Best Quarantine Songs, Stay At Home Lyrics

A playlist of songs for the shutdown.

For this musical list we dig deep into the archives for the best quarantine songs ever written. These songs may have a title that fits the moment especially well or social-isolation lyrics that just seem to make more sense to us now than ever before. Enjoy!

Quarantine songs image

Classic Hits / Oldies quarantine songs

1.) “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen

Eric Carmen released All By Myself from his 1975 self-titled album. The mournful ballad reached the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a radio hit throughout the late 1970s.

Fun fact: The song’s verse is based on the second movement of Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor”. Carmen used the famous composer’s melody, believing the music was in the public domain. It was considered public domain in the United States at the time, but not outside the U.S. He eventually settled with Rachmaninoff’s estate, agreeing to share 12% of royalties from the song.

Carmen explains the inspiration for the song, “If you walked in a record store and saw ‘All By Myself’ on the record label, you’d know what the song was about, and it’s an emotion that everyone has felt at some point in their life. Therefore, it’s a song that goes immediately to your heart. The lyrics are as simple as I could possibly make them. Sometimes my melodies are so dramatic that if the lyric is that dramatic, it’s overkill.”

Key lyrics:

Livin’ alone
I think of all the friends I’ve known
But when I dial the telephone
Nobody’s home

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore

Hard to be sure
Some times I feel so insecure
And love so distant and obscure
Remains the cure

2.) “In My Room” by the Beach Boys

Brian Wilson’s song about a teen holed up in his bedroom was inspired by his struggles with agoraphobia, which is a fear of open spaces. The song is from the Beach Boys 1963 album Surfer Girl. It ranks #212 on Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Fun fact: Rock band Journey’s lead singer Steve Perry paid homage to the song with these words: “This was an anthem to my teenage isolation. I just wanted to be left alone in my room, where I could find peace of mind and play music.”

Key lyrics:

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
(chorus) In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
(chorus) In my room, in my room

More oldies quarantine songs

  • “Out of Touch” by Hall & Oates
  • “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel
  • “Shelter From the Storm” by Bob Dylan
  • “The Only Living Boy In NY” by Simon & Garfunkel
  • “Living Without You” by Harry Nilsson

Classic Rock quarantine songs

3.) “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police

British rockers the Police released Don’t Stand So Close To Me in 1980 on their album Zenyatta Mondatta. The hit tune reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and top ten in the US, Australia, and Canada.

While the song’s lyrics describe a Lolita-like relationship with an underage girl, Sting insists he was merely imagining a scenario when he wrote the song. He explained, “You have to remember we were blond bombshells at the time and most of our fans were young girls so I started role playing a bit. Let’s exploit that.”

Fun fact: In the song’s lyrics, Sting refers to the novel Lolita with the line ’Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov’. Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov wrote the controversial book in 1955.

Key lyrics:

Don’t stand so close to me
Loose talk in the classroom
To hurt they try and try
Strong words in the staffroom
The accusations fly
It’s no use
He sees her
He starts to shake he starts to cough
Just like the old man in
That famous book by Nabakov

VIDEO: Sting performing with Jimmy Fallon from home

4.) “Splendid Isolation” by Warren Zevon

This song from Warren Zevon’s 1989 album Transverse City describes someone who’s given up on society and choses to live alone.

Zevon revealed his tendencies towards reclusiveness in an interview with The Guardian. He said, “It’s not an accident that I’m a solo performer at the age of 53. I’m a deeply anti-social person. So the fact that I’ve had a few sustaining friendships over the fullness of time is the anomaly, not the rule.”

Fun fact: The term “splendid isolation” dates back to the late 1800s in Britain. It was used to describe the British government’s nationalist foreign policy, which avoided any permanent alliances with foreign governments.

Key lyrics:

I’m putting tinfoil up on the windows
Lying down in the dark to dream
I don’t want to see their faces
I don’t want to hear them scream

Splendid Isolation
I don’t need no one
Splendid Isolation

> Say ‘Thank You’ to nurses and front line workers with these quotes and captions.

5.) “Too Much Time on My Hands” by Styx

1980s rock band Styx released their hit song Too Much Time on My Hands in 1981 on their #1 album Paradise Theater. The song chronicles the life of a man hanging out at the local bar with nothing better to do than blow-hard about what’s wrong with the world. With nothing better to do and his increased drinking, he goes stir crazy as his life begins to slip away.

Fun fact: Tommy Shaw wrote the song with inspiration from a real bar in Niles, Michigan, where he lived. He said about the bar, “I think officially it was called Mark’s Tavern, but everybody called it Mark’s Bar. It was the local watering hole. The drinks were good, and the drinks were cheap. You could go in there with 20 bucks and be a hero, you know — buying rounds of drinks. And you’d always run into somebody you knew in there. That was the basis of the song.”

