Bruce Springsteen

15 Greatest Songs about Working for A living

It's our Labor Day salute to working men and women everywhere

We can’t sign off for the long weekend without saluting the men and women who put labor into Labor Day. There’s been no shortage of songs written about the drudgery of working 9-to-5, and below, here’s a list of the 15 finest songs (oops, that just reminded us that we didn’t include R.E.M.’s “Finest Worksong”) devoted to describing how we spent most of our lives. So clock out, grab a beer, salute your fellow worker, and enjoy.

And, if it’s not too much work, add your favorite song about work in the comments.

 
1. “9 to 5,” Dolly Parton (1980)
A deceptively upbeat melody and Parton’s sweet delivery run counter to the dark sentiment of such lyrics as   “Barely getting by/It’s all takin’ and no givin’/they just use your mind/and they never give you credit.”

2. “She Works Hard For The Money,” Donna Summer
Few jobs are more grueling than waitressing: all the heavy lifting, being on your feet all day, working for tips. Summer captures it all on this disco hit about a lady who has spent 28 years slinging plates. You better treat her right.

3, “Working on the Highway,” Bruce Springsteen (1984)
Springsteen has built a career singing about the working man and on this exuberant tune from “Born In The USA,” he dreams of a better life than holding a red flag as part of a highway construction crew. Lyrically, it’s a downer (he ends up in prison), but the melody is so upbeat, most listeners never notice

4. “Working For a Living,” Huey Lewis & The News (1982)
We’re all just working for the man…

5. “Bang On The Drum All Day,” Todd Rundgren (1983)
This anti-work anthem still gets played by radio stations near and far at 5 p.m. on Friday

6. “Working For The Weekend,” Loverboy (1981)
Have truer words ever been spoken? Loverboy combine the weekend with the always alluring possibility of romance, even if it comes via a lazy rhyme: “You want a piece of my heart?/You better start at the start.” Red headband and leather pants optional. (This is the official video, skip to 2:24 to finally get to the song)

7. “Shiftwork,” Kenny Chesney and George Strait (2007)
A clever play on words: take out the “f” in “shiftwork” and you get the idea built around monotony of shiftwork, whether you’re working, as the song states, “Seven to three/Three to eleven/Eleven to seven.”

8. “Chain Gang,” Sam Cooke (1960)
Let’s face it, as bad as your job may be, it still probably doesn’t compare to working on the chain gang, picking up trash on some highway, yoked to some other prisoner. And yet, Cooke still sounds like the happiest angel in the world.

9. “Sixteen Tons,” Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)
Pair this with Lee Dorsey’s “Working In The Coal Mine” and you can double down on the misery of working where “the sun didn’t shine.” Funny, yet trenchant, lyrics detail the inability to get ahead, so much so that heaven even seems out of reach because “I owe my soul to the company store.”

10. “Working Man,” Rush (1974)
Working leaves little time for any of life’s simple pleasure other than “a nice cold beer.” At least for Alex Lifeson, it gets you a very cool guitar solo.

11. “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” Styx (1978)
Take your Styx hatred somewhere else, buddy. It’s one thing to not like “Mr Roboto,” but to not bow down to this working man’s anthem, sung by Tommy Shaw instead of usual Styx warbler Dennis DeYoung, is to prove that you’ve never even gotten so much as a paper cut at work.

12. “Taking’ Care of Business,” Bachman Turner Overdrive (1974)
This chugging ode pays homage to those who “get up every morning from your ‘larm’s clock warning” to trudge into the city like a clone, only to rinse and repeat the next day.

13. "Five O’Clock World,” The Vogues (1966)
Also used as the theme to The Drew Carrey Show, this joyous tune discards the doldrums of the working day for that magical moment when the whistle blows. Listen for the glorious production, if nothing else.

14. “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere,” Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett (2003)
Yes, yes it is…And that means it’s time to punch out and head to Margaritaville.

15. “Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck (1977)
This list ends, as it must, with country singer Paycheck’s biggest crossover hit because it’s a sentiment that everyone— no matter what kind of music you listen to or job you do — has wanted to tell his or her boss, but knows that unless they are the last words you plan to say as the door hits you on the way out, have to remain unsaid.

