My loyal readers (all three of them) know that I’ve been looking for work for, well, a while. I’m sure it seems like forever to everyone who has had to endure my complaining. And so I’m happy to report that I’ve landed a job, as the copywriter at this fine establishment. Cue Etta James: “At last….My employer has come along…”

In honor of my new paycheck-producing enterprise, here are 19 songs for a new job:

“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton
“5 O’Clock World,” The Vogues
“A Day in the Life,” The Beatles
“Business Time,” Flight of the Conchords
“Career Opportunities,” The Clash
“Factory,” Band of Horses
“Factory,” Bruce Springsteen
“Found a Job,” Talking Heads
“Hard Work,” John Handy
“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Frank Loesser
“Livin’ for the Weekend,” The O’Jays
“Manic Monday,” The Bangles
“Takin’ Care of Business,” Bachman Turner Overdrive
“There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Irving Berlin
“Work to Do,” Average White Band
“Working Day and Night,” Michael Jackson
“Working for the Weekend,” Loverboy
“Working Man,” Rush
“The Working Man,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

Compiling this list was more difficult than I thought it would be. Special D (“Manic Monday”) and Number 9 (“9 to 5” and “A Day in the Life”) were a great help. There were plenty of pop examples, obviously, but I only thought of one from jazz (“Hard Work”), two from musicals, and none from classical. Number 9 suggested Carmen, since she worked in a cigar factory. I can’t say close but no cigar, but even so Carmen doesn’t quite work. Same with her next suggestion, The Barber of Seville, which makes me think of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

The blues don’t work because if those guys had jobs, a health care plan, and paid holidays, they wouldn’t have the blues.

Got any more?

Random Pick of the Week
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Take It From the Man! (1996)
The British Invasion reimagined.

Random Pan of the Week
Billy Joel, Turnstiles (1976)
“Run, you fools!”

Quote of the Week
“Forecast calls for heavy jazz this afternoon with high horns and deep double bass, with possible scattered Mingus.” (Loyal Boise reader Travis Dryden, via email)

Levon Helm, drummer with The Band, perhaps best known for his singing on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up on Cripple Creek.” The film Martin Scorsese made of The Band’s last concert, The Last Waltz, was the first concert film that was worth a damn. Sadly, Levon Helm was not related to Warren Zevon.

Adam Yauch, aka MCA of The Beastie Boys. Adam, I guess you finally got to Brooklyn. Sleep well. The Beasties summed up Special D in one line: “She’s crafty – and she’s just my type.”

I’ve been thinking of how I could suggest what each of these men meant to popular music. Here’s a rough approximation:

Gen Xers, if you haven’t heard of Levon Helm or don’t understand his significance, imagine losing Dave Grohl.

Boomers, if you haven’t heard of MCA or don’t understand his significance, remember how you felt when you lost George Harrison.

Run-DMSteve news
Besides gainful employment, that is. I’m back in The Nervous Breakdown with another day in the life.

  1. mikener says:

    “Finest Worksong” – REM
    “Working in a Coalmine” – Devo (via Allen Toussaint)

  2. mikener says:

    Good luck on your first day today!

  3. mikener says:

    I’m so sorry I mentioned James Taylor. I hate James Taylor. He was simply a cultural reference so I wouldn’t have to write that the musical “Working” is from 1977. Also, ‘Millworker’ is not his song from this play. His deadly obscure ‘Brother Trucker’ and ‘Traffic Jam’ are, sung by 17 actors portraying 40 characters.

    “Money, Money, Money” – Abba
    “Dirty Work” – Steely Dan
    “Money for Nothing” – Dire Straights
    “Working on the Highway” – Bruce Springsteen

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I’m sorry everyone has mentioned James Taylor, but I do like “Millworker.”

      Nevermind the musical Working. I’m going to read the Studs Terkle book Working instead.

      As for your song suggestions: Tomorrow is my first day on my new job. At the end of the week, I’ll post again with the updated list of songs and my elitist yet balanced comments. Until then, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for that paycheck”!

