Healing hands: Musical tribute to COVID health care workers – localspins.com

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This playlist from April honors the brave doctors, nurses and health care workers who have helped heal the nation. We revisit this tribute on Christmas Eve as part of our countdown of 2020’s most-read stories.

COVID 19 Response

Fighting the Good Fight: The medical profession deserves a musical tribute as they battle COVID. (Courtesy Photo/CDC)


EDITOR’S NOTE: No. 8 in Local Spins’ countdown of its top 2020 stories rewinds one of the year’s most popular playlists: a Christmas Eve “healing hands” soundtrack of songs aimed at spotlighting the selfless and courageous nurses, doctors and health care personnel on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Scroll down to listen to the Local Spins playlist on Spotify, then give a virtual hug to anyone you know in the health care field. Merry Christmas.

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Doctor, doctor, give me the news, we’ve all got a bad case of loving what you do.

Those aren’t quite Robert Palmer’s lyrics, but suffice to say that physicians, nurses, hospital employees and health care workers deserve to be serenaded for their bravery during this excruciatingly long coronavirus pandemic.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to plague Michigan and elsewhere, these medical professionals on the front lines of the battle are honest-to-goodness heroes who are putting their lives on the line.

So, this special Local Spins playlist — which first was published in April and attracted a multitude of readers — goes out to theme: a musical tribute to those helping heal our world.


1. “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor),” Robert Palmer (1979) – Ok, since we’ve already referenced this song in the opening line, let’s get this classic by Robert Palmer out of the way. Like many rock and pop songs about doctors, it’s really about being treated for a serious love infection. But hey, whatever it takes to get through this …
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2. “Medicine,” Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2010) – Yup, when it comes to doctors and nurses: “She’s got the medicine that everybody wants.” Plus, this track really rocks.
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3. “I Need a Doctor,” Dr. Dre with Eminem and Skylar Grey (2011) – So many do. And, Eminem rightly raps: “I could never repay you.”
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4. “Healing Hands,” Citizen Cope (2010) – There are a lot of political overtones to this under-the-radar gem by Citizen Cope, but we all need healing hands — and never more than now.
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5. “Don’t Give Up,” Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush (1986) – Consider these musical words of encouragement to those facing unprecedented challenges in treating COVID-19 patients: “Don’t give up ’cause you have friends/Don’t give up, you’re not beaten yet/When times get rough you can fall back on us/Don’t give up.”
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6. “Jackson Browne, “Doctor My Eyes” (1972) – Jackson Browne’s first hit single is a plea that could relate scarily to the current situation: “Doctor, my eyes tell me what is wrong, was I unwise to leave them open for so long … People go just where they will, I never noticed them until I got this feeling that it’s later than it seems.”
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7. “Nurse,” Bush (2017) – “I need a nurse to get me through,” Gavin Rossdale implores. “I think of you like an angel.” Angel is the perfect description of a nurse these days, right? (If you’re a reggae fan, there’s also Gregory Isaacs’ “Night Nurse.”)
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8. “Call the Doctor,” JJ Cale (1972) – One of America’s truly great and vastly underrated songwriters, the late JJ Cale was likely referring to a different sort of “medicine” and a different sort of “doctor” but the need comes through loud and clear regardless.
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9. “Medicine,” Rising Appalachia (2015) – There are several fine “Medicine” songs out there (see Grace Potter above), including tunes by Harry Styles and Hollywood Undead, but this indie-folk sister act from New Orleans has one of the best — beautiful harmonies that pay homage: “Medicine woman, medicine man, walking with grace, I know your face and I trust your hands.”
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10. “Doctor Doctor Doctor Help Me Help Me Help Me,” Cage the Elephant (2011) – Another “doctor, doctor” tune whose title says it all. One of Cage the Elephant’s most intense rockers.
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11.”Grateful,” May Erlewine (2017) — Few artists from the Great Lakes State are more inspiring than Michigan’s songbird and “Mother Lion,” May Erlewine. And at the end of the day, we are so grateful to all of those working to make us well.
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12. “Emergency Room,” Micah Schnabel (2019) — Not sure any lyricist has described the hospital setting of an emergency room in starker terms than Ohio singer-songwriter/indie-rocker Micah Schnabel: “The emergency room at 2 a.m. is no place for the soft-hearted …”
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13. “My Hero,” Foo Fighters (1998) – Dave Grohl himself has called this a song about everyday heroes — “a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential.”
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14. “Doctor Rock,” Motorhead (1986) – Somewhere on this list, we had to give a nod to metal/hard rock, what with Black Sabbath’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor,” UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor,” Van Halen’s “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” and other headbanging prescriptions. So, why not the healing powers of Lemmy himself, who happens to have “the medicine you need”?
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15. “Heal the World,” Michael Jackson (1991) – It’s a song infused with sappiness, but the underlying message is about making this a better place “if you care enough for the living.” Many of us do, especially those in health care.
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16. Van Morrison, “And When the Healing Has Begun” (1979) – There may be no more hopeful song to close things out than this one featuring the legendary voice of Van Morrison. It’s timely, with a reference to Easter, and it almost seems like it was written about the eventual end to our global, stay-at-home pandemic: “And we’ll walk down the avenue again, and we’ll sing all the songs from way back when, and we’ll walk down the avenue again, when the healing has begun.”
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HEALING HANDS DURING COVID-19: The Local Spins Playlist on Spotify

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