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Success comes to those who work hard and are willing to go the distance for their dreams.
Today’s post features songs about working hard. This collection is a tribute to those who contribute their strength, knowledge, and skills to keep the economy afloat, their families provided for, and their dreams alive.
People who work hard can be found in all types of industries doing all sorts of jobs—manual labor, office work, services, health care, etc.
Wherever they work, they are assets to their employers.
They possess fierce independence and take pride in paying their own way through life, instead of relying on handouts.
What Does It Mean to Work Hard?
There are several indicators that someone is a hard-working person. Check to see if any of these descriptors apply to you:
Let’s check out the songs on our list!
1. A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles
“It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog. It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log.”
This single from The Beatles is considered one of the most iconic songs about working hard.
It was part of the soundtrack on the group’s first feature film of the same title. In this song, the quartet describe how someone works for the person they love, barely even sleeping to provide for their needs.
Many people resonate with this song because of the sacrifices they make for the people they love.
2. Manic Monday, The Bangles
“It's just another manic Monday. Wish it were Sunday, 'cause that's my fun day. My I don't have to run day. It's just another manic Monday.”
Do you dread Mondays? Many people do. In research done by Populus for UK-based Mind Organization, it was revealed that many working people perceive Monday as the most stressful day of the week.
This 1980s song from The Bangles reflects this aversion for Mondays, as the group sings about wishing it were still the weekend.
3. Hands of a Workin' Man, Zane Williams
“Workin' hard from sunup to the sundown. They can build it tall, they can tear it on down. They've got the know-how if you've got the money.”
This song is a tribute to the hardworking people who were the backbone of progress throughout the history of this country. It tells of how there are people with talent who can do what’s needed (tear down or build something).
4. Life of a Workin' Man, Creed Fisher
“Don't tell me that you understand what it's like and who I am. If you ain't spend your day working hard for half your pay. Don't tell me 'bout the working class, 'til you're the one that busts you’re a**. When all you got is your pride and your two hands. You can't tell me 'bout the life of a workin' man.”
In this song, Creed Fisher urges those who want to tell the story of the working man to at least experience what it’s like to truly live as a working-class individual.
This means experiencing everything that goes with the job, including being underpaid and overworked. Only then, he says, will the story have credibility.
5. 9 to 5, Dolly Parton
“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living. Barely getting by, it's all taking and no giving. They just use your mind, and they never give you credit. It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it.”
The current work landscape is changing in major ways. Many people are now working from home due to global events such as the pandemic that hit in 2020.
Nevertheless, there are still people who work the 9-to-5 grind.” This song describes the hardships these people experience while working in an unfair work environment.
6. Dear Mama, Tupac Shakur
“You just workin' with the scraps you was given. And Mama made miracles every Thanksgivin'. But now the road got rough, you're alone. You're tryin' to raise two bad kids on your own. And there's no way I can pay you back. But my plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated.”
Compared with families where both parents are present, single parents work extra hard to ensure that the needs of their families are provided for.
This song is a tribute to those single parents who keep finding ways to overcome the challenges they face in order to take care of their families.
We appreciate you!
7. Workin' Man Blues, Merle Haggard
“I keep my nose on the grindstone, I work hard every day. I might get a little tired on the weekend, after I draw my pay. Then I'll go back workin', come Monday morning I'm right back with the crew. I'll drink a little beer that evening. Sing a little bit of these working man blues.”
Some people work hard, but earn very little money.
In this song, we get to know one such working man.
We learn about his weekly routine, which seems to involve working hard all day and getting a little break in the evening, when he can relax with his friends over beer.
What’s your workday routine?
8. 40 Hour Week, Alabama
“This is for the one who swing the hammer, driving home the nail. Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale. Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail. For everyone who works behind the scenes.”
This song is another tribute to people who work in the service industries. They are the unsung heroes of progress. Hats off to them.
9. Hard Hat and a Hammer, Alan Jackson
“All week long making a living. Life keeps takin', he keeps giving. Behind the scene, below the grade. Hardly noticed but part of everything.”
