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Album: She Works Hard For The MoneyReleased: 1983Charted:
This song was based on a true-to-life experience. Donna Summer was in Chasens restaurant in Los Angeles. She went to the bathroom and saw the attendant taking a nap with a small TV on. Donna startled the woman from her nap, and the woman told Donna she worked two jobs and was really tired. Donna thought to herself, "Wow, she really works hard for her money." Later that night while at home thinking about her, Summer wrote the song in about 20 minutes.
The bathroom attendant from Chasens was placed on the back of the album cover. The first line of the song says her name - "Onetta there in the corner stands..."
Summer wrote this with Michael Omartian, who also produced the album and played many of the instruments. Omartian also co-wrote "Sailing
" with Christopher Cross and produced "We Are The World
" with Quincy Jones.
The music video was directed by Brian Grant, who was one of the first directors in the medium, having done clips for Queen and The Human League the predated MTV. The video for "She Works Hard For The Money" shows various women working difficult jobs - nurse, housekeeper, waitress - and then joining together in the end for a group dance. According to Summer, this was to show that they have overcome their challenges and succeeded.
The video was very popular on MTV, airing a few months after Michael Jackson broke the MTV color barrier with "Billie Jean
." Summer became the first black female singer to land a video in hot rotation on the network.
Lois Blaisch, who wrote the #1 Tiffany hit "Could've Been
," sang the version used in the 1984 movie Splash
, starring Daryl Hannah as a mermaid and Tom Hanks as the man who loves her.