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Styx salutes America's Third Shifters

This is the most popular single from a triple-platinum Styx album.
This is the most popular single from a triple-platinum Styx album.
Original Cover: A&M Records

Record single by Styx: "Blue Collar Man" (1978)

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Here’s why this song should be in your collection!

It’s Labor Day in the USA-- a great time to play “Blue Collar Man” by Styx!

The song is formally known as “ Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).” It was the first single released from Pieces of Eight, the band’s 1978 album. None of its singles (which included “Sing For a Day” and “Renegade”) broke the Top Ten in USA charts. Critics gave Pieces of Eight lukewarm reviews. But the album went triple-platinum anyway.

The beauty of “Blue Collar Man” is how starkly it articulated what every working-class adolescent in 1970’s America knew. Eventually the carefree escapades of youth would have to give way to the responsibilities of adulthood. And an uncertain economy awaited them.

The song describes a young man who is willing to work the Third Shift (Midnight to 8:00 AM in many industries) as an alternative to unemployment. The band’s founding members grew up in the Roseland section of Chicago, Illinois, so they probably saw firsthand the grim effects of the USA’s declining industrial base on working class families.

Pieces of Eight is available in CD and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

Service industry jobs now constitute a major portion of the USA’s economy. That means the Blue Collar Man of 2014 also likely wears a gray or tan collar, and is also a woman. Let’s remember and salute them on this Labor Day.