Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend Listomania (Special Occupational Hazards! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental unendurable pleasure indefinitely prolonged specialist Gal Friday Fah Lo Suee and I are off to New Canaan, Connecticut, where we'll be joining Fox News commentator and cocaine addict Glenn Beck when he goes to the dry cleaner. Seems Glenn will be having his hood cleaned and pressed, with some repair work done around the eyeholes.

So posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a little while.

But in the meantime, here's another little project for you folks:

Most Memorable Post-Elvis Song or Record Referencing Work or a Specific Job in the Title or Lyrics!!!

And my totally top of my Top Six is:

6. The Godfathers -- Birth, School, Work, Death

The most rousing song ever written about a depressing topic? Hey, what can I tell you -- I've always liked these guys' attitude.

5. Tim Hardin -- If I Were a Carpenter

Tim Buckley's had a revival, deservedly, and I think it's long overdue that the similarly eclectic Hardin gets similarly reevaluated. Maybe if he'd had a kid who looked and sounded like him...

4. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers -- Ice Cream Man

Hey -- at least the guy's not selling drugs out of the back of the truck, at least that we know of. In any case, Jonathan at his most charmingly childlike, I think.

3. Humble Pie -- I Don't Need No Doctor

The Ashford and Simpson medical classic, via Ray Charles and ultimately this bunch of screaming English midgets. I'm sorry -- I love Steve Marriott, but this particular cover of the song has always cracked me up for some reason. Incidentally, can anybody tell if that's Peter Frampton in the back there or not? Frampton left the band sometime in '71, but I'm not sure if that was before or after this was filmed.

2. Lenny Kravitz -- Mr. Cab Driver

Lenny's classic account of suffering from racial bigotry and monaural recording. Seriously, I kind of like this song, but I'm reminded of what Bob Dylan said after hearing Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me." "Cat's a drag," Bob noted. "Gets thrown out of a restaurant and writes a song about it."

And the numero uno song referencing a specific line of work, c'mon it's so obvious I'll have to harm you if you disagree, totally is --

1. Warren Zevon -- The Envoy

Warren's ode to special ambassador Philip Habib's shuttle diplomacy during Israel's Lebanon incursion of 1982. Perhaps not Zevon's best, but I think it's safe to say it is, in fact, the only rock tune ever written as a tribute to a foreign service professional.

Alrighty, then -- and what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: actor or actress who looks the coolest with a sword in his or her hand -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, i'd take it as a personal favor if you could go over there and leave a snarky comment. Thanks!]


Anonymous said...

Steve, Steve, Steve -

I would have SWORN that Flash 'n The Pan's "Media Man" would be a favorite of yours! :)


"Paperback Writer" - Fab 4
"Waitress in the Sky" - Replacements
"Funky President" - James Brown
"State Trooper" - (Bruce, tho I lovelovelove Steve Earle's live version.)
"Career Opportunities" - The Clash
Freedy Johnston's version of "Wichita Lineman."
-bill buckner

TMink said...

The Meters also do a killer version of Witchita Lineman.

Julie's Been Working In The Drug Squad - The Clash
Union Man - Neil Young
Immigration Man - Graham Nash
Slave Driver - The Wailers (a stretch I realize)
Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) Robert Palmer
Salesman - The Monkees
The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man - Rolling Stones

And you have mail Steve.


TJWood said...

The guitar player in the Humble Pie video is Frampton's replacement, Clem Clempson. I can't come up with anything in this category for Frampton or the Small Faces, but here are five totally random choices, from the last four and current decades:

60's: Work To Do--The Isley Brothers

70's: Millworker--James Taylor

80's: Auctioneer (Another Engine)--R.E.M.

90's: Mistress and Maid--Paul McCartney

00's: The Wrestler--Bruce Springsteen (again, not just from this decade, but this year as well. "Working On A Dream", the title cut from the album this is a bonus track for, was too obvious a choice, and actually one of my least favorite Springsteen tunes. "The Wrestler" is very good, though)

Libby Spencer said...

I always feel so lame in this crowd b/c I don't know any cool bands, and Buckner took my fav Bruce song, State Trooper already. But I'll play since I'm in early.

Working in a Coal Mine - Devo

The Pusher - Steppenwolf (yes that is too a job)

Proud Mary - Creedence

Welcome to the Working Week - Elvis Costello

Norweigan Wood - Beatles

And am I allowed to mention this one here? It just popped into my head.

Son of Sailor - Jimmy Buffett

Also agree that Tim Hardin is way overlooked.

Sal Nunziato said...

Cook Of The House- Linda McCartney

for the opening lyrics alone:

"Ground rice, sugar, vinegar, seco salt, macaroni too,
Cook of the house"

Gummo said...

Moonshiner - Bob Dylan

Cumberland Blues - The Grateful Dead ("Gotta get down to the mines")

Universal Soldier -- Buffy St. Marie

Damn, I'm drawing a blank...

FeralLiberal said...

I can roll with this one -

Cheap Trick - Dream Police
Neil Young - Farmer John
Beach Boys - Sail on Sailor
Stones - Factory Girl
Nilsson - Spaceman
Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
The Who - Bell Boy

Anonymous said...


Brooklyn Girl said...

More Beatles:

- Lovely Rita, Meter Maid
- Penny Lane has a few jobs in it: barber, fireman, Queen (!), banker

Loverboy: Working for the Weekend

Grateful Dead: Casey Jones

Bob Dylan: She Belongs To Me

Anonymous said...