This song is Alan Jackson’s tribute to manual laborers.
Their work is backbreaking and often performed under suboptimal weather conditions. The fact that there are people willing to do this kind of work is admirable and humbling.
10. Working Girl, Cher
“Come Monday morning, you see her waitin' on the street for her ride. In an hour she'll be working in a tower made of steel in the sky. She's just a pawn in the struggle in a never-ending fight to survive…”
In this song, Cher sings about the trials and travails of working women.
Even today, there is still gender discrimination in the workplace. Perhaps we can do our part to help put a stop to it soon.
11. Working Man's Ph.D., Aaron Tippin
“With your heart and your hands and the sweat on your brow, you build the things that really make the world go 'round. If it works, if it runs, if it lasts for years, you can bet your bottom dollar it was made right here. With pride and honor and dignity from a man with a Working Man's Ph.D.”
This song was released in 1993 as the lead single from Tippin’s Call of the Wild album. The song gives listeners a picture of what life is like for people who do manual work.
12. Five O'Clock World, The Vogues
“Trading my time for the pay I get, living on the money that I ain't made yet. Gotta keep goin', gotta make my way. But I live for the end of the day!”
There are many people who work hard but don’t really love their jobs. Their prime motivation is making money to pay their bills and support their lifestyle.
This song describes these people, who always seem to be watching the clock.
13. She Works Hard for the Money, Donna Summer
“She works hard for the money, so hard for it, honey. She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right.”
People who work hard to earn their own money deserve respect. This song reminds listeners about the effort they put in, day after day.
14. Hey, Mister (I Need This Job), Shenandoah
“Hey, Mister, I can work all day. I don't care about the weather. Just take a look at these hands. I'm as strong as you. Hey, Mister, I need this job. ‘Cause I told her I'd get one. I know you know what I mean if you ever had someone depend on you.”
This song tells of a guy who’s willing to do anything to get a job and support that special someone in his life. It is a testament to the sacrifices hardworking people are willing to make for the ones they love.
15. Beer on the Table, Josh Thompson
“Well, I do what I gotta do to get through working that nine to five. It's killing me but then again it's keeping me alive. It puts the gas in my truck, butter on my biscuits, a couple of bucks when I'm itching for a scratch-off ticket…”
Here is another song that describes the life of a working man. He earns enough to buy the necessities, but not much for anything else.
Does it feel the same for you?
16. Busy Man, Billy Ray Cyrus
“You got to go, got to run. Hit it hard and get it done. Everyone can see you're going far. You got responsibilities, a crazy schedule that you keep. And when you say that time's a-wasting, you don't know how right you are. Busy man.”
Many people make their careers a priority. Deeply immersed in their work, they tend to forget that there are other things that matter more than success in the workplace.
This song describes how a person almost forgot that family is more important than a career. Fortunately, he was able to remember before it was too late.
17. Cleaning Windows, Van Morrison
“What's my line? I'm happy cleanin' windows. Take my time. I'll see you when my love grows. Baby, don't let it slide. I'm a working man in my prime. Cleanin' windows.”
It’s rare to find songs that express joy and satisfaction about work. This song from Van Morrison is one of the rare ones whose message is about being happy with the work one does.
Being able to express gratitude for the work you have is a great way to achieve happiness.
18. Cats in the Cradle, Ugly Kid Joe
“And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon. “When you comin' home?” “Son, I don't know when. We'll get together then. You know we'll have a good time then.””
This single from Ugly Kid Joe has a similar theme to Billy Ray Cyrus’s Busy Man.
In this case, however, the outcome of the hardworking father’s busy-ness is more tragic. He learns too late that he should have prioritized his family over his career.
19. Hard Way to Make an Easy Living, Toby Keith
“It's a hard, hard way to make your way in a world that don't care what you pay, what you earn or what you take, or how much you're not giving. Life's a tough old row to hoe, trust in God with the seeds you sow. And always know it's a hard, hard way of making easy living.”
