If ever we could use a keen wit like Randy Newman’s, it’s right now. Thankfully, the beloved singer-songwriter has added a bit of humor to these dark times with his new song “Stay Away”.
Newman penned the tune at the request of Southern California public radio station KPCC “because of my scientific background,” he joked in his video sharing the song. “Apparently there’s some disease that’s going around. Stay six feet away from people. Wash your hands, religiously and often. And don’t touch your face.”
That advice is the basis for “Stay Away”, a song that manages to charmingly traverse all the things swirling around the self-isolated: lounging in comfortable clothes, dreaming of long drives, keeping loved ones at a literal distance, and trying to remain patient with those in quarantine with us. “Stay away from me/ Baby, keep your distance, please,” he sang. “Stay away from me/ Words of love in times like these.” He even reserved some lines for his wife, Gretchen Preece: “I’m gonna be with you 24 hours a day/ A lot of people couldn’t stand that, but you can.”
Newman ended the video by offering some words of encouragement to the country. “I wish everyone well — and wish myself well, to some extent,” he said. “Stay safe. It’s hard for Americans who don’t like being told what to do at all, but in this case, you know, let’s do it. We’ll be all right. All my love to everybody.” He signed off with a playful plink of the piano.
Watch Newman sing “Stay Away” below.