Labor Day is coming! Whether you live in Los Angeles, CA or Souderton, PA, the holiday will soon be here. Even your crusty chronicler has it off from his day job BUT without pay! Hence, another reason for y’all to READ all my articles here on joltleft.com! Anyway, to celebrate the day your screwy scribe has once more come up with a potential playlist of tunes appropriate for the day. Here in no particular order are the songs:
“Takin’ Care Of Business”—Bachman Turner Overdrive: This one is from the BTO 1973 platter Bachman–Turner Overdrive II. It was written and performed (in an earlier incarnation) by Bachman while he was still in The Guess Who. This is such a groove-propelled piece that even white guys can dance to it. it has a genuine white-collared vibe and speaks of the perhaps timeless concept of working one’s life away for” the man”.
“A Hard Day’s Night”—The Beatles: The inspiration for this song came from a remark Ringo Starr made to a DJ:”We went to do a job, and we’d worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, ‘It’s been a hard day… and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, ‘…night!’ So we came to ‘A Hard Day’s Night.'” So not only is this title track from the film soundtrack appropriate it also fills the bill nicely as the required Beatles-related track.
“She Works Hard For The Money”—Donna Summer: This one is on a couple of favorite lists. It also adds not only a different genre but a female vocalist to the mix as well. Not sure why anyone would want to work all day and then go out and dance on city streets but whatever. (The word when this first hit the stores was the song was about a “working” girl. Guess some guys were never told that one never pays for what he can get for free.)
“Take This Job And Shove It”—Johnny Paycheck: This one throws some classic crossover-country into the mix. It’s also obviously appropriate. Paycheck speaks for every guy or gal whoever punched a time-clock, dug a ditch, cleaned a bedpan or worked in ANY thankless job. It is the penultimate “work sucks!” songs on a day when people are not SUPPOSED to be working.
“Working Man”–Rush: This is another “blue collar” cut. It’s also one of the tracks that broke rush in the US. When was the last time you played any Rush music on a holiday anyway?
“I’m Out Of Work”—Gary U.S. Bonds: This was a big hit for the artist. In 1982 it went to number 21. Considering the current state of American unemployment figures, this, too, is very appropriate for the day. (Your crusty chronicler is just glad he is not a member of the unemployed bunch.
“Workin’ For A Livin'”–Huey Lewis and The News: Hey, the song’s title says it all. Lewis specialized on writing songs for the average guy. This is about having to work for a living although despite all the high unemployment figures your quite-often cranky critic comes across plenty of people who have jobs but just don’t seem to actually WORK or certainly do their jobs effectively.
“Maggie’s Farm”–Bob Dylan: Dylan does a song about one specific workplace. In this classic Dylan discusses a unique tale of employee-employer relations. When was the last time you had Dylan on your holiday mix anyway?
“Career Opportunities”–The Clash: Here is a band that was all about the working class. They were generally pro-labor or pro-union. (As if the musicians union is anything like a real workers union, but, I digress . . .) Again, you don’t hear a lot of clash cuts in music mixes nowadays.
“The Corporate Stomp”–The Bones of Contention: here is an act that not everyone has heard of, OK? This is plain, old, rock ‘n’ roll. It adds something new to the mix and is a favorite of those who know of the band. There may not be a music video for it but it will add some originality to your playlist.
“Welcome To The Working Week”–Elvis Costello: My “baby-momma” likes Costello. Additionally, and more importantly, this is a great favorite of many music fans out there—especially when it comes to work-related tunes. No one ever noticed that Costello included this song as the lead-in to his premiere platter. Yeah, welcome to the work week—something I won’t have to deal with anymore because I’M a rock star now.
“Let’s Work”–Mick Jagger: This Jagger tune is almost as good as some Rolling Stones tracks plus it speaks directly of working. This, in fact, is Jagger’s “How To” tune for those of us who are NOT frontmen for one of the oldest rock bands in the world. There are plenty of places near yours truly’s house that could yield better results if they would play this tune for their employees, in fact!
“Working For The Weekend”—Loverboy: This was one of the band’s few real hits. It was and perhaps still is one of the best “looking-forward-to-Friday” kinda cuts. This one speaks to drinking Friday night and sleepin’ in late Saturday instead of just complaining about how much the job sucks.
“Rise Again”—Laurel Blaydes: This is a favorite of another online critic. It is both inspiring and appropriate. It also throws another woman into the mix. It’s all about variety. It might be hard to find but it wil fit in just fine.
“Working Class Hero”—John Lennon: This is not only a classic working class tune but it has some interesting insights to boot. For example, Lennon wrote: “Keep you doped with religion, sex, and TV” back before Cable TV was even invented! (Of course, when he got older he pretty much camped in front of his own TV in The Dakota for a few years but, I digress . . . again . . .)
There you have it, boys and girls. There’s plenty of room here to throw in your own personal favorites as well. Mix and match and have some fun. Have a happy Labor Day! Work hard and then get pregnant (or impregnate someone). That should cover BOTH kinds of labor!
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.