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8 Songs About Working (Or Hating Your Job): Bruce Springsteen, Oasis, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Aug 31, 2014 11:37 AM EDT

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

If there's one thing that most rock fans can relate to, it's despising your job (or in some cases, not even having a job). In celebration of Labor Day tomorrow, here are eight songs about how tough and irritating most jobs can be.

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Proud Mary" (1969)

Any song with the phrase "working for the man" is going to strike a chord for anyone with a crappy low-paying job, and CCR's classic "Proud Mary" makes quitting that job sound like the best decision you'll ever make. You probably shouldn't take advice from late '60s rock songs, though.

2. Rush - "Working Man" (1974)

Before Rush got famous for writing songs about oppressive futuristic societies and the nature of free will, they were writing about more down-to-earth topics like working a 9-to-5 job and drinking a beer at the end of the day. There are no allegories or deep philosophical musings here, but it's still a pretty great song.

3. Randy Newman - "Mr. President, Have Pity On The Working Man" (1974)

Randy Newman is known for his satirical lyrics, so he's probably being sarcastic when he sings "Mr. President, have pity on the working man," but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of people who can't relate to it.

4. The Clash - "Career Opportunities" (1977)

The original British punk movement rose out of a period of great economic and political turmoil in the UK, which resulted in the heavily political slant of bands like the Sex Pistols and, especially, the Clash, who wrote songs like "Career Opportunities" out of protest to the country's employment policies.

5 & 6. Bruce Springsteen - "Factory"/"Working On The Highway" (1978/1984)

I could have listed pretty much every Bruce Springsteen song for this list, but these were the two that came immediately to mind. "Factory" describes the life of a factory worker from his son's point of view, while "Working On the Highway" tells the story of a guy who's sent to prison and ends up working on the highway like he did when he was free.


7. Black Flag - "Clocked In" (1980)

Legend has it that Henry Rollins was hired as Black Flag's singer in 1981 after he was pulled on stage to sing the band's anti-work song "Clocked In" at a show in New York City. The 20-year-old Rollins had requested the song because he had to head back down to Washington, DC that night to go to work, which likely made his performance even angrier and more intense than it normally would have been.

8. Oasis - "Cigarettes & Alcohol" (1994)

Oasis were often seen as the most working-class of all of the Britpop heavy hitters (they slammed their rivals Blur for being too artsy and middle-class), largely because of classic songs like "Cigarettes & Alcohol," with lines such as, "Is it worth the aggravation/To find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?"

What are some other songs about the working life? Let us know down in the comments section!

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