Key lyrics:

Too much time on my hands?
It’s ticking away with my sanity
I’ve got too much time on my hands
It’s hard to believe such a calamity
I got too much time on my hands
And it’s ticking away, ticking away from me

VIDEO: Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” quarantine remix

More classic rock quarantine songs

  • “Behind the Mask” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “Alone” by Heart
  • “Is There Anybody Out There?” by Pink Floyd
  • “Get Off My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones
  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
  • “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” by Van Halen
  • “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
  • “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by The Georgia Satellites
  • “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
  • “When The World Is Running Down, Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” by The Police
  • “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles
  • “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
  • “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
  • “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
  • “I Drink Alone” by George Thorogood & the Destroyers
  • “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol
  • “Isolation” by Joy Division
  • “You Sound Like You’re Sick” by the Ramones
  • “Don’t Come Around Here No More” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • “Isolation” by John Lennon

Alt Rock quarantine songs

6.) “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) was released on R.E.M.’s 1987 album Document. Because of the current viral pandemic, streaming of the song increased by almost 50% in March of 2020 according to Nielson Music/MRC Data.

Fun fact: Bob Dylan’s song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was a strong influence on lead singer Michael Stipe’s singing style in R.E.M.’s hit song. In fact, Stipe had once imitated Dylan in a low-budget film called “Just Like a Movie”, in which the title played off Dylan’s song “Just Like A Woman”.

Stipe explained the rapid, stream-of-consciousness song lyrics: “The words come from everywhere. I’m extremely aware of everything around me, whether I am in a sleeping state, awake, dream-state or just in day to day life. There’s a part in ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ that came from a dream where I was at Lester Bangs’ birthday party and I was the only person there whose initials weren’t L.B. So there was Lenny Bruce, Leonid Brezhnev, Leonard Bernstein… So that ended up in the song along with a lot of stuff I’d seen when I was flipping TV channels. It’s a collection of streams of consciousness.”

Key lyrics:

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes
And Lenny Bruce is not afraid

More alt rock quarantine songs

  • “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay
  • “Corona” by Minutemen
  • “I Stay Away” by Alice in Chains
  • “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant
  • “Quarantined” by Atlas Sound
  • “It’s Nice to Be Alive” by Ball Park Music
  • “Alone Tonight” by Tristen
  • “Stay Away” by Nirvana
  • “The Loner” by Neil Young
  • “The End Times” by Ball Park Music

Pop quarantine songs

7.) “Contagious” by Avril Lavigne

Pop star Avril Lavigne’s song Contagious was released on her album The Best Damn Thing in 2007.

We had to include at least one song titled “Contagious” on our list, although this song is actually about a ‘contagious’ love with a guy, not a viral contagion.

Fun fact: Lavigne wrote the song with her good friend and former guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. It was originally intended to be recorded by Taubenfeld but instead was ultimately recorded by Lavigne for her next album.

Key lyrics:

When you’re not here I don’t know what to do
I do not think that I can wait
To go over and to talk to you
I do not know what I should say

And I walk out in silence
That’s when I start to realize
What you bring to my life
Damn, this guy can make me cry

More pop quarantine songs

  • “Song for the Lonely” by Cher
  • “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James & the Shondells
  • “Faith” by George Michael
  • “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty
  • “Show Me the Meaning Of Being Lonely” by the Backstreet Boys
  • “Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5
  • “Disease” by Matchbox Twenty

R&B quarantine songs

8.) “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

Beyonce Knowles and Destiny’s Child released Survivor on 2001’s self-titled album. The song is included in this list as an expression of positivity and hopefulness in these challenging times. It won the MTV Video Music Award for Best R&B Video in 2001.

Fun fact: This song is said to be inspired by the reality TV series Survivor. The group lost three of its members in one year, which brought on drama and suspense much like the television show. Beyonce says the song is about anyone who ever doubted the group.

Key lyrics:

Wishin’ you the best, pray that you are blessed
Much success, no stress, and lots of happiness

More R&B quarantine songs

  • “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
  • “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
  • “Temperature” by Sean Paul

Country / Rockabilly quarantine songs

9.) “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)” by Roy Orbison

The great Roy Orbison released Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel) on his Lonely and Blue album in 1960. It was the first major hit of his career. The song reached number 2 on Billboard’s pop music charts and number 14 their R&B charts in the US.

Fun fact: Orbison and his songwriting partner Joe Melson intended for the song to be sung by either Elvis Presley or the Everly Brothers. Don and Phil Everly ended up convincing Roy to record it himself.

According to Orbison, this sad song and others like it were written at happy times in his life. He said, “I’ve always been very content when I wrote all those songs. By this I’m saying that a lot of people think you have to live through something before you can write it, and that’s true in some cases, but I remember the times that I was unhappy or discontent, and I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t communicate, and I certainly couldn’t write a song, no way. All the songs I wrote that were successful were written when I was in a contented state of mind.”

Key lyrics:

There goes my baby
There goes my heart
They’re gone forever
So far apart

More country quarantine songs

  • “Are You Lonesome Tonight” by Elvis Presley
  • “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” by Travis Tritt

A few more from the world of hip hop and metal

Hip Hop / Rap

  • “Locked Up” by Akon
  • “SICKO MODE” by Travis Scott
  • “Corona And Lime” by Shwayze, Cisco Adler

Hard rock / Heavy metal

  • “Stay Clean” by Motorhead
  • “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” by Motley Crue
  • “Virus” by Iron Maiden
  • “Antisocial” by Anthrax
  • “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed

We hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek look at some popular songs that fit our current quarantine situation. If you think of others that fit the theme, be sure to let us know!

— Greg Johnson

Greg covers trending and current events for Listcaboodle.

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