It is a common misconception that rich people no longer have to work hard.
In actually fact, they often have to work even harder in order to keep their businesses afloat and support the people in their employ.
This song describes that situation—where someone who is seen as being well off actually has more bills to pay and more things to look after.
20. Smoke Break, Carrie Underwood
“She's a small-town, hardworking woman just trying to make a living. Working three jobs, feeding four little mouths in a run-down kitchen. It's hard to be a good wife and a good mom and a good Christian.”
From Carrie Underwood's interview: “The song itself is one of those story songs I feel like everybody can relate to, about how life is so hectic. And it's so nice when–if and when–you actually get to step away for a second. We all need that, and we all need that time to ourselves and to get to take a break.”
21. Assembly Line, Randy Montana
“And it's all manufactured time when you're on the assembly line. Building products made to sell, moving on a conveyor belt. And it's a job for a diligent heart. And I'm just one of a thousand parts. You might think I've got it rough but I don't mind working on the assembly line.”
Here is a tribute to those who work on assembly lines. It takes tenacity and patience to stay at a job that has a set routine, day in and day out.
Kudos to those who are in this line of work.
22. Epiphany, Taylor Swift
“Only 20 minutes to sleep but you dream of some epiphany. Just one single glimpse of relief to make sense of what you've seen. With you, I serve. With you, I fall down… Watch you breathe in. Watch you breathing out.”
The pandemic that engulfed the world in 2020 changed our perception of heroes. This song likens medical frontliners to soldiers.
Health care workers have become heroes in our eyes for all they have done during the ongoing the global health crisis. Now, as the world slowly returns to normal, let’s never forget their sacrifices.
23. Worker's Song, Dropkick Murphys
“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.”
This song describes the oppression experienced by members of the working class. In a way, it is a protest song against corporations, employers, and lawmakers who exploit workers.
Hopefully someone will finally step up and help hardworking people get what they truly deserve.
24. Whistle While You Work, Adriana Caselotti
“Just whistle while you work and cheerfully together we can tidy up the place. So hum a merry tune. It won't take long when there's a song to help you set the pace.”
This song from Disney’s Snow White is a reminder to remain cheerful while we work. Whistling and humming are indicators that we’re satisfied and happy in our work environment.
Do you whistle while you work?
25. Heigh-Ho, Dwarf Chorus
“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho. It's home from work we go.”
Here is another track from Disney’s Snow White, featuring the Dwarf Chorus. It is considered an iconic song about working.
Here’s some quick trivia: The use of the term “heigh-ho” was first recorded in the 16th century. It means disappointment, tiredness, or yawning—the way some people feel about their jobs.
Have you been feeling this way? You might want to check out this collection of positivity quotes to help build a positive attitude at work.
26. Lord, Have Mercy on the Working Man, Travis Tritt
“Now won't you tell me if you can. ‘Cause life's so hard to understand. Why the rich man's dancing while the poor man pays the band. Oh they're billing me for killing me. Lord have mercy on the working man.”
For many people, working hard does not immediately bring the success they’re hoping for. This song is a plea for heavenly intervention to improve the plight of the working class.
27. Hard Workin' Man, Brooks & Dunn
“I'm a hard workin' man, I wear a steel hard hat. I can ride, rope, hammer, and paint. Do things with my hands that most men can't.”
This final song celebrates the abilities of people who earn their way through their own efforts, skills, and talents. What skills are you proud of that you’re using to make a living?
28. Sixteen Tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.”
This song depicts the bleak working and living conditions of those who worked in the coal mines in some parts of the US during the 1950s.
The workers did backbreaking labor in unfavorable work conditions. Financial prosperity was just a dream for the workers, who were forced into debt by the coal company they worked for.
“Workin’ for a livin’, livin’ and a-workin’. I’m taking what they giving ‘cause I’m working for a livin’.”
Here’s another song about the unfair treatment of hardworking folks all over the country.
They have little to no control over their work conditions and the pay they’re receiving. What’s important to them is that they at least earn something at the end of the work week.
