Here comes the sun

Published 2:50 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Bill Baker 

A few days ago, a friend called to talk about the pandemic.  He was curious about what I was doing to “destress” during these stressful times.

My first answer was flippant.  I had just read of a comment Tom Hanks made when asked a similar question.  Hanks and his wife both suffered from the coronavirus while in Australia. Both recovered and are back home.

Here’s what the actor said about his activity while still in quarantine: “Play Solitaire.  If I win once, I immediately try to see if I can get two in a row, so I’m busy.  Very, very busy enough.”

In a more thoughtful moment, I explained that I had been listening to music, social distancing, and maintaining better eating habits than usual.  Also told my friend that I had learned that the first country song about coronavirus had been written by Chase Rice, country music singer and songwriter.

Rice said he wanted to urge a positive attitude as America moves through the struggle and be prepared to move on.

My Tennessee friend and I both recalled other singers and songwriters who had provided many songs about war and peace during our lifetimes. And we pretty much agreed that the COVID-19 had the attributes of war. And we remembered Alan Jackson’s song after 9-11 attacks on American soil.

“Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” became a memorable hit for the country star in 2002.

Clint Black, recording artist and Grand Ole Opry member, has just released a patriotic music video that he says was born out of the limitations brought on by the pandemic. Its title is “America (Still in love with You)” as a ‘love letter to the country.’

The conversation could have gone on much longer, I’m sure.  But it ended with a reminder that one song from the VietNam War years lives on 50 years later in 2020 during the war we face with the coronavirus.  It’s a song from the Beatles titled “Here Comes the Sun.”

A first responder in a hospital wanted a signal of survival to her colleagues and to the patients where she was serving.  She remembered the Beatles’ song and the lyrics that described the end of a long, cold winter and the beginning of sunny days as the end of the war appeared to be near. 

Perfect for the pandemic survivors, the nurse thought. “Here Comes the Sun.” And a reminder of the power of music in our efforts to “destress” in a stressful scenario we haven’t seen before.

William H. Baker is a native of Claiborne County and former resident of Middlesboro. Email