The other day singer-songwriter-composer Randy Newman hopped on the phone with The Times to talk about life in isolation. Asked what was on the schedule for his day, he mentioned something about doing a public service announcement about social distancing for NPR, and that he was going to record it when he got off the line.
Did he manage to find a word to rhyme with "pandemic"?
"That's a tough one," he said with a chuckle.
And so, instead of a standard PSA (in fact, for NPR affiliate KPCC-FM in Pasadena), Newman took to the piano to write an entire song about social distancing. With typical wit, he narrates from the perspective of someone locked in a home with a "Venus in sweatpants" spouse, one he is very lucky to have. A lyrical nod to one of Newman's early hits, "Sail Away," the new song is about the opposite reflex: never leaving your house.
"Stay Away" also happens to feature a sing-along chorus every bit as convincing as "I Love L.A":
"Wash your hands
Don't touch your face"
Newman uploaded the new song to his YouTube channel, but he didn't include the lyrics. Below is our transcription of the lyrics. Memorize them for your next bedroom concert.
by Randy Newman