40 Hour Week (For a Livin')

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"40 Hour Week (For a Livin')"
Single by Alabama
from the album 40-Hour Week
Released April 17, 1985 (U.S.)
Format 7"
Recorded September 6, 1984
Genre Country
Length 3:20
Label RCA Nashville 14085
Writer(s) Dave Loggins
Don Schlitz
Lisa Silver
Producer(s) Harold Shedd and Alabama
Alabama singles chronology
"There's No Way"
(1985)
"40 Hour Week (For a Livin')"
(1985)
"Can't Keep a Good Man Down"
(1985)

"40 Hour Week (For a Livin')" is the title of a song written by Dave Loggins, Don Schlitz and Lisa Silver, and recorded by American country music band Alabama. It was released in April 1985 as the second single and title track from Alabama's album 40-Hour Week.

About the song[edit]

The song, a salute to the America's blue-collar workers, became Alabama's 17th No. 1 song on August 3, spending one week atop the chart. The end of the song includes a few bars from "America the Beautiful."

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.[1]

Music Video[edit]

A music video was filmed for the song, depicting people on the job in various blue-collar jobs. It was directed by David Hogan and has aired on CMT and Great American Country.

Alabama vs. Sonny James[edit]

"40 Hour Week (For a Livin')" is one of the songs central to a point of contention among country music historians. Alabama is frequently billed as having the longest uninterrupted No. 1 streak in the history of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Songs chart, with 21 songs peaking atop the chart between 1980 and 1987, "40 Hour Week (For a Livin')" being the song that set the new standard."[2]

However, the band's 1982 Christmas single, "Christmas in Dixie," peaked at No. 35, bringing about the point of contention. Sonny James, a country music superstar in the 1960s and 1970s, had previously set the standard of most Billboard No. 1 songs with 16 straight without a miss in any single release.

Some sources, including the Alabama Music Hall of Fame web site, state that the failure of "Christmas in Dixie" snapped Alabama's streak before achieving parity with James. Others — such as Joel Whitburn's "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005" — disregard non-No. 1 Christmas singles (such as "Christmas in Dixie") in determining chart-topping streaks and consider Alabama to have surpassed the record.

Several hard-core country fans were quick to point out the discrepancy, but Billboard magazine writer Paul Grein responded, "Only a Scrooge would count that against them."[2] James, on the other hand, attended a celebratory gathering for Alabama's accomplishment and graciously conceded the claim of having the most No. 1 songs without a miss.[3]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Malone, Bill, "Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection" ((booklet included with Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection 4-disc set). Smithsonian Institution, 1990), P.73.
  2. ^ a b Roland, Tom, "The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits" (Billboard Books, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1991 (ISBN 0-8230-7553-2)), p. 426-427
  3. ^ Millard, Bob, "Country Music: 70 Years of America's Favorite Music" (HarperCollins, New York, 1993 (ISBN 0-06-273244-7)), p. 161

Further reading[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005," 2006.
Preceded by
"Love Don't Care (Whose Heart It Breaks)"
by Earl Thomas Conley
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

August 3, 1985
Succeeded by
"I'm for Love"
by Hank Williams, Jr.
Preceded by
"Old Hippie"
by The Bellamy Brothers
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

August 17, 1985
Succeeded by
"Highwayman"
by The Highwaymen