Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




She Works Hard For The Money

by

Donna Summer



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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..." (thanks, Greg - Arlington, TX, for above 2)
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.
Donna Summer
Donna Summer Artistfacts
More Donna Summer songs
More songs about people with financial problems
More songs that start with the chorus

Comments (6):

This Donna Summer hit from '83 made it to #1 in my area (SW Missouri/NE Oklahoma/NW Arkansas) on various radio charts. What a great song that many people connected with, especially women. Moreover, it emphasized Summer's versatility and talents after disco. I lived and worked in the metro Joplin, Missouri area in the Seventies & Eighties and there were many Donna Summer fans in the area. She was a very talented songwriter too. Thanks for this website.
- BubblesK, Memphis, TN
The video for this song received heavy rotation on MTV. Summer became the first African American female to have a video on MTV in heavy rotation.
- John, Nashville, TN
I love this song. the vieo roxx my soxx too!!!!
- Jordan, Haddam, CT
This song is in my opinion the best anthem for women. I mean really, how much plainer can you put it than saying 'She wroks hard for her money, so treat her right!'
- Jesse, Haddam, CT
She Works Hard For The Money ... She worked damn hard for her money, but did her
spoiled little brat of a daughter appreciate it?
- sum sum, New Delhi, India
The song belongs to the Album of the same name and it was the best known song of that album.

Michael Omartian was the producer and responsible for the success of the album, that in a way redefined Donna as a postdisco rock singer with a breadth of talent and style.
- Enrique, Lima, Peru
You have to to post comments.
Randy NewmanRandy Newman
Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.
Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)
Chad tells tales from his time as drummer for Nirvana, and talks about his group Before Cars.
Richie McDonald of LonestarRichie McDonald of Lonestar
Richie talks about the impact of "Amazed," and how his 4-year-old son inspired another Lonestar hit.
Andy Powell of Wishbone AshAndy Powell of Wishbone Ash
The Wishbone Ash guitarist on how touring with The Who inspired one of their most enduring songs, and why they moved to America at the peak of their powers.