“My rig’s a little old but that doesn’t mean she’s slow. There’s a flame from her stack and the smoke’s rolling black as coal. My hometown’s coming in sight. If you think I’m happy, you’re right. Six days on the road and I’m gonna make it home tonight.”
The trucking industry in the US is essential for keeping the country’s economy intact.
Truckers usually spend long days on the road, transporting goods from coast to coast. They have to endure loneliness and the dangers of driving while doing their job.
This song is about a trucker who looks forward to coming home after a long work week on the road. Along the way, he thinks about the nature of his work and considers, with a sense of pride, the rig he’s driving and how it has served him well all this time.
“And I’ve been takin’ care of business every day. Takin’ care of business every way. I’ve been takin’ care of business. It’s all mine. Takin’ care of business and working overtime. Work out…”
This song is a comparison between the work of a professional musician and regular workaday folks.
The musician seems to be mocking folks who work regular jobs.
“What puts the dirt under my nails? What keeps the calluses on my hands? Family man. They’re a world my world revolves around. My sacred piece of solid ground. The flesh and bone that gives me strength to stand. They are a fire in my drivin’ on. The drive behind my comin’ home. The livin’, breathin’ reason that I am a family man.”
This song is about the sacrifices a working person makes to provide for their family’s needs.
Although times are tough and work conditions are not optimal, this person goes to work every day. His family members are his source of inspiration to keep on going.
“Long nights, impossible odds. Keeping my back to the wall. If it takes all that to be just what I am, I’m gonna be a blue collar man.”
Unemployed people often experience challenges to their health and well-being. As of December 2022, there are approximately 5.72 million unemployed people in America.
This song is about a person who is tired of being unemployed. He searches for a job, but no one is hiring him. He tries to convince potential employers that he’s hardworking and willing to work under any condition.
“Man is on the last train, all that work and no play. Could be stopping early, knocking at your door. Time for me to head on; pack my kit and so long. Catch you bright and early selling door to door.”
This song is based on the actual experience of the band’s drummer, Doug Clifford. It tells about a salesman selling products door to door. He works nonstop, eyeing a potential customer while wrapping up a sales deal with another person.
“I need a job for these two hands. I am a workin’ man with nowhere to go.”
In this heartbreaking song, a hardworking man, presumably a farmer, loses his land. He now has nowhere to go.
The man contemplates his life and the bleak future where he has no more farm to work on and the people he loves are gone.
“Friday or Saturday, what does that mean? Short space of time and needs a heavy scene. Monday is comin’ like a jail on wheels. Forty-eight hours needs forty-eight…”
Many people work hard from Monday to Friday. They look forward to the weekend, when they can party hard and let go of the tension and frustration of the workweek.
This song is about someone who dreads the arrival of Monday. They feel that having 48 hours to spend away from work isn’t enough.
Do you feel this way? You might want to check out this post for some awesome suggestions on how to overcome your Monday blues.
“Same old job, same old dull routine. But in his heart, he knows what it brings. A two-bedroom house for his family of three. He’s giving his all, making ends meet. A second-hand car, a washing machine. They may not have much but he gets what they need, with the hands of a working man.”
If you need a song that celebrates the fruits of your hard work, here’s a heartwarming track from Ty Herndon.
It is a reminder that although the job you have may be difficult, lacks excitement, and doesn’t bring you fame and fortune, it is an honorable way to provide for the needs of the people you love.
“When the whistle blows, I’ll be there. Life goes on even when it’s not fair. And who’s got time to hurt? Right now I got to go to work.”
In this song, a person has just gone through a breakup. Rather than allow herself to process the pain she’s going through, she has no choice but to go to work in order to keep her job.
“Eighteen wheels and a dozen roses. Ten more miles on his four-day run. A few more songs from the all-night radio. Then he’ll spend the rest of his life with the ones that he loves.”
Here’s another song dedicated to truckers. This one is about a trucker who’s nearing retirement. He looks forward to the last 10 miles or so of his final run before reuniting with his loved ones and doing the things he loves.
