Home” Blind Faith. Clapton, Winwood, Baker and Grech formed this British supergroup in 1969 after the breakup of Cream. They made one album.
- “The Long Way Home” Norah Jones. From Bed-Stuy, daughter of Ravi Shankar, Norah does a gorgeous version of this Tom Waits song.
- “Darling Be Home Soon” The Lovin’ Spoonful. NYC band. John Sebastian wrote this in 1967 for the Coppola film, “You’re A Big Boy Now.” Great song.
- “Burning Down The House” Talking Heads. New wave and a little bit of funk by another NYC born band, and a favorite. Poll question: Which is the better film, “Gimme Shelter” or “Stop Making Sense?”
- “Better Be Home Soon” Crowded House. Australian band. Neil Finn song from 1988. The band later added Neil’s brother, Tim. Terrific song/band, love the Finn brothers.
- “House At Pooh Corner” Loggins & Messina. Big hit for the duo, covering the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. At Halloween, I dress up as Eeyore and sadly hand out candy.
- “Johnny Come Home” Fine Young Cannibals. Birmingham, England reggae trio led by the gifted Roland Gift. This catchy song is about a runaway. Still, you may dance.
- “A Heart Needs A Home” Richard Thompson, Linda Thompson. From 1975. Richard wrote it, plays guitar; Linda sings. They were married for 10 years, made beautiful music. I’ll find any excuse to put RT in the playlist. Plus, he lived in Pacific Palisades.
- “The Old Apartment” Barenaked Ladies. Canadian cult band became huge after this hit in 1988. BNL wrote the theme song for “The Big Bang Theory.”
- “Country Road” Toots and the Maytals. LOVE this version of John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Toots Hibbert, considered one of the kings of reggae, passed away last week from Covid. RIP Toots.
And with that, we’re home. Again. Still. In the meantime, some advice:
Don’t Forget to Disinfect and… PLAY IT LOUD!
-In 2004, Ben Harper and Toots and the Maytals did appear on SNL with Donald Trump.
-Shep and the Limelites did not perform at my bar mitzvah. I did, however, play my accordion. But that’s another story.
-I do not dress up as Eeyore for Halloween. I do not dress up for Halloween. Or at any other time. Even before Covid.