10 Country Music Songs About Hard Work

Part of the appeal of country music is its celebration of hard work during the week, with hopefully a little fun on the weekend. In honor of Labor Day, we counted down ten of the best songs in country music that celebrate the work we all do to survive.

10. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

Who doesn’t anxiously wait for the end of the work day? While it may or may not come with a drink in your hand, Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett remind us that it’s okay to duck out a little early now and then — earning a CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year in the process.

9. “Workin’ Man Blues,” Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard wrote “Workin’ Man Blues” and included it on his A Portrait of Merle Haggard record, released in 1969. Singing, “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,” Merle made a convincing argument that, while he may be famous, he still understood the struggles of the every day man.

8. “Drinking Class,” Lee Brice

“Drinking Class” was Lee Brice‘s eighth single, from his third studio album, I Don’t Dance. Written by Josh Kear, David Frasier and Ed Hill, the song was one of only three songs on the record that Lee didn’t write, but he resonated with the song the first time he heard it.

“There’s hardly any middle class anymore,” Kear told Taste of Country. “You have super-rich people, the half-percent, that when they make a billion dollars they just can’t seem to think that that’s enough. They go and make another billion dollars, and then you have this big Grand Canyon, and you have everybody on the other side. And that’s all of us, trying to scrap out a living.”

7. “The Factory,” Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers included “The Factory” on his 1987 studio album, I Prefer the Moonlight. Written by Bud Mcguire, the song began with, “I can’t say that he loved his work / But he fed a family of nine / Papa never heard of a union / He logged his scale in time / But he was a lucky man / At least he had a job / Down at the factory,” lines Rogers likely never lived, but sang convincingly enough to take the song to the Top 10.

6. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” Kathy Mattea

“Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” was Kathy Mattea’s second No. 1 single, from her fourth studio album, Untasted Honey, released in 1987. Written by Gene Nelson and Paul Nelson, the song told the story of a man named Charlie, who was making his last run as a truck driver, after 30 years, to “spend the rest of his life with the one that he loves.” According to Songfacts, the songwriting brothers based the song on the real-life story of their aunt and uncle, and their eagerness for the uncle to retire from his job as a truck driver so they could travel in their Winnebago, which they ultimately did.

5. “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn

Talk about a song that is true to life. Loretta Lynn wrote and recorded “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which became the title track of her 1971 album.

The song, which began with “Well I was born the coal miner’s daughter / In a cabin, on a hill in Butcher Holler / We were poor but we had love / That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of / He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar,” originally had four more verses, which producer Owen Bradley convinced Lynn to remove.

4. “Six Days on the Road,” Sawyer Brown

“Six Days on the Road” is likely one of the most-recorded songs about trucking, covering all genres. Originally recorded by Dave Dudley in 1963 Sawyer Brown recorded the song in 1997, changing the original line of “little white pills” to “I’m passing little white lines.” The song was also recorded by Steve Earle, Charley Pride, Del Reeves, George Jones, Red Simpson and others.

3. “Hard Workin’ Man,” Brooks & Dunn

Brooks & Dunn made “Hard Working’ Man” the title track of their sophomore album. Written by Ronnie Dunn, the song, which says “I’m a hard, hard working man / I got it all on the line / For a peace of the promised land / I’m burning my candle at both ends / ‘Bout the only way to keep the fire going / Is to outrun the wind,” honored professional bull and horseback riders in the video.

2. “Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck

David Allan Coe wrote “Take This Job and Shove It,” but it was Johnny Paycheck who made the song a country music hit. Singing “Take this job and shove it / I ain’t workin’ here no more / My woman done left and took all the reasons / I was working for / Ya better not try to stand in my way / As I’m walkin’, out the door / Take this job and shove it / I ain’t workin’ here no more,” the song not only became a No. 1 hit after it was released in 1977, but also inspired a movie of the same name. The film, released in 1981, starred Art Carney and Barbara Hershey.

1. “9 to 5,” Dolly Parton

“9 to 5” is just one of the many, many songs we love by Dolly Parton — and one of the reasons she remains a cultural icon. Although she found major success long before “9 to 5” was released in 1980, the song, which says, “Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living / Barely gettin’ 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,” proved Parton really was just like everyone else.

“9 to 5” was written for the film of the same name, which starred Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.