If you haven't already contracted the flu during our current epidemic, then you probably made a deal with the devil a la Jimi Hendrix—and we all know how that turned out (there's a reason there are magically unearthed "new" Hendrix recordings being premiered on Hawaii Five-0 in 2012). But for the rest of us fragile creatures, getting the flu is a miserable reality. But you are not alone! Humanity has struggled with the aches and sniffles of influenza throughout the 20th century. And likewise, songwriters have been grappling with it in song; below, we've compiled a 14-song flu playlist to help take some attention away from the sound of your clogged up nose.
Oh, you always thought Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was singing about an illicit teacher/student relationship? How wrong you were:
Essie Jenkins' song is all about the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. Learn your history and listen.
There are a lot of ailments the Stones could have been suffering from, but the pain where there once was a heart sure sounds like a rough illness.
One of the all-time great American folk songs, "St. James Infirmary Blues" has been covered by everyone from the White Stripes to Louis Armstrong.
Why, pray tell, do you think Declan MacManus was having such a hard time staying upright?
The great blues master Skip James sang about his sickbed in this late-period classic, taken from his phenomenal Blues From the Delta album.
The Ramones skip straight to the point, as only the Ramones can do: "You sound like you're sick / You look like you're sick too."
The Beastie Boys actually sound pumped about spending time indoors clutching the tissues and the TV remote:
Mudhoney are asking for it with this one, those sickos:
The National are so heartsick and worried about losing their girl, they've developed a nasty cold:
Johnny Rivers sounds positively joyous about contracting pneumonia:
Warren Zevon offers this sobering, utterly brilliant song about being ill and having a doctor who tells it to you straight: "The shit that used to work / won't work now."
Roger Miller classic "Lou's Got A Flu" gets lovingly pantomimed by three good old boys on a boat:
And finally, Bob Dylan can't even get through his early song "Suze" thanks to a nasty cough: