"Get Behind the Mule" - glorify my hard work with some appropriate songs
July 18, 2014 5:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for music that is about working hard (even if there are other themes and meanings as well, as in the title example), and isn't complaining about it. The Tom Waits song named qualifies, as would Lizzo's "W.E.R.K.", if that gives you an idea of both the range of music I am open to hearing and how far I'm willing to stretch the theme. Your ideas are appreciated.
posted by dee lee to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Santigold, Britney
posted by bimbam at 5:18 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we're always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about
posted by Rock Steady at 5:31 AM on July 18

Amerie - Gotta Work
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:40 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Kool Moe Dee, "I Go to Work."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:48 AM on July 18

I have one thing to say: You Better Work
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:48 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]

Ben Folds Five- Do It Anyway.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:57 AM on July 18

Dave Matthews Band - You Might Die Trying
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:03 AM on July 18

Graham Gouldman - Go for It
posted by guy72277 at 6:04 AM on July 18

Well, speaking of mules: Erie Canal
posted by HuronBob at 6:05 AM on July 18

Mick Jagger - Let's Work (GREAT video)
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:07 AM on July 18

Sam Cooke, Chain Gang.

Tom Waits' cover of Heigh Ho may also appeal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Styx - Blue Collar Man
Huey Lewis and the News - Workin for a livin'
Are both fine examples.

But, really, you need this:
Rush - Working Man
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:12 AM on July 18

Donna Summers - Work Hard for the Money
posted by 3FLryan at 6:14 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

iggy azalea - work
posted by nadawi at 6:16 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Jay-Z's "On To The Next One" is about getting paid and then moving on to the next gig.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:30 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

XTC's Love on a Farmboy's Wages

Also from XTC, Paper and Iron (Notes and Coins)

Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster
posted by Koko at 6:47 AM on July 18

The Saturdays - Work

Dolly Parton - 9-5
posted by Mchelly at 7:30 AM on July 18

Joe Jackson - Instant Mash

Even better if you work in a grocery store.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:33 AM on July 18

Palace Music - Work Hard Play Hard
posted by chbrooks at 7:44 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Hard Working Dog from Sesame Street. "All I know how to do is take a hundred cows and teach 'em some manners!"
posted by workerant at 7:49 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]

Howe Gelb's That's How Things Get Done.

I offer you this wonderful song on condition that you don't play it in a corporate motivational setting.
posted by distorte at 8:17 AM on July 18

Working in the Coal Mine (Lee Dorsey, Devo)
posted by shaun at 8:41 AM on July 18

The Decemberists - Rox In The Box
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:46 AM on July 18

R.E.M., Finest Worksong
posted by drlith at 9:51 AM on July 18

Pete Townshend, Keep on Working
posted by doctord at 10:00 AM on July 18

Draggin' the Line?
posted by Meep! Eek! at 10:50 AM on July 18

Carbin Hanner - Work Song (aka "Monday"). Hey, my wife's from the the Pittsburgh area.
posted by Emanuel at 1:56 PM on July 18

Gang Starr - Work
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:12 PM on July 18

Murs - H-U-S-T-L-E
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on July 18

There's all of the songs in Working, the musical. (I was Rose Hoffman in my high school production! My classroom was always a showplace, you guys.)
posted by prewar lemonade at 2:25 PM on July 18

GusGus - On the Job
posted by aubilenon at 3:29 PM on July 18

Van Morrison-Enlightenment
posted by LaBellaStella at 4:46 PM on July 18

When Will My Life Begin from Tangled is the preferred "let's clean the living room!" song for me and my kids. Also, Happy Working Song from Enchanted. Continuing down this path, I suppose Heigh, Ho! is inevitable.
posted by libraryhead at 5:30 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Pogo_Fuzzybut beat me to it, but I it's worth reiterating that Working Man is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by nixxon at 5:59 PM on July 18

Five O'Clock World - The Vogues
Car Wash - Rose Royce
Morning Train (Nine to Five) - Sheena Easton
posted by SisterHavana at 10:25 PM on July 18

I Want It All
posted by Sauce Trough at 10:08 AM on July 19

Are you including the wish for a dream job?

"I Wanna Be A Lifeguard" by Blotto.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:24 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]

Woody Guthrie, "Talking Hard Work." (Lyrics.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:58 AM on July 21

Mason Jennings - Empire Builder
posted by hootenatty at 9:33 AM on July 22

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