Theres no reason your job hunt has to be a silent affair. Next to love, work may be the most common topic for popular music. Heres a list of some workrelated songs that should brighten your day (if thats possible) while you plot your job search strategy and write your resume and cover letters.
Work Songs or Songs for the Job Quest
Good Work The BoDeans. It really is good work if you can get it. If this song cant boost your spirits, nothing will. Album: Home, 1989.
Out of Work Gary U.S. Bonds. With a little help from the Boss, Mr. Bonds briefly revived his career with this satire of the Ford Administrations sad efforts to whip inflation now (remember the Win buttons that proliferated during that recession?). Album: On the Line, 1982.
Chain Gang Sam Cooke . The live version of this tune about working on a chain gang is a revelation.
Get a Job The Silhouttes first recorded this before ShaNaNa revived it.
Five OClock World The Vogues. This was the song for teenagers with jobs in the midSixties. During the 19961997 television season it served as the opening theme song for the Drew Carey Show. 1965.
Government Center Jonathon Richman. The perfect song for anybody who works in government from the founder of punk rock who became rocks leading manchild.
ShangriLa The Kinks. Arguably one of the greatest songs in rock history, this tune reminds us why we work when it isnt a job we love. Album: Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1969; and the Kinks' Kronikles.
Get Back in Line The Kinks. An extraordinarily poignant tune tells the tale of working stiffs who have to wait to be picked by the union to work that day. All I want to do is make some money and bring you home some wine, sings Ray Davies. Its songs like these that raise the Kinks far above the songs for which they are most famous. Available on what many critics consider to be one of the very best compilations ever published, The Kink Kronikles. Reprise 6454. Check it out!
Salt of the Earth Rolling Stones. A lowkey gem about working people.
Big Boss Man Jimmy Reed. nough said.
The Work Song Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. The first 45 r.p.m. single (remember them?) your humble author bought in his early teens. Purely instrumental, but a gas. Circa 1964.
Work to Do Isley Brothers and Vanessa Williams. The original version was one of the Isley Brothers biggest hits. Twenty five years later Vanessa Williams added hip-hop, and weve still got work to do. Circa 1967 and 1992.
Minimum Wage They Might Be Giants. A cute piece of filler from their 1990 album Flood. Contributed by Reb Holems.
Working on the Highway Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Album: Born in the USA, 1984.
Maggies Farm Bob Dylan. He may not have wanted to work on Maggies farm no more, but Dylan used this song to introduce his folk audience to his rock and roll side amid boos.
Welcome to the Working Week Elvis Costello. An incendiary tune from back when Elvis had fire. Album: My Aim is True, 1977.
Here Comes the Weekend Dave Edmunds. Another artist from the obscure, but legendary Stiff label, Edmunds anticipates the end of the working week in an allout rocker.
Sweet Cream Ladies The Box Tops. Before he became THE Alex Chilton, this teenager sang about the oldest profession.
Hard Times in America Willie Nile. Now this should have been the ClintonGore theme song for their first campaign. One of the most articulate and rocking songs about the state of the nation and employment. Album: Hard Times in America, 1992.
Rain on the Scarecrow John Mellencamp. Working on the farm has never been so bad since the large combines started putting the small farmer out of business. Album: Scarecrow, 1985.
Just Got Paid Johnny Kemp. Everybodys pay day theme. Is Johnny still getting paid? 1988.
Not Nothing Going on But the Rent No romance without finance. If money doesnt motivate you to get a job maybe love will!
I Go to Work Kool Moe Dee. Prehistoric rap with a working person theme. 1988.
Two Hangmen Mason Profit. A very pointed melodious tune about the suppression of dissent during the late Sixties, this tune asks you to identify who the hangmen in the title actually are. Album: Come & Gone, 1973.
Deportee Pete Seeger and others. This folk song tells the tale of migrant workers killed in a crash.
Working Day and Night Michael Jackson. Home of Afros and pintos, Mikes working for his lady and its not manual labor, or is it? Album: Off the Wall, 1980.
Sam Stone John Prine. All the money goes through the hole in daddys arm.
Government Cheese The Rainmakers. Dont accept that government cheese if you want to retain your dignity and independence. Album: The Rainmakers, 1980.
Money The Loving Spoonful. Even if you love your job or career, we still have to make the money to survive in this era long before establishment of the United Federation of Planets. (We had to get in something for Star Trek fans.)
Julie McBride, Next Steps Facilitator, suggests:
Working for the Weekend (BTO)
Money for Nothing (Dire Straits)
Working 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton)
Take This Job and Shove It
A few more songs from one of our readers:
Factory — Bruce Springsteen
Ten Men Workin’ — Neil Young
Bang the Drum — Todd Rundgren
Work, Work, Work; Working in a Coal Mine; and Gotta Find a Job three songs by Lee Dorsey. Contributed by Bob Pruter.
I Can't Work Any Longer Billy Butler and the Chanters. Contributed by Bob Pruter.
Shade Tree Mechanic Z.Z Hill. The south in the Seventys and this blues mechanic says he knows how to fix it all. Circa 1977.
Soon as I Get Home Babyface. This man works all day and hell cook dinner, buy your clothes, pay your rent, and more as soon as he gets home from work. Who said there are no good men left anymore? Album: Babyface, 1989.
Poor People Alan Price. Former Animals keyboardist, Price wrote the haunting and challenging songs for the film O Lucky Man! If youve never been poor, this tune may help open your eyes to their plight. Album: O Lucky Man!, 1973.
Sixteen Tons Tennessee Ernie Ford. Contributed by Bob Pruter.
Got a Job The Miracles. Contributed by Bob Pruter.
Working Class Hero — John Lennon. It’s not about a sandwich. Album: Plastic Ono Band, 1970. Contributed by Sue Bicknell.
Tunes for commuters:
Rush Hour Blues The Kinks. Anybody who has ever met the rush hour head on will appreciate this rockin tune. Album: Soap Opera, 1974. Check out the whole album since it all deals with career dreams.
D Train The Washington Squares. If youve ever been to Manhattan, youve no doubt journeyed upon this fabled subway.
This has been a sampling of all the workrelated songs out there (and we didnt even touch prerock music). If youve got more to add, email them to us. If you know of a Web site for any of the artists included here, please let us know about it so we can add a link. Hope youve enjoyed this page which is intended to give you a vacation from the seriousness of the typical job hunt.
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