‘Quarantunes’: Original Pandemic Songs by (Mostly) Local Musicians


The Shipleys sang an ode to “personal protective equipment’.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Ask and ye shall receive. My West Side Rag mug runneth over. We posted that wonderful video of Mel and Claire Vatz from Pittsburgh, singing their Coronavirus Song, and asked readers to send us their own “Quarantunes,” as Lindsey Orlofsky Rahl, who sent the tiktok video below, called them.

In no time at all, we had a playlist.

@quarantunes_with_lindsey##washyourhandssong ##quarantunes ##neildiamond ##stayathome ##neildiamondchallenge ##sweetcarolinechallenge ##happyathome ##sweetcaroline @fallontonight♬ original sound – quarantunes_with_lindsey

Lindsey is 29 years old, “a proud Upper West Sider, going on year four in the neighborhood,” she emailed. “I’m a Creative Director for a financial services and technology firm. In the last few weeks I’ve been overwhelmed with shock and sadness — and, like everyone, my sanity has surely been tested. To cope, I started turning some favorite tunes into “quarantunes” and sharing them with family and friends to provide some laughs. They encouraged me to share them more broadly, which has led me to you! I’m now experimenting with a new Instagram account to aggregate the videos. If people want to watch the next one, they can follow along @quarantunes_with_lindsey!”

Neal and Nan Shipley have lived on the UWS for 30 years, and have been married to each other for 28. Nan is a real estate broker and Neal is the medical director for Northwell Go Health Urgent Care in the New York region. “Needless to say, he’s super stressed out and working non stop (remotely),” Nan wrote. “He’s also the lead singer in a local band (The New West Ciders) and since they can’t rehearse, he’s singing to relieve the stress. We hope Sir Paul will forgive us for our use of the song! Neal woke up in the middle of the night with that version in his head. There are so many medical personnel putting themselves in harm’s way without the proper equipment. Yet they go to work every day and do the best they can. If we made one person smile or distracted for one minute, we’ll feel like we’ve succeeded.”

They did a second one too!

Steve Laifer: “I’m here living and hiding out from the virus in Cold Spring, NY, with my wife Lourdes and our two daughters 17 & 20. I originally thought that it would be tough to be cooped up all together 24/7, but it’s remarkable how a mortal threat can create more of a “we” vibe, and while this thing sucks in every possible way, that’s a welcome exception…I was a bit of a songwriter in my youth, and returned to it this past summer after many decades. I wrote Gotta Do What It Takes as a way to help me personally deal with this unimaginable situation we find ourselves in. I love visiting the West Side, and have several close friends who live there. It’s so beautiful by the Hudson, and I’ve had so many excellent times going out there through the years, so many fond memories.”

Teresa Bagg: “Hi! I saw the awesome “We’re all homebound” video and the call for more creative collaborations. My husband Ryan and I live on the UWS in a 1 br with our two kids, ages 1 and 4. Ryan is a public school music teacher and I’m in a Montessori preschool. Today was day 12 for us. We’re making videos each day of quarantine. Some are original songs or music lessons for our classes, and some are our kids being kids. Here is a link to our Coronavirus Frozen parodies – our 4 year old is a Frozen #1 fan😊

And finally, last but not least — it’s over eight minutes long! — is David Paro’s parody of Don McClean’s classic American Pie. Relocated to the UWS in 2014 from Chicago, David is in the sports marketing industry. “The Week Our Sports World Died was based on the cancellations and postponements of major sports events that occurred between March 11-13 as a result of the pandemic,” he explained. “I worked hard to mimic the feel for each verse of American Pie as Don McLean’s epic anthem deserved that level of respect.” The lyrics are included below.

* Send your music to westsiderag@gmail.com

THE WEEK OUR SPORTS WORLD DIED

A long, long time ago
I can still remember watching sports all day and how it made me smile And I knew my team had a chance
If somehow they could make the dance
And maybe, my life could feel worthwhile.
But then came word from Adam Silver And sports fans got sent up the river Bad news by the second
A nightmarish world unreckoned.
I do remember that I cried When the NBA got set aside Something touched me deep inside The week our sports world died.
So bye, bye to all sports worldwide Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live And good old games they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died This would be the week that sports died.

