"Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" is a song by American rock band Styx, released as the first single from their eighth studio album, Pieces of Eight (1978). Released in 1978, the single came in two 7" vinyl formats: one with the b-side "Superstars" (a track from The Grand Illusion) and a second single with the instrumental album track "Aku-Aku" as the b-side. Some printings of the single were also issued in a translucent blue vinyl, which are now highly sought after collectors items.
Tommy Shaw recalled that a friend of his was laid off from the railroad. "He was having to go stand in line at the unemployment office. It just drove him nuts, because he’s like, ‘I wanna work! I don’t wanna be standing around here, asking for a handout…’ It really bugged him, and that was the inspiration for that song.” As read in a Circus magazine (or the like) of the time, the music was composed by Shaw after hearing the sound of his motor boat engine when it failed to start. He said it sounded like a good riff to a song.
According to Billboard, it has "riveting high energy guitar licks and a powerful lead vocal."Cash Box said that "rhythm guitar work provides a gritty, rough and tumble bottom which highlights the bright lead guitar passages and the upper register vocals."Allmusic critic Mike DeGagne said that it best represents "Styx's feisty, straightforward brand of album rock," who called it "an invigorating keyboard and guitar rush -- hard and heavy, yet curved by Tommy Shaw's emphasized vocals."Classic Rock critic Malcolm Dome rated it as Styx 5th greatest song, saying that it is "very [Bruce] Springsteen in philosophy, but very Styx in execution."