I wish him all the best, because he deserves it.
“’Cause I don’t mind doin’ a little heavy liftin’. I’m always givin’ my everything. Even when I’m hurtin’, I keep on workin’. And as long as I’m alive an’ kickin’. I’ll be stickin’ to the heavy liftin’.”
In this song, listeners are introduced to a man who works hard for his dreams. He doesn’t complain when the work is difficult, doing it willingly and wholeheartedly.
“I got a strong back, steel toes. I rarely call in sick, a good truck. What I don’t know I catch on real quick. I work weekends, if I have to, nights and holidays.”
First released in 2011, this song took its inspiration from the closure of a tire manufacturing company in Tennessee. Ronnie Dunn drew the public’s attention to the plight of over 1,900 workers who were affected by the company’s shutdown.
In this song, we get to know someone who’s been laid off from his job. He is willing to work hard, so to convince potential employers hire him, he lists his personal qualities that make him an ideal employee.
“Well, that old man’s been working in that plant most all his life. Now his pension plan’s been cut in half and he can’t afford to die. And it’s a crying shame, ‘cause he ain’t the one to blame. When I look down to see his calloused hands, well, let me tell you, friend, it gets me fightin’ mad.”
Here’s another song about the plight of hardworking people who suddenly find themselves without jobs because their company has shut down.
The singer expresses his indignation over the ill treatment of employees who have worked hard for most of their lives and expect that they will enjoy the fruits of their labor once they retire, but who are disappointed to find that their employer has bailed on them.
“Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain. I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain. Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life. The working, the working, just the working life.”
This song is told from the perspective of a son who observes his father going to work in a factory. We learn of his father’s dedication to his job, going to work no matter what the weather is. We learn that the father has lost his hearing in the factory. However, his job is his reason for living.
“All day long they work so hard till the sun is going down. Working on the highways and byways and wearing a frown…”
This song was first released in 1960. A year before that, Sam Cooke was on tour in Georgia and had a chance encounter with an actual chain gang. The encounter inspired Cooke to create this song.
This song depicts the hardship of being part of a set of prisoners chained together and doing hard labor under the heat of the sun.
“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.”
This song is about someone whose whole life revolves around his job. He could have chosen to relax or have some fun after work, but instead it’s all work for him.
Some people might see this man as dedicated and hardworking. However, he’s clearly missing out on a lot by only focusing on his work.
“’Course I make a li’l money hauling coal by the ton. But when Saturday rolls around I’m too tired for havin’ fun.”
Here’s another song about working hard and not having time to do something you love.
In this song, listeners are introduced to a coal miner. His work is back-breaking and often risky, but brings him a relatively good sum of money.
However, when the weekend arrives, he’s so exhausted that there isn’t time for even a little bit of fun.
“I work hard, I play harder. I’m a good-timin’ American daughter. Redneck, blue collar. And I party down to my last dollar.”
Here’s a song about a hardworking woman. She is a good worker, doing double shifts on some days and waking up early to get to work. She is proud of the callouses she has on her hands. However, when the weekend arrives, she has a habit of using up all of her earnings and partying hard.
48. Almost There (Princess and the Frog OST), Anika Noni Rose
“And I’m almost there. I’m almost there. People down here think I’m crazy, but I don’t care. Trials and tribulations, I’ve had my share. There ain’t nothing gonna stop me now, ‘cause I’m almost there.”
This song is about being on the verge of achieving your greatest dream. It may have taken a while, but you worked hard and made great sacrifices to reach your goal.
It doesn’t matter if others around you don’t understand those sacrifices, because you know that when you succeed, it will all be worth it.
“Makin’ a livin’ the old hard way. Takin’ and givin’ by day by day. I dig snow and rain and the bright sunshine. Draggin’ the line.”
Here’s a song about the daily grind. What you do might be repetitive and dull, but it helps you pay the bills and allows you to buy something nice every once in a while.