 

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Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani

Say 'yes' to Maroon 5 and Gwen Stefani's duet, 'My Heart Is Open'

M5's Adam Levine and his fellow 'The Voice' judge Gwen Stefani make beautiful music

It certainly worked out well  when Maroon 5 duetted with Adam Levine’s  fellow "The Voice"  judge Christina Aguilera on "Moves Like Jagger."  Not so much for judges Blake Shelton and Shakira on "Medicine."

Now, just in time to get us excited for the Sept. 22 Season 7 premiere with new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams comes “My Heart Is Open,” a gorgeous duet between Maroon 5 and the No Doubt singer.

Sure, it’s prefabricated and meant to get us interested in “The Voice,” but it also works on its own. In fact, it reminds us a little of Aguilera’s collaboration with A Great Big World, “Say Something.”

The song, which is featured on Maroon 5’s new album, “V,” out Sept. 2, starts with a heavy piano before going into Levine asking someone to take a chance on him. Stefani takes the second verse, picking up where Levine left off, declaring “it won’t take me long to find another lover, but I want you.”

The mid-tempo track, co-written by Sia, feels like an Adult Contemporary smash. Their harmonies work well and both Levine and Stefani tone down the drama so the focus is on the song.

What do you think?

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Broken Bells

Broken Bells believe we are not alone in 'Control' video: Watch

Yep, the pink orb makes it into this video too

James Mercer and Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton), collectively known at Broken Bells, definitely believe that we are not alone.

In the video for “Control,” the two perform before footage of space travel, crop circles, images of the earth from space, UFOs, and other signs that there is life out there far beyond our own life on Earth.

The combination of real news footage and the footage of the same pink orb that has appeared in every video for tunes from “After The Disco” creates the a cool, interplanetary vibe that fits the spacey “Control” perfectly as Mercer sings about not being in control.

The duo resumes its current tour Sept. 26. The video is below the tour dates.

09/26/14 - New York, NY - Rumsey Playfield
09/27/14 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
09/28/14 - Richmond, VA - The National
09/29/14 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
10/01/14 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
10/02/14 - Birmingham, AL - Iron City
10/04/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/05/14 - San Antonio, TX - The Aztec Theater
10/07/14 - Dallas, TX - South Side Ballroom
10/08/14 - Tulsa, OK - Brady Theater
10/11/14 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/24-25/14 – Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
10/24-26/14 – Las Vegas, NV - Life Is Beautiful Festival
10/28/14 - San Francisco, CA - The Masonic Auditorium

 

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Tom Petty

Album sales drop to new low in the U.S.

Streaming continues to turn listerners into renters instead of buyers

In a summer that brought “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tom Petty and Wiz Khalifa all their first No. 1 records, the rest of the news has been all bad for album sales.

For the weekend ending Aug. 24, album sales totaled 3.97 million, marking the first time the weekly tally has dropped below 4 million in the 23-year Nielsen SoundScan era, according to Billboard. The same week a year ago, album sales were 4.88 million. There have only been five weeks this year where total album sales surpassed 5 million copies (and I imagine we’ll see it happen again when Taylor Swift’s album comes out in October and possibly when Garth Brooks releases his album around Black Friday).

The culprit is streaming, which many fans do for free on ad-supported outlets, or they pay a low monthly fee, such as $10 to services like Beats Music and Spotify. Digital sales, once considered the savior of the industry, have not proved to be the lifeline many thought they would be.

For the year, album sales in the U.S. are down across the board: physical sales are down 14.6 percent, digital album sales down 11.8 percent, and track-album-equivalent sales are down 12.8 percent.

Billboard analysts reveal that the bottom for the preceding year is usually the next year’s top, so it’s likely that next year, weekly album sales will surpass 4 million a handful of times, but for the majority of the time, they will come in at under 3.9 million and continue to drop.

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Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert

Lady Gaga joins Adam Lambert and Queen for 'Another One Bites The Dust': Watch

Which one wins in the belt-fest?

In an abundance of vocal riches, Lady Gaga joined Adam Lambert and Queen on stage in Australia for a powerhouse version of “Another One Bites The Dust” last night.

The two belted the lyrics as if they were having a sing-off or trying to raise the roof in Sydney. Lady Gaga is down under with her ArtRave tour. (h/t Idolator)

As you know, the second half of Lady Gaga’s name is an homage to Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga.” She referenced the song in an Instagram post: “Tonight I felt alive in a way I have not before. I returned to the Radio Gaga Mothership to pay homage to my leaders. It was emotional and wild.”

