That’s right folks! The occasion which signals the end of summer (bummer), and which is also a holiday for working citizens is almost upon us. That would be Labor Day, a day where we celebrate workers everywhere by spending a day not working and getting paid for it (some of us anyway).
This will probably be a rather somber Labor Day as it will be obscured by the unemployment rate in this country is nearing 10%. Right now, we are still dealing with the toughest of times, and many of us should be thankful that we have a job even if it’s one we hate.
Still, everyone employed or unemployed should not deny themselves a great celebration to enjoy on Labor Day. If you are planning a magnificent barbecue get together with friends and families, be sure to have some great music on hand. In preparation for this, I have provided a list of songs from different music genres to bring out the best of the festivities this very day. These songs are presented here in no particular order.
1) “Found A Job” by the Talking Heads
One of my very favorite songs by this band, it tells the story of a couple who ends up saving their marriage by making a TV show. This same couple could easily do the same thing by posting something on YouTube. It is so much to listen to because you can tell that everyone in the band is having a blast performing it.
2) “Maggie’s Farm” as performed by Rage Against The Machine
This Bob Dylan song was given an intensely driven energy by one of the most political of hard rock bands, and I love it for that. It’s a great protest song to play if you have just triumphantly walked out of a job you hated and did so on your own terms.
3) “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”by Styx
Here’s a great one from the 70’s that’s all about fighting against the “impossible odds,” and it pays tribute to those workers who don’t get the same respect or pay as those white collar workers who seem to be getting into so much trouble lately.
4) “She Works Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer
The title really says it all. This one is for all the hard working women out there who still don’t get the respect they deserve because many still make less than a man at the same job. All of this from a singer who used to tell us all about the “bad girls.”
5) “Workin’ For A Livin'” by Huey Lewis and the News
Now we have another song where the title spells it out perfectly. “Workin’ For A Livin'” represented one of the most energetic songs that this band performed in the 80’s. It is definitely for those who take pride in their jobs and who don’t spend a lot of time arguing about all the things they hate about it. We need to work, and sometimes we need to take what we are given.
6) “Working For The Weekend” by Loverboy
OK, there are many who do have to work all day Friday and Saturday, so this one will probably not be for them. But as for me and my fellow colleagues, we get those days off and we live them to the fullest. This classic from the 80’s has forever burned itself into our unconscious mind, and it comes to the surface every single Friday even before your shift has ended. This is still a great song to listen to today.
7) “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles
I eagerly look forward to hearing the newly remastered version of this song when all this band’s albums get re-released on September 9th. This was the last song on one of the greatest albums ever produced, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” It veers from John Lennon singing about all the bad things he keeps reading about in the paper to Paul McCartney talking about how his day started and how he daydreams at work. The escalating cacophony of instruments at the song’s midpoint and climax symbolizes how things keep building up inside of us and of how we can only take so much before we explode.
8) “Dog Eat Dog” by AC/DC
Now we have this one here from the Bon Scott from the band who released their latest album through Wal Mart (groan). This hard rocking song gets at how seriously competitive the workplace and business can get, and of how trust can seem like an illusion at best. I wonder if AC/DC is playing this song on their latest tour…
9) “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel (with Kate Bush)
Peter said he wrote this song after looking at pictures of Americans back in the Depression era. Since America is now going through a tough and scary time that was much like that, this songs seems a very appropriate one to slow dance to. Peter ends up singing about the endless troubles and defeats he goes through while trying to make it in this world, Then Kate Bush’s soothing voice comes over the song encouraging us to keep on moving forward because we didn’t come this far to just give up. She is right when she says that we are not beaten yet.
10) “Working In A Coalmine” as performed by Devo
This one’s another cover of a classic song, but I prefer this version to the original. It’s a great song to boogie to after the workday is over, and that’s even if the lead singer is too tired to have any fun. While he may keep saying over and over that he needs to sit down (what’s taking him so long to sit down anyway?), we just have to get up and dance the night away.
11) “Five O’clock World” by The Vogues
Now this one is from several decades ago, and it’s a beautiful pop song of how thankful we are when the clock FINALLY hits the hour of 5:00 pm. How wonderful it feels to be freed from our cubicles we are consigned to for much too long of a time. I discovered this song from the soundtrack to “Good Morning Vietnam.”
12) “Dog Eat Dog” by Weird Al Yankovic
No, Yankovic is not doing a cover here of the AC/DC that was already mentioned on this list. This little ditty is all of his own making. Whereas many of his songs parody specific ones of the time, this is one of his offerings that is more a spoof of a style. In this case, “Dog Eat Dog” is a satire on the music of the Talking Heads. This is made clear when he sings obsessively about his personal stapler (long before “Office Space” came to be) or of having more than one jelly donut. That last one is a thought I indulge way more than I have any right to.
13) “Working On A Highway” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
This great tune from Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” album is for all those people who work outdoors. Listening to this song makes me want to get a job that does not confine me to a desk in front of a computer inside an air conditioned building. How great would it be to take in the great weather that many of us office workers miss out on a regular basis?
So I hope these songs will aid in your quest in having a most fantastic and awesome Labor Day holiday this year. Be safe and enjoy the day off!