The NBA was first to fall
Took away pro basketball
But that we know was just the start.
Conference tourneys thought they’d play With live fans being kept away
But quickly realized that wasn’t smart.
Then Gary Bettman took advice And pulled his players from the ice Not the greatest news
For the 1st place St. Louis Blues.
I was a happy, aging, lazy soul Spending hours daily with my remote control And through my Sports Pass I would scroll But then the sports world died.
I started singing

Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live And good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died This would be the week that sports died.
Now the Players it was set to run From TPC in the Florida sun The TOUR though had to suspend.
But when Augusta said it would postpone We knew our April would be blown Not to see Tiger’s shot to defend.
And to make things even harder
On US soccer and commissioner Garber MLS adjourns
Who knows when it returns.
NASCAR hoped to stay on track But the drivers they got sent back We need a few more Busch six packs Because the sports world died. We were singing
Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live And good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died This would be the week that sports died.
With a few teams still on the fence March Madness about to commence No doubt a favorite time of year.
The road to the Final Four
A Shining Moment for one in store Cancelled due to Corona virus fear.
Opening day just weeks away Manfred called for a delay
The ‘Stros got a reprieve
From all the shit they would receive.

When the Boston Marathon got called Rescheduled sometime in the fall All we loved had been stalled
The week, our sports world died. And we were singing
Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live And good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died This would be the week that sports died.
Oh, we loved to gather in one big place To watch a game or see a race Social distance wasn’t yet a thing.
We’d high five freely without care Strangers with colors that we shared Helping the team we loved win rings.
And as we watched them play these games We’d gain some pride and lose our shame Each season brought new hope
How else could those Browns’ fans cope.
But with the Reds holding a big Prem league lead Inches from a title for LFC
Things went quiet at Anfield
And all the sports world died.
We started singing
Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live And good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died This would be the week that sports died.
I met a man who loved to cheer
For his favorite teams and drink some beer But he just frowned and turned away.
I went down to the sacred place
Where we’d watch the Knicks in confined space But the man there said the teams, they couldn’t play.

And in the streets you heard no sound Since there wasn’t anyone around
A quiet sports fan nation
Stuck in self-isolation.
I wonder what we could have learned From Kobe Bryant and David Stern To deal with such a big downturn The week our sports world died.
Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live Them good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died.
We were singing
Bye, bye to all sports worldwide
Watching Netflix, Prime and Hulu, but nothing is live Them good old games, they just don’t give the same high Singing this would be the week that sports died.

ART, NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. Erika B says:

      Bravo, Neal and Nan!

    2. Ellen Schreiber says:

      Thank you to all of our wonderful and talented UWS neighbors. You have brought a smile to our faces.

    3. Shannon H. says:

      Nan and Neal — You song is so RIGHT! More PPE for our medical personal. And you sound really good.

    4. JS says:

      Great column,Carol. Love all the creativity while in isolation. Certainly making the best of the situation.
      Thanks!

    5. Chrigid says:

      My flat
      is a very very very nice flat
      with one cat in my lap
      while my daughter’s WhatsApp app
      takes me touring ’round her yard
      so far it hasn’t been too hard

    6. Sarah says:

      Love all of these! Amazing lyrics and great entertainment for my whole family!

    7. Neighbor says:

      The Shipleys made my day with their clever lyrics, passionate delivery and, most of all, incisive critique of how the lies of this administration are costing lives. Before someone comments that the Shipleys are “politicizing” what is simply a “tragedy,” or are “socialists” who lack “patriotism,” let’s be honest and accept that any elected official who lies about the necessity and availability of PPE if not an elected official worthy of our respect. This isn’t a party issue, this is a truth issue.

    8. My bf and I (former UWSers, now Brooklyn) did our own Gaston parody: No One Cleans Like Gaston

      https://youtu.be/2zp_pMnu1rM

    9. Rachel Dahill-Fuchel says:

      wonderful – and do check out Sing Out Louise for other quarantunes…as well as the regular parodies…

    10. gs says:

      I thought the Shipley’s stunk…but what else can you expect from UWS liberals with a sever case of TDS. Follow the advice of the sages if the left…never let a good crisis go to waste. And conveniently forget that when he was responding to the virus by banning flights from China the Democrats were pursuing impeachment.

      • Gross on toast says:

        GS, what you think would most help the UWS in its time of crisis is to comment that ‘the Shipleys stunk’? Pretty sure your comment says more about you than it does about the Shipleys.

      • Tim says:

        Thank you GS. It’s sad and pathetic that people openly display their hate and politicize this crisis. We don’t need divisiveness now, we need to unite. Within 15 seconds of one of their “songs” they were spewing hate. Ugh. Give it a rest already. TDS is unfortunately real, and it doesn’t seem to have a cure.

    11. Joanne Silverman says:

      With a nod to Machiavelli, we really have to do what it takes.

    12. Ruth Bonnet says:

      Such fun!