She Works Hard for the Money

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"She Works Hard for the Money"
Single by Donna Summer
from the album She Works Hard for the Money
B-side"I Do Believe I Fell in Love"
  • 5:19 (album version)
  • 4:09 (single edit)
Producer(s)Michael Omartian
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Love to Love You Baby (re-issue)"
"She Works Hard for the Money"
"Unconditional Love"

"She Works Hard for the Money" is a song by American singer Donna Summer from her 1983 eleventh studio album of the same name. Written by Michael Omartian and Summer, the song was released as the lead single from the She Works Hard for the Money album on May 1983, by Mercury Records.

It became a hit for Summer and is one of her signature songs, reaching number one for a three-week stay atop the Billboard R&B singles chart (her first since 1979), number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and number three on the Dance Club Play chart. The single ended up as Billboard's fifteenth-best performing song of 1983.[3] Summer performed the song live as the opening of the 1984 Grammy Awards. Summer's Grammy performance was released on the 1994 video cassette Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume I.[4]

Background and composition[edit]

Co-written with Omartian, told a story of a hard working blue collar woman. It was based on an actual encounter that Summer had with an exhausted rest room attendant named Onetta Johnson (at the iconic Los Angeles restaurant Chasen's), who was later mentioned in the song and featured on the album's back cover.[5]

According to, the song is performed in the key of G minor in common time with a tempo of 136 beats per minute. Summer's vocals span from G3 to D5.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song, directed by Brian Grant, debuted on MTV and became the first video by an African American female artist to be placed in "heavy rotation" (a term used by MTV at the time to indicate a frequently-aired video). The video shows a woman, working as a waitress in a diner, who is burdened with many situations in her life such as work and raising two unruly children. It is also seen that she has abandoned her hopes of being a ballerina. Summer appears as an observer through a kitchen window, a woman who assists the fallen-down protagonist of the video, and, at the end, a leader of a troupe of women, in various work uniforms, who have taken to the streets to signify their independence and gain recognition for their "hard work". The protagonist is also seen dancing in the street with them.

In a parody of the image created by this song, and its cover art picture, Summer herself appears in the Frank Sinatra video for "L.A. Is My Lady", released in 1984, as a waitress who serves a patron and then wipes her brow.

There are two versions of the music video. One is the single edit, the other remains faithful to the original length of the album version of the song.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Nate (September 29, 2010). "Rock and Roll Hall Nominations Announced: Who Has the Best Chances?". Time. Retrieved May 10, 2015. With a career spanning funk ("Love to Love You Baby"), disco ("Last Dance") and New Wave ("She Works Hard for the Money"), Summer is probably the most accomplished female artist up for induction this year.
  2. ^ Masley, Ed (April 22, 2009). "Confessions of an 'Idol' virgin: Disco week". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved July 11, 2014. Donna Summer's big post-disco hit "She Works Hard For the Money"
  3. ^ a b "Top 100 Hits for 1983". The Longbored Surfer. Archived from the original on November 29, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Grammy's Greatest Moments, Volume 1: Various Artists". Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  5. ^ Marikar, Sheila (May 17, 2012). "Donna Summer: Six Things You May Not Have Known". ABC News. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  6. ^ "She Works Hard for the Money By Donna Summer – Digital Sheet Music". Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  8. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4325." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  10. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  11. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Donna Summer" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  12. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – She Works Hard". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Indice per Interprete: S" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Donna Summer - She Works Hard For The Money" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  17. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  18. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money". VG-lista. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  19. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (S)". Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  20. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  21. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money". Singles Top 100. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  22. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  24. ^ a b c "Donna Summer – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  25. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 13, 1983". Archived from the original on September 11, 2012.. Cash Box
  26. ^ " – Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  27. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  28. ^ "The Top Singles of 1983". RPM. Vol. 39 no. 17. Library and Archives Canada. December 24, 1983. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  29. ^ "TOP – 1983" (in French). Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  30. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1983". Archived from the original on December 25, 2012.. Cash Box.

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