Some Classic Working-Man/Working-Woman Songs For This Labor Day

Posted by Billyjam, September 5, 2011 11:14am | Post a Comment
"Working Man's Blues" by Merle Haggard

Beyond that first thought that typically pops into my head on this day every year ("Labor Day already? Damn where did the summer go?!") my mind turns to the endless lists of songs about working & laboring away in a job - of which these can be divided primarily into the "I hate my job and my boss" category (IE Johnny Paycheck's perennial "Take This Job And Shove It") and the "I work hard to make a living and support my family but don't necessarily want to quit or harm my boss." This Amoeblog focuses on the latter and on just classics from the 1960's to the 80's in the rock and pop categories. Disclaimer: obviously there's many not included so feel free to add your suggestion in comments below.

First up is the above classic "Working Man Blues" by Merle Haggard with lines like "It's a big job just gettin' by with nine kids and a wife. I been a workin' man dang near all my life I'll be working long as my two hands are fit to use." Hopefully Merle will play this song when he performs, along with Kris Kristofferson, at the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco in four weeks (Sept 30, Oct 1st & 2nd). Also included (below) is Glen Campbell's timeless tale of the hardworking "lineman for the county" - "Wichita Lineman." Note that there are still some tickets available for Campbell's Amoeba Hollywood instore signing tomorrow (Sept 6th) at 6pm which the artist, who was recently diagnosed with alzheimer's, is doing in support of his final album Ghost On The Canvas.

The other Labor Day themed songs/videos below include Bachman Turner Overdrive's 1974 hit "Taking Care of Business" (note the live version intro by Keith Moon), Donna Summer's 1983 megahit single "She Works Hard For The Money," and Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" (a recent era live version with the Paul Shaffer band on Letterman show last year). Not included is Sheena Easton's similarly titled "9 to 5 (My Baby Takes The Morning Train)" since it is not in the first person - rather Sheena is singing about her "baby" taking the morning train to "work from 9 to 5" etc. Also below are the Bay Area's Huey Lewis & The News' working man anthem "Working For A Livin'" (live version feat. Tower of Power horn section), Elvis Costello & The Imposters "Welcome To The Working Week" from a Letterman show four years ago, and Roy Orbison's "Working For The Man" which was recorded as a single in 1962 and can be found at Amoeba on several Orbison compilations including the 3 CD Platinum Collection and on the 2 CD/1 DVD set Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection.

Donna Summer "She Works Hard For The Money"

Huey Lewis & The News "Workin For A Livin'"

Bachman, Turner Overdrive "Taking Care of Business"

Dolly Parton "9 to 5"

Elvis Costello & The Imposters "Welcome To The Working Week"

Roy Orbison "Working For The Man"

Glen Campbell "Wichita Lineman"

Relevant Tags

Huey Lewis (3), Dolly Parton (20), Merle Haggard (10), Elvis Costello (20)