Though we don't recommend it, it's worth even watching with the sound down to get a load of Gaga's outfit.

 

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift bows at No. 1 with 'Shake It Off'

Take that, T-Swift haters

Taylor Swift’s complete switch to pop is being met with resounding success: Her new single, “Shake It Off,” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 today.

The song, which was bolstered by immediate radio play, sales, and streaming, following its release on Aug. 18, is Swift’s second Hot 100 chart topper, following 2012’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The single sold 544,000 downloads this past week, the greatest weekly tally so far in 2014, according to Billboard.

For trivia buffs, “Shake,” the first single from Swift’s fifth studio album, “1989,” out Oct. 27, is only the 22nd of the 1,038 songs that have topped the Billboard Hot 100 to bow at No. 1. The last, coincidentally, was Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” in March 2013. Billboard created a fun list of the most successful chart songs with "Shake" in the title here.

“Shake’s” good news is bad news for Nicki Minaj, whose “Anaconda” soars 39-2, kept out of the top spot by Swift. Both artists performed their latest hits on MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday night. Nonetheless, the No. 2 spot is Minaj’s highest Hot 100 perch. She previously peaked at No. 3 with “Super Bass” and her feature on Britney Spears’  “Till The World Ends.”
All this activity pushes Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” down 2-3, despite a gain in chart points. Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” similarly drops one place to No. 4.

As Swift’s ”Shake” is coronated in the top spot, Magic!’s “Rude,” tumbles from the throne after six weeks at No. 1 to No. 5.

On the bottom half of the Top 10, Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora rises 8-6, Ariana Grande’s “Break Free,” featuring Zedd, falls 4-7, Sia’s “Chandelier” inches 9-8, as does Jessie J, Grande and Minaj’s “Bang Bang,” which moves 10-9. Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” slips 6-10.

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Usher

11 best moments in Usher's sexy 'She Came To Give It To You' video

From the sexy to the stunning to the downright strange

Usher performed his current single, “She Came To Give It To You,” featuring Nicki Minaj, on MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday night and now we have the official video. It’s a high-energy, sexy performance clip that takes place in a steamy, hidden club and it’s filled with superior, sultry dance moves and fantastic lighting. Try to sit still while you watch.

Here are 11 moments to look for:

1:07: Usher charm will melt your computer screen. Yeah, baby
1:36: What the hell? Did this just turn into a horror movie?
1:55: Best abs ever or camera trickery or both
2:58: First Nicki Minaj sighting
3:02: Quick shot of Pharrell Williams, who produced and co-wrote the song
3:05: First shot of Minaj from the front
3:18: What body part is that?
4:14: Usher looks even hotter when he sweats
4:23: What?
4:32: Oddest Swifter rhyme ever in a song
4:47: It’s all in the camera angle…like so many things in life

Usher also unveiled a new song, "Believe Me," earlier this week. It's a sultry, slow jam that features Ush singing in his delicious falsetto. It's more dramatic than "She Came To Give It To You."  The song is embedded below the video.

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Kate Bush

Review Round-Up: Kate Bush's triumphant stage return after 35 years

One show down, 22 to go. Will a US run be next?

It’s been 35 years since British songstress/icon/muse Kate Bush has performed live so her Aug. 26 return was highly anticipated and, according to some reviews, the show surpassed the almost impossibly high expectations fans and critics had placed on it.

Bush, who draws a Stevie Nicks-like devotion among her followers,  sold out 22 shows at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 15 minutes when the “Before The Dawn” shows were announced several months ago. The notoriously performance shy Bush had last played the venue for three shows in 1979.The show sounds like an artistic spectacle with all her theatrical elements still in the forefront. Bush divided the concert into three parts: the first segment was a range of songs from her catalog, the second portion was The Ninth Wave- the back half of 1985’s “Hounds Of Love” album- while the third act was the second half of 2005’s “Aerial.” In other words, if you were looking for a hits-packed show —or anything from her 1978 U.S. breakthrough, “The Kick Inside,”  you were out of luck.

David Bowie, Madonna, Lily Allen, and Bjork were among the artists reported to be in the audience for opening night.

Here is a sampling of what the critics said. Maybe the glowing reviews and audience reception will lead her to a similar U.S. run.

