Finding inspiration for this week’s theme wasn’t that hard. In fact, come Monday morning (or every morning in my case) it’s something that smacks you right in the face…work.
Anyways, here are a few songs that either talk about working or having a job. I’d love to go more into detail, but I need to get back to work…
1. Just A Job To Do – Genesis (1983)
Growing up, my mother told me this song was about a Hitman or an Assassin. Taking the lyrics at their literal meaning, it sure sounds like it but if you start peeling back the layers I think this song is about the dissolving of Phil Collins marriage. Most of the songs penned by Collins in this era had that theme, even though they were hidden behind cleaver lyrics and themes. Plus given Genesis’ past with anti-establishment and art infused stage shows, it’s no surprise that the lyrics would have a much deeper meaning.
2. She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer (1983)
Donna Summer found great success in her post-disco career. When the 80s rolled around, many performers that made their mark during the disco era of the 70s faded away, but not Donna Summer. She Works Hard For The Money was Summer’s 11 studio album and its self titles single shot to number one. The song’s popularity accumulated when Summer was the opening act of the 1984 Grammys. As an interesting side note, Summer wrote the song about an exhausted restroom attendant named Onetta Johnson that Summer met at the iconic Los Angeles restaurant, Chasen’s. Johnson was later mentioned in the song and featured on the album’s back cover.
3. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton (1980)
This song is just classic. I’m not a country music fan in the least, but the 70s and 80s had some great country songs that embraced it more as an attitude then a musical style. Anyways, Dolly Parton is awesome and the movie that accompanied this song is a timeless classic about crappy jobs and horrible bosses. Dolly should have made more comedies back in the day, she was great.
4. It’s A Mistake – Men At Work (1983)
Yes, the only reason this song is on the list is because of the bands name. Men At Work have an impressive catalog of songs, sadly most people only know them by their iconic hit “Land Down Under”. “It’s A Mistake” came from the Australian band’s second album, Cargo and dealt with the mindset of military men across the world in the 1980s, wondering if and when the democratic countries of NATO and the communist states of the Warsaw Pact will end the Cold War standoff with conventional battle or a nuclear exchange. Colin Hay sings in the persona of a mid-level officer wishing to learn from his superiors if his men are going to war or not. Pretty deep, huh?
5. Working For The Weekend – Loverboy (1981)
What a great way to kick off ANY weekend after a crappy week of work, Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend. Coming from the bands second album Get Lucky, Working For The Weekend was the bands first hit. I remember my parents getting this on cassette with a subscription to Columbia House (remember Columbia House?). They also got 9 other tapes at the low, low price of a penny. This anthem of the working person became my Dad’s favorite and I can only envision him breaking his stoic shell to rock the hell out to this awesome song.