Rock Songs While Sheltering in Place

It’s clear that in today’s world, not everyone listens to rock music. But when trying to create a playlist for social distancing or sheltering, the most obvious songs are just that – rock songs. What’s more, each of these revered classics come with catchy videos that make it even more worthwhile to listen to. Give …

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T-shirt worn by Mick Jagger from a Rolling Stones tour at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It’s clear that in today’s world, not everyone listens to rock music. But when trying to create a playlist for social distancing or sheltering, the most obvious songs are just that – rock songs. What’s more, each of these revered classics come with catchy videos that make it even more worthwhile to listen to. Give it a try; it might help make your day that much better.

Rock Songs To Listen To While Sheltering In Place

Beautiful Day – U2

Even though shelter-in-place orders are still active, everyone needs to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise. It’s even more important today as news is emerging that there’s a link of the coronavirus and lack of vitamin D. Beautiful Day was so well received it earned the band three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year. Written by lead singer Bono, Beautiful Day was the opening track of U2’s tenth studio album, – the acclaimed All That you Can’t Leave Behind (2000).

Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen

Born to Run is for anyone who practices good social distancing skills while venturing outdoors. But when staying indoors, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark is a great dance song to burn some calories. Dancing in the Dark was enormously successful worldwide and the first of seven Top 10 hits from Springsteen’s best selling rock album Born in the U.S.A (1984). The popular music video features a young Courtney Cox in her breakout performance.

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Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police

Don’t Stand So Close to Me seems to be all about social distancing. There’s actually much more to the lyrics but the catchy reggae-tinged song seems so relevant in today’s environment. From the album Zenyatta Mondatta released in late 1980, the song ended up being the best selling single of the year in the UK. Don’t Stand So Close To Me also won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance. 40 years later, the song and accompanying video are still fun to watch or dance to.

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Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

This rock classic will appear on many playlists to listen to while sheltering in place. Written during the turbulent 1960s, Gimme Shelter was partly describing the horrors of the Vietnam War. However, more than 50 years later, it has taken on a different meaning. The opening song on the Rolling Stones’ 1969 album, Let It Bleed, Gimme Shelter is ranked among the greatest rock songs of all time.

I’ll Be Your Shelter – Taylor Dayne 

Originally written for Tina Turner, I’ll Be Your Shelter is a song that can provide comfort to those stuck at home. The third single from Taylor Dayne’s triple platinum-selling 1989 album Can’t Fight Fate, it contains lyrics like “don’t give up so soon”. If anyone needs comfort, her powerful voice may just provide the remedy “to make everything alright”. I’ll Be Your Shelter was Taylor Dayne’s seventh consecutive top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

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I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

More disco than rock, I Will Survive still deserves to be on a playlist for today’s music fans. Released in 1978 by Gloria Gaynor, the empowering hit was originally intended as a breakup song. But now, it’s an enduring dance song on surviving COVID-19. Ranked among the best songs of all time, I Will Survive was covered more recently by Cake, Diana Ross and Hermes House Band. In March, Gloria Gaynor released her #IWillSurvive Challenge for hand washing on TikTok.

Stevie Nick's outfit from "Stand Back" on the left at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Stevie Nicks Outfits (credit: Randy Yagi)

Stand Back – Stevie Nicks

Another rock anthem for social distancing, Stand Back is one of Stevie Nicks’ best known single records. Released from her second solo album The Wild Heart, the song was largely written by Nicks on her wedding day. But Prince is credited as a co-writer, having inspired the Fleetwood Mac singer with his own hit, Little Red Corvette, and contributing to the recording. More than 35 years later, Stand Back is a song to live by during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees

Outdated for most millennials, Staying Alive can still provide for some lighthearted entertainment. Released as part of the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the hit went number one in several countries, including the U.S. Younger music lovers may prefer different versions of the iconic song, like the dance version by N-Trance. The movie Saturday Night Fever might even be worth watching for those sheltering in place.

We Are The Champions – Queen

With lyrics like “we’ll keep fighting ‘til the end” We Are The Champions is among the best known rock song anthems. Designed to inspire and empower masses of people, the song appeared on Queen’s 1977 album News of the World. Despite never reaching the top of the charts, the Freddie Mercury-penned hit was once voted the “world’s most favourite song” in a music poll. After the pandemic is over, We Are The Champions may become the most streamed song on earth.

We Are The World – USA For Africa

We Are the World is a 1985 charity song to fight famine in Africa. A monumental success, the recording featured 37 of the biggest names in music, including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. In today’s environment, “when the world must come together as one” has extra special meaning. The Grammy Award winning song is now being covered extensively by talented music artists on Zoom. It was also the last song performed on the finale of American Idol on May 17.

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About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles, CBS Chicago, CBS San Francisco and CBS Washington D.C. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget,,, and, among others. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.