November 7

Alabama’s Gratitude for “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”

Many people in the world work the extra mile every day not for fame or for fortune. What is the best song to show our appreciation to them? It is 40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”, a tribute to all the American laborers who strive hard for a living.  The Alabama band sends their praises and greetings to different hard-working professionals: Detroit auto workers, Pittsburgh steel mill workers, Kansas wheat field farmer, and West Virginia coal miner. Generally, they are thanking all American working classes for working forty hours a week.

Dave Loggins, Lisa Silver, and Don Schlitz wrote the song. This is also the title track to the band’s 9th studio album. Released in 1985, it became Alabama’s 17th number 1 hit. For a week, it was a part of the Billboard Hot  Country chart.

The Music Video

The music video depicted workers who have blue-collar jobs.Under the direction of David Hogan, this was made possible. Various music channels aired this track. Throughout the years, many working classes have related to the song and made their own, like the version of the armed forces in Iraq.

Country music historian Bill Malone, in his liner notes for Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection wrote that “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)” “…is a rare country music tribute to American workers. (It) probably owes its popularity as much to its patriotic sentiments as to its social concern.” Malone also noted that, with few exceptions, “almost no one in country music has spoken for the industrial laborer,” one of the main groups of workers Alabama salutes in this song. “This straightforward homage gives the contemporary worker the respect that the Reagan years denied him,” Malone concluded.

The fruit of our labor is not worth any worker’s pay. It is worth more–their blood, sweat, and tears.


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