"had a friend was a big baseball player"


Brooklyn Girl said...

More Dylan - Maggie's Farm

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

my second concert was Humble Pie/Procol Harum, booked for 2 shows on the same night. about 50 people bought tickets to the first show (including me and my sister - it was a school night), but it wasn't cancelled. Apparently the promoter was counting on a walk-up that never materialized. Procol Harum refused to play for such a small audience, but this version of the Pie (they were touring "Smokin") came out and played their entire show for us, complete with a 15-min version of "Too Rolling Stoned" and the encore of "No Doctor."

Noam Sane said...

Tin Huey, Hump Day.

That album - "Contents Dislodged During Shipment" - had a great cover.

The Kenosha Kid said...

Model Worker - Magazine
The Model - Kraftwerk
Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
W.O.R.K. - Bow Wow Wow
Wichita Lineman - Glenn Campbell

Anonymous said...

Magic Bus- The Who
Mr Postman - Marvelettes
Chain Gang -- Sam Cooke
Bang on the Drum all day - todd rundgren "i dont want to work "
Doctor my eyes -- Jackson Browne
Lawyers In Love -Jackson Browne

Anonymous said...

4th of july asbury park/Sandy -Bruce Springsteen " that waitress I was seeing" "busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes "

Manic Monday - Bangles
"Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine "

The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel
"Asking only workmans wages, I come lookin for a job"

David said...

"The Interpreter" - Roky Ericson
"I Am a Scientist" - Guided By Voices
"Now I'm a Farmer" - The Who
"I Am an Astronaut" - Ricky Wilde (Kim's brother)
"West Coast Promotion Man" - Stones
"Halley's Waitress" - Fountains of Wayne
"Teacher" - Jethro Tull
"When I'm Cleaning Windows" - George Formby

steves said...

Lots more Dylan:

"Union Sundown" - "All the furniture, it says "Made in Brazil"
Where a woman, she slaved for sure
Bringin' home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve, You know, that's a lot of money to her."

"Tangled Up in Blue" - "I had a job in the Great North woods..."

"Workingman's Blues #2" - Just the title here, I guess.

"Dear Landlord" - "All of us, at times, we might work too hard
To have it too fast and too much"

"Ballad of Hollis Brown" - "You look for work and money..." (Actually, this one is more about not working.)

FD13NYC said...

I think that might have been Clem Clemson on guitar in Pie. Framptons replacement.

Bob said...

I always thought that the version on Pie's Rockin' The Fillmore was Frampton, though - it sure sounds like a typical Frampton solo.

Gwen De Marco said...

"Sail on, Sailor" - Beach Boys

"A Man Needs A Maid" - Neil Young

"I Shot The Sheriff" - Clapton

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor" - Yardbirds

"Friday On My Mind" - Easybeats

"Dirty Work" - Steely Dan

John Fowler said...

And, my job/work-related nominees are:

Thomas Dolby - "She Blinded Me with Science" from The Golden Age of Wireless.
"As a noted scientist, it's a bit surprising that the girl blinded me with science"
I realize this is a bit of a novelty tune, and clearly an artifact of 80's synth, but I think it holds up as a great, quirky, danceable tune - plus the video is a hoot -

Joe Jackson - "I'm the Man" from the album of the same name.
An ode to the power of the Advertising Man
"Skateboards - I've almost made them respectable - You see I can't always get through to you, so I go for your son"

Prince - "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain (of course).
"So when you call up the shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr-Everything-Will-Be-Alright..."

R.E.M. - "Finest Worksong from Document

Hmm, an 80's heavy list, not clear why - I will blame it on earlier posters choosing all the memorable worksongs from other decades...
Special thanks to David for "Halley's Waitress"!

SeƱor Wenceslas said...

material issue "Kim the waitress"

John said...

Not too sure on my history but I know that's NOT Pete's nose---Don't ask me how I know... It's not what you might think.

MBowen said...

The best song I know of about work wasn't written by Bruce or any other blue-collar icon, but by an artsy small-town 17-year-old girl. "Maddox Table" from 10,000 Maniacs' first major-label album tells the story of an immigrant working at a furniture factory. It captures not just the drudgery and danger, but also the camaraderie and humor of factory life, while the protagonist moves from feeling like "an animal" to realizing the fruits of his labor: "Automobile keys, cash in the bank and a deed/On a place called home".

cthulhu said...

The Envoy is fine, but why not go whole hog Zevon: Lawyers, Guns, and Money. And a nod to The French Inhaler while we're at it: "How're you gonna make your way in this town / if you're not cut out for workin'..."

Libby Spencer said...

I'm most impressed with the group restraint shown in avoiding mention of that horrible disco song, She Works Hard for the Money, but whoever sang it.

Brooklyn Girl said...

I'm most impressed with the group restraint shown in avoiding mention of that horrible disco song, She Works Hard for the Money, but whoever sang it.

Donna Summer.

Marsupial said...

"Switchboard Susan" - Nick Lowe.

megisi said...

I'm most impressed with the group restraint shown in avoiding mention of that horrible disco song, She Works Hard for the Money ...

Loved Hank Azaria's take on it in Bird Cage, though.

The Band's King Harvest.

X's Call of the Wreckin' Ball.

agitpropre said...

What? No B.T.O?

You get up every morning
From your alarm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above
And people pushin', people shovin'
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train's on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day
And I'll be takin care of business....