“Get the boxes, take ‘em to the basement. Do the job right or I’ll get a replacement. Get a mop and clean the dirty floors. And when you’re finished wipe the windows and the doors. I fin’lly fin’lly fin’lly fin’lly fin’lly got a job.”
Being unemployed can be hard, but if you are under the employ of someone who works you to the bone, having a job can be torture.
This is what the narrator experiences in this song when, after a period of joblessness, he finally lands a job at a grocery store but discovers he has a mean boss.
Not wanting to be unemployed again, he sticks with the job, but hates every minute of it.
“How many dollars? How many sales? How many lies? How many tales? How many insults must you take in this one life? I’m in prison most of the day. So, please excuse me if I get this way. But I have got obligations to keep. So be very careful when you speak. Don’t talk to me about work. Please don’t talk to me about work. I’m up to my eyeballs in dirt. With work, with work.”
Burnout is common when a person does not find fulfillment in their job. In this song, listeners get to know someone who is burned out from work. He questions the way he’s treated at work and the compromises he makes every day to stay in his job.
This man requests (a bit angrily) those around him to never ask him about his work.
Is your job taking a toll on your mental health? You might need to take a burnout test to see if you’re on the verge of being burned out..
“9 to 5! 9 to 5! And we’re up to our necks, drowning in the seconds. Ingesting the morning commute, lost in a dead subway sleep. Now we lie wide awake in our parents’ bed, tossing and turning. Tomorrow we’ll get up. Drive to work. Single file. With every day it’s like the last. Waiting for the life to start. It is just always ahead of the curve?”
This song encourages listeners to reflect on the concept of making a living in today’s society. Is life really a never-ending cycle of waking up, commuting, clocking in, going home, receiving a paycheck, and partying on weekends?
“If you join the same brigade I did when I was young, you will never see beyond the skyline of this town. Take my word, my son, and run while your dreams fly free. Have them write my story down, like silence breaking sound.”
In this song, a father encourages his son to chase his dreams. The father himself has been trapped in a dead-end job for a long time.
He’s probably working hard to provide for his family, but his job isn’t an extension of what he truly wants to do in life. He warns his son not to fall into the same trap.
“Never by the book, always underestimated. It’s hard to believe the life that you’ve created. Self-made.”
If you’ve worked hard to get where you are right now, this song is for you. It describes the struggles of people who have to start from scratch to become successful.
This song is a reminder that those who dream big and are willing to do what it takes to reach those dreams are the ones who win in the end.
“Can you have it all? Are you wanting more? It’s so hard, it’s so hard for a working girl. Come so far, come so far for a working girl. It’s so hard, it’s so hard for a working girl.”
Despite the advances of modern society, there are still instances when women are marginalized in the workplace. This song is about women who have ambition and work hard to meet their goals, despite the obstacles along the way.
They often have to juggle different roles (mother, wife, boss/employee), but they somehow find a way to make it work.
“I've been working this day job, with the nine to fivers where I don't belong. One thing I know is that the bottom of the ocean ain't too low to start a punk rock revolution in this disco. And I'll say, hey hey. Weekday, you're in my way. Move!”
In this song, that sense of fulfillment comes from music. It’s the person’s ray of hope in the midst of a dreary life.
“Well, we all say that we’ll quit someday. When our ship comes in, we’ll just sail away. But we're just blowin' smoke. Hey, yeah. We're just blowin' smoke. Hey, yeah. Out here goin' broke. Hey, yeah. Yeah, we're just blowin' smoke.” This song tells the story of a working girl who originally had big dreams, but who has experienced setbacks and is discouraged to start again. She works as a waitress and has conversations with her coworkers while they wait for customers.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Working Hard in Life
There you have it—a collection of the best songs about working hard.
If you’re a member of the workforce, we appreciate all the hard work you do and wish you success in your career and personal life.
Remember to reward yourself once you’ve accomplished your goals. Here’s a post that features over 100 suggestions on how to reward yourself.
If you’re looking for more songs about a specific topic, you might want to check out any of the following posts:
Finally, if you want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life, then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what's important..