Some Songs From The 1918 Flu Epidemic [Video]
Listener Kevin asked that if so many many musicians were posting songs about the coronavirus, did the 1918 flu epidemic leave behind any songs? Yes, and they're a bit dark.
The 1918 Flu Pandemic was a tragic event which killed millions of Americans, mostly young people due to something called the 'cytokine storm', a situation where your own immune system can kill you.
So you think you got it tough now? In 1918, children died at a very high rate, even before the flu hit, the average lifespan was only 50 and we had yet to eliminate a lot of diseases that no longer bother us like polio and tuberculosis. World War I was raging overseas, and the Boll Weevil had destroyed most of the South's cotton crops, making life dark already.
These songs reflect that.
First up, we hear a snappy number the quickly devolves into a chant that says they 'DIED! DIED! DIED!'. Although this song is penned in the past tense, research I did shows it was written at the crux of the pandemic in 1918.
And the other song I want to share with you is a chant that kids would recite during the pandemic called 'In Flew Enza' about a bird that would fly into your house and sicken people. Here's a super creepy version of it.
The good news about the 1918 flu pandemic? We recovered and went into a joyous age known as 'The Roaring '20s'. Take heart, this will be over soon.