Ten songs to remind you what Labour Day is actually about

Labour Day is more than just a day off, here are some popular songs that explain why

Labour Day is often viewed simply as a turning point on the calendar.

A change of seasons; back to school; a signifier of the home stretch towards the end of a long year (particularly this one); even just a day off.

But Labour Day, a celebration of the achievements of Canadian workers, has its roots in the labour union movement, one of the reasons you likely don’t work more than eight hours in a day and receive some form of additional compensation if you do.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the country’s celebration of Labour Day stems from an 1872 printers’ strike in Toronto.

Strikers from the Toronto Typographical Union were fighting for a 58-hour workweek.

Now, outside of some professions, a week that long is unheard of.

Here are some songs to remind you what your day off represents:

Dolly Parton – 9 to 5

Dolly Parton penned this ultimate workers’ anthem in 1980. “What a way to make a livin’” Parton sings, with absolutely no hint of sarcasm.

Bruce Springsteen – Factory

“The Boss” never took too kindly to his bandmate-given nickname. This ode to his factory-working father gives a little bit of insight as to why.

Johnny Paycheck – Take This Job and Shove It

This is about as blunt as it gets. If you need some motivation to give your boss the what-for, this is it.

John Lennon – Working Class Hero

If “Imagine” was John Lennon’s dream, “Working Class Hero” was his view of a harsh reality. “As soon as you’re born they make you feel small. By giving you no time instead of it all.”

Rush – Working Man

“I got no time for living. Yes, I’m workin’ all the time,” Geddy Lee sings in this 1974 hit off of Rush’s self-titled debut album.

Clash – Career Opportunities

Joe Strummer was never one to conform to societal standards and his take on job prospects was much the same. “Do you really wanna be a cop?”

Huey Lewis And The News – Workin’ For A Livin’

Lewis really does a good job summing it all up in this 1981 single. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Sam Cooke – Chain Gang

Cooke’s classic 1960 single is a tribute to prisoners, often African American, who had physically laborious tasks forced upon them as a form of punishment. The practice was popular in the southern United States, where infrastructure work was aplenty but funds were not. Chain gangs were never popular in Canada and had been mostly phased out in the States by 1955, but some states began reintroducing them in 1995.

The Simpsons – Union Strike Folk Song

In the 1993 Simpsons episode “Last Exit to Springfield”, Lisa Simpson takes to the guitar to sing about her bumbling father leading a power plant union. “They have the plant, but we have the power,” a chorus of workers sings.

Solidarity Forever

Perhaps the most well-known union song of all time, this song was originally written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915. Since then, been covered by several popular musicians such as Pete Seger, Tom Morello and Leonard Cohen.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Labour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Wanted man with violent past might be in Okanagan

RCMP asking for public’s help in locating Roy Andrew

Morning Start: Polar bears don’t have white skin or fur

Your morning start for Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

Vernon man brews up award-winning flavours in Golden

Kenton (Kent) Donaldson is co-founder of Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. in Golden

Kelowna filmmaker launches fundraiser for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ fan movie

Donations will go towards the production of ‘The Sawyer Massacre’

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Four wanted individuals believed to be in Vernon

RCMP seek public’s assistance in locating three men and one woman

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

COVID-19 makes its mark on Shuswap schools, teachers and parents

Pandemic keeps more students than expected away from conventional schooling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

POLL: do you support the snap election?

British Columbians will head to the polls on October 24th for a mid-pandemic snap election

Most Read