10 Best Rock Songs About Working

Rock Songs About Working

Feature Photo: Bruce Alan Bennett / Shutterstock.com

Our 10 Best Rock Songs About Working presents a list of rock tracks that focus on the concepts of having to work for a living. Only a very small percentage of people are born into this life without having to work. (wow that sounds like a song lyric) The majority of people on this entire planet will work most of their lives. Now, this is not a political discussion or anything like that. It’s just a list of songs that features the concepts of work from all different angles.  There is something very helpful about these songs that somehow makes people feel better; it is similar to the blues. Music is a great escape, and in the end, when we share our everyday experiences like working, it’s probably a good thing.

# 10 – Working Man – Rush

We open up our 10 Best Rock Songs About Working list with one you have probably listened to for a long time. The classic song “Working Man” by Rush was released on the band’s debut album Rush. The album was released in 1974. The song featured Geddy Lee on bass and lead vocals, Alex Lifeson on guitar, and John Rutsey on drums. Yes, this was before Neil Peart joined the band. The song has become a fan favorite with its iconic opening guitar riff. Everyone loved to play that riff if they could. The riff before the chorus is even better. With it’s opening lyrics, “Well, I get up at seven, yeah And I go to work at nine I got no time for livin’ Yes, I’m workin’ all the time,”  the band presents a song with a meaning millions have related to.

# 9 – Working For A Living – Huey Lewis & The News

I have always loved the video for this song. The way Chris Hayes and Johnny Colla jump up in front, playing that lick together, and then are met by Huey Lewis all swinging back and forth together; the whole shot signifies a hard-working band. Beyond the video, it’s just a great rock song. This was a working band; they learned their trade in the bars, probably for very little money. Good for them for making it so big in the 80s.

# 8 – Working At The Car Wash Blues – Jim Croce

In the eighth spot on our 10 Best Rock Songs About Working list, we present the terrific Jim Croce song “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues.” The song was released on the album I Got A Name, which was released in 1974. The song “Working at the Car Wash Blues” is about a guy who dreams big—he thinks he’s meant for great things, maybe even running the world. But in reality, he’s just working at a car wash. It’s basically a song about dreaming or even pretending to be someone you are not. We all know someone like that.

# 7 – Welcome To The Working Week – Elvis Costello

Our favorite Elvis Costello album has always been his debut album, My Aim Is True. The album was released in the summer of 1977. ” Welcome To The Working Week was the album’s opening track. The song has been interpreted as a kick in the face to people of a social class who never really had to work for a living and eventually meet up with the working class in social situations.

# 6 – Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) – Styx

Styx fans would be pretty upset with us if we didn’t include this classic song about the working life on our list. Of course, this is one of our favorite Styx songs of all time, so including it here was the right choice. This one hits hard lyrically right from the start. It centers around the story of individuals who are forced to go on unemployment even though all they want to do is work. The song was released on the Styx Pieces Of Eight album. The song is fueled by a hard-driving organ riff that is most memorable.

# 5 – Out of Work – Gary U.S. Bonds

At the halfway point on our 10 Best Rock Songs About Working list is the first of two songs written by Bruce Springsteen. There were many more we could have added by the Boss who wrote about the working life often early in his career. However, this song was written by Bruce for his friend Gary U.S. Bonds, whom Bruce had paid tribute to for years by performing Bond’s classic “Quarter To Three” as an encore almost every night in the 1970s.  The song’s title pretty much sums it all up. It was written in the early 1980s when the US was in a recession after President Jimmy Carter left office and as President Ronald Reagan began promoting his “Morning In America” theme.

# 4 – Factory Girl – Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stones’ song “Factory Girl” is a very clever tune written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about one’s longing to find a girlfriend who would be a good friend, a sort of just one of the guys type. The point they seemed to be making was that a working girl would be a more down-to-earth, more understanding, and less demanding girl than a pampered, spoiled girl who would drive them crazy. They seemed to be speaking from experience.

# 3 – Allentown –  Billy Joel

Not every song has to have the word work or working in it to be about the topic. Billy Joel’s poignant song “Allentown” is an ode to the people of Bethlehem and Allentown, Pennsylvania. The song revolves around the loss of work among the area’s blue-collar workers when the Bethlehem Steel factory closed down. This was a massive factory that employed so many people in the area. Its closing had a profound effect on so many families. The song was released on the album entitled The Nylon Curtain. The album was released in 1982.

# 2 – Working Class Hero –  John Lennon

Just off the top spot on our 10 Best Rock Songs About Working list, we celebrate the legendary John Lennon song entitled “Working Class Hero.” This is a song about rebellion. It’s Lennon’s way of saying, despite all the nonsense that life throws at you, that you don’t have to be a rock star or a world-class businessman or CEO to feel successful. It’s about finding pride in your job and that, in the end, making a living no matter what your salary or job title is just as heroic as anyone else’s accomplishments in the world. The song’s sparse arrangement of just John Lennon singing and playing guitar speaks to the simplicity of the working class living a life.  The song was released on John Lennon’s first solo album  John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The album was released in 1970.

# 1 -Factory – Bruce Springsteen / Taking Care Of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive

No other rock song has ever painted such a vivid picture of working life as Bruce Springsteen’s “The Factory.” The song was released on Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 album Darkness On The Edge Of Town, filled with stories of the average working-class person and family. It was an album that offered glimpses of hope with songs like “Racing In The Street,” Darkness On The Edge Of Town and Prove It All Nights while also bathing in reality with songs like “Adam Raised A Cain,” “Badlands,” and, of course, “Factory.”

Obviously, we couldn’t put together a list of working songs without including the most famous one. It’s probably also one of the most famous rock songs of all time period. Every time I take the Long Island Railroad, I hear this song playing in my head. I wonder how many people feel the same way taking that train to work every morning. Of course, the song is also about not working. I guess it all depends on what you want to hear.

10 Best Rock Songs About Working article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Mark March 20, 2024
    • Avatar Brian Kachejian March 20, 2024

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