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The healthcare ruling: Five songs about sickness and cure

June 28, 2012|By August Brown
  • The White Stripes -- Meg and Jack White -- perform at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City Walk on Dec. 11, 2005.
The White Stripes -- Meg and Jack White -- perform at the KROQ Almost Acoustic… (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles…)

Regardless of your opinion on the Supreme Court’s monumental healthcare ruling today, you’re going to need a soundtrack to accompany your water-cooler discussion about constitutionality, partisan politics and that unpredictable Chief Justice John Roberts.

Fortunately, healthcare has long been a fertile topic for songwriters -- sickness and hospitals being an easy metaphor for all that ails us.

Here are five great songs that touch on the subject to accompany whatever mood the ruling may put you in today.

Mudhoney -- “Touch Me I’m Sick”

The defining song from the first titans of grunge. Enough fuzz-soaked guitars to beat any illness into submission.

Cab Calloway --  "St. James Infirmary"

One of Calloway’s spookiest, darkest tunes from the big band era. It made a noted cameo in the Betty Boop cartoon shown here, but it’s one of the finest Jazz Age laments from an American legend.

The White Stripes -- “Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine”

Jack and Meg uncork a scorcher on this cut from 2003’s “Elephant.” Though Jack has moved on to solo work, this single finds the band at its best -- primal yelps, fuzz-blitzed guitar and Meg’s punishing minimalist drums.

Eels -- “The Medication Is Wearing Off (E and Petralia)”

Eels’ 1998 album “Electro-Shock Blues” was essentially a concept album about illness -- especially his sister’s suicide and mother’s lung cancer. This heart-rending, beat-driven ballad is a centerpiece.

Cold War Kids -- “Hospital Beds”

The local blues-punks check in with one of their best early singles. Nathan Willett’s never been better than when he sits at a piano and lets his scene-setting narrative rip.


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