  4. spinflipmag says:

    As if you needed any more work songs, here are a few more. You just HAD to mention James Taylor: “Dad Loves His Work”, the album, although I’m not sure if it contains any work-themed songs because I think I listed to the album once back in 1981, yet I’ve toted it around with me from apartment to apartment, house to house all these years. I don’t even particularly like James Taylor’s music even though I went to one of his concerts, but only because I knew a guy who knew a girl who was friends with one of Taylor’s roadies and he got us into the show for free. I’m not proud of this.

    “Don’t Bug Me When I’m Working” by Little Village, and “Working For The Man” by Roy Orbison are others. Enjoy!

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Oh the books and music I lugged around for years until the day I looked it all over and said Stop! In the name of love! But I’m sure that in a few years I’ll look it all over again and come up with different answers. I have one suggestion by James Taylor and that’s quite enough. “Don’t Bug Me When I’m Working” works for me, as does “Working for the Man,” which also includes a romance with the boss man’s daughter who’s going to make everything all right. That makes this song a cousin to “Five O’Clock World.”

      I’m going to do an update/sequel to this post with all these great new suggestions!

  5. Jerry Kaufman says:

    “Nice Work If You Can Get It”. “Sixteen Tons.” “Workin’ In A Coal Mine.” “Factory Girl.” I believe you can make the attributions your own self.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” check. “Sixteen Tons,” I’m not sure. That song is halfway to “Take This Job and Shove It,” and I WANT this job! “Factory Girl” is the wrong gender, but I’m man enough to own my inner factory girl!

  6. mikener says:

    I know this falls into the ‘too obscure’ category, but there is a whole musical entitled, “Working” by one Stephen Schwartz (better known for writing Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked). James Taylor helped a little on “Working,” for whatever that’s worth.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Thank you mikener. That musical is obscure. Taylor’s song is “Millworker,” and you’re the second person to recommend it. Though I’m not a fan of James Taylor, I like this song very much.

  7. Tttwitchy says:

    “Heigh Ho (It’s Off To Work We Go) – Snow White soundtrack

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I have to draw a line somewhere and it’s going to be right here. That song is out — all the way out.

      However, Accused of Lurking has recommended “Millworker” by James Taylor. That one I’ll take!

      • Tttwitchy says:

        What, show tunes are allowed but not Disney? You write about dang near everyone; I didn’t figure you to be an elitist. Sheesh.

        “Car Wash” – Rolls Royce
        “Five Foot One” – Iggy Pop (he works at the amusement park)

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        I am so an elitist! If people are starting to see me as tolerant, then all I can say is, it’s clobberin’ time! Avengers assemble!

        “Car Wash” is too specific, plus now I have “Car wash. Car wash, yeah” in my head, probaby for the rest of the day.

        I’m bouncing “Five Foot One” for the same reason I didn’t use the opera Carmen — I need something in the title, like “Iggy Contributes to Social Security” or “No Height Discrimination in This Workplace.”

        If you can think of a second Disney song about working for a living, I might include that and “Heigh Ho.” Please, nothing from The Little Mermaid.

      • Tttwitchy says:


      • Run-DMSteve says:

        I’m just sure!

      • Tttwitchy says:

        You challenged me. Submitted for your approval / rejection:

        “The Work Song (Cinderelly Cinderelly)” – Cinderella soundtrack
        “Whistle While You Work” – Snow White soundtrack (too much work going on in that movie)
        “The Working Song” – Enchanted soundtrack (parody of above listed song)

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        You win, Tttwitchy! Thanks to you we are well past 20 now!

  8. Tttwitchy says:

    “Clockout” – Devo
    “Minimum Wage” – They Might Be Giants
    “Wild Sex (in the Working Class)” – Oingo Boingo

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Excellent choices! I love these. I should’ve gotten “Wild Sex (in the Working Class)” on my own. Boot to the head for me. Thank you, most wise Tttwitchy!

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