Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)

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"Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)"
Single by Styx
from the album Pieces of Eight
B-side"Superstars" / "Aku-Aku"
ReleasedAugust 1978 (US) [1]
GenreProgressive rock, hard rock
Songwriter(s)Tommy Shaw
Styx singles chronology
"Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)"
"Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)"
"Sing for the Day"

"Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" is the first single that Styx released from the Pieces of Eight (1978) album. 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.”[2] 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 Magazine it has "riveting high energy guitar licks and a powerful lead vocal."[3] The song reached #21 in the United States in November 1978, and spent two weeks at No. 9 on the Canada RPM Top 100 Singles chart.[4]

A promo video for this song was filmed by director Bruce Gowers of the band performing on a soundstage. Videos were also shot for "Sing for the Day" and "I'm OK".

The song is in D natural minor, with moments of D harmonic minor due to the use of the V chord, A major.[5]

A re-recorded version of the song has been released as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game.

Chart performance[edit]



  1. ^ "Styx singles".
  2. ^ "How Tommy Shaw's Laid-Off Pal Inspired 'Blue Collar Man'". August 31, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  3. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. September 9, 1978. p. 66. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  4. ^ "Styx: Billboard Singles". All Music Guide. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  5. ^ Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p.89. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 299. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  8. ^ "Lorelei" Billboard Hot 100 Chart history., Accessed May 27, 2012.
  9. ^ "Top 100 1978-11-18". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  10. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

External links[edit]