It’s Labor Day Weekend! You know what that means, right? Yeah, a whole weekend to chill, hang out and … kick out some badass jams. As always, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find a few tracks to give you some inspiration, so you can rock away to some working-class hits. Enjoy the unofficial end of the summer.
‘Sixteen Tons’ – Johnny Cash
A real worker is made out of steel and his soul belongs to the company. Yeah, take a deep breath and figure out for yourself if this is true for you. If it is, maybe you should start jamming to Johnny Cash’s version of “Sixteen Tons”; moreover, if everybody in the room sings along and bounces their heads, well, you might consider a career change. There’s always room for improvement; new career opportunities await just around the corner, don’t they?
‘Career Opportunities’ – The Clash
Now that we’re on the subject of career opportunities… When we talk about classic working-class hits, a lot come to mind. What about “Career Opportunities”? This song doesn’t glorify work, it kicks it right in the nuts. Just like you should, during this weekend. So, grab your axe, look at the chords of The Clash’s “Career Opportunities” and play along. Since it’s a punk song, the chord progression is pretty easy, with only basic triads at its core.
‘Joe Hill’ – Paul Robeson
By the way, do you know the story of the legendary Joe Hill? (No, not the writer of the graphic novel “Locke & Key” that inspired the Netflix hit series.) We’re talking about the Swedish laborer who came to the U.S.A. in the early 1900s, became a real activist and wrote some really cool working-class songs on the side. According to the stories, he was wrongfully accused of murder and executed. Which made him an even greater legend. Yup, people wrote songs about him, like “Joe Hill” by Paul Robeson.
‘Working Girl’ – Cher
For all you millennials out there: Cher used to be this super cool rock diva. As a matter of fact, she still is. She’s a little bit older, but she looks almost the same as when she recorded “Working Girl.” For all you older souls, “Working Girl” by Cher sounds like it could have been the title track of the movie with the same name, starring Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford — yes, Kylo Ren’s dad. But, it’s not. Once you start jamming, though, you’ll notice that the track is still very relevant and would have suited that movie well.
‘Three Miles Down’ – Gil Scott-Heron
We could, of course, wrap up this whole thing with Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” which would not have been out of place. But we want to draw some attention to a profession that is too easily neglected. Because whenever you think your nine-to-five life is hard, just think of what it’s like to be miner. Gil Scott-Heron’s “Three Miles Down” isn’t just a catchy tune; it’s also a tribute to mine workers. There are some tricky chords for guitar and ukulele; however, if you’re a piano player, you’re safe. Check it out for yourself. Enjoy your weekend and happy jamming!