New York Times: “Before the Dawn” is light and film and movement and theater, but also a rock show, dense, cathartic and physical. The audience, still as stones during the music, stood to cheer whenever tiny between-song intervals allowed. After the full-band final encore, “Cloudbusting,” it would not leave until the tech crew arrived to dismantle the stage. “Thank you so much for such a wonderful, warm and positive response,” Ms. Bush said, with remarkable composure. She’s going to do this 21 more times?

The Independent: Accompanied by music ranging from polyphonic choral harmonies to folksy minstrels,  [the show is] quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage. Which is just what everyone here tonight was hoping for.

Billboard: Thirty-five years after making her last live performance, Kate Bush finally delivered what many of her fans thought they would never get to see: a triumphant, hit-filled and characteristically theatrical return to the stage….Onstage, Bush appeared to be enjoying herself hugely, displaying none of the nerves or apprehension you would expect of someone who hadn’t performed live in over three decades…The show ended with a majestic, muscular run through “Cloudbursting” and, in turn, the final standing ovation of the evening. Nearly ten minutes after Bush and her band had departed the stage, the audience was still on its feet in noisy appreciation.

The Guardian: For huge sections of the performance, Bush's movements look heavily choreographed: she moves with a lithe grace, clearly still drawing on the mime training she underwent as a teenager forty years on. Her voice too is in remarkable condition: she's note-perfect throughout. Backed by a band of musicians capable of navigating the endless twists and turns of her songwriting – from funk to folk to pastoral prog rock - the performances of Running Up That Hill and King of the Mountain sound almost identical to their recorded versions - but letting rip during a version of Top of the City, she sounds flatly incredible…For someone who's spent the vast majority of her career shunning the stage, she's a hugely engaging live performer, confident enough to shun the hits that made her famous in the first place: she plays nothing from her first four albums.

The Telegraph: Bush boldly strode out in front of her band and backing singers in bare feet and an extravagantly tassled jacket that made her look like a cross between Loretta Lynn and Sandie Shaw. There was something touchingly gauche and bashful about her as she awkwardly twirled around the stage. Yet while her stage craft might have been creaky, her voice was an undiminished roar, surprisingly rich and powerful after such a long break…Throughout, the pace was resolutely mid-tempo,the narratives sometimes obscure and the skits often hammy - in one artists ' scene from the Aerial segment, literally as exciting as watching paint dry...But nonetheless there was something thrilling about seeing the often bonkers but still delightful imagination of Bush run free after all this time, apparently untouched by the frenetic pace of the digital world.

BBC: Bush may not be the energetic 20-year-old who last performed on the same stage in 1979, but the 56-year-old singer has retained the power to entrance her audience. Among the cheers, some were moved to tears at this most unpredictable of comebacks. After the three-hour show, thousands spilled out into a damp London night knowing they had witnessed something unique. It's likely that many will wake next morning feeling they have been not only to a gig, but squeezed in a trip to the cinema and the theatre as well.

Bush asked that fans not take photos or video, but, of course, someone did (and we're kind of glad).

 

 

 

 

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Nicole Scherzinger

Listen to Nicole Scherzinger's latest tune, 'On The Rocks'

Will the ex-Pussycat Doll finally achieve solo success in the U.S.?

Though her solo career has yielded no major success in the U.S. yet, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger keeps knocking at the door waiting for her solo breakthrough. Her latest attempt, “On The Rocks,” is a mid-to-uptempo number about a break-up served “on the rocks.” The production is slightly dated, which may hamper its chances at radio in the U.S. However, in the U.K., the former "X Factor" judge is coming off a No. 6 hit with “Your Love” earlier this summer. No word on when her Epic Records release will come out in the state.

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Stevie Nicks

Listen to Stevie Nicks' wistful new tune, 'Lady'

Second tune from new set, '24 Karat Gold,' surfaces

Lady,” the latest song from Stevie Nicks’ forthcoming “24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault,” is classic Nicks.

The spare piano ballad features the Fleetwood Mac singer questioning her future with her man. “I’m tired of knocking on doors and there’s nobody there,” she sings. Though she expresses uncertainty about what’s to come, her lover reassures her. “I’m unsure, I can’t see my way/And he says, ‘Lady, you don’t have to see.”

The song is the second from “24 Karat Gold” to be released in advance of the album’s Oct. 7 album following the more upbeat “The Dealer.”  The album contains previously unreleased songs written by Nicks between 1969 and 1995.

 

 

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