Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
by Styx

Album: Pieces Of Eight (1978)
Charted: 21


  • This song tells the story of a man who is sick of being mocked for being jobless. He tries to get a job and when he is denied, he tries to persuade people into hiring him. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bob - Rio Vista, CA
  • Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw wrote this song and sang the lead vocals. It's a good example of his songwriting philosophy, which is to write songs people can relate to and enjoy.
  • A short clip of this song was used in the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Nashville, NM
  • This is one of the song Styx plays at just about every concert. On their 2011 tour, it was their opening number, as with unemployment in the United States over 9%, the song was more relevant than ever. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Daniel - Kalamazoo, MI
  • Tommy Shaw came up with the guitar riff after a pot-fueled deep sea fishing trip. He explained to The A/V Club that their cab driver gave them some potent weed on the way to the boat, which put them in a daze. Says Shaw: "When we booked this fishing boat, we said, 'We are going to be partying. Because we just finished this tour, and we have a cooler and drinks, and I hope you don't mind if we party.' Well, we smoked this pot, and by the time we got on the boat, we were paralyzed. We were, like, stone quiet for the first hour and a half. We finally started coming around a little bit and told [the boat owner] what happened. He's like, 'I wondered what happened to you guys, because you said there was going to be this big party, and you guys haven't said a word.' We're all sitting there in this daze from this pot, and the boat was making this sound: 'mmm mmm mmm.' You are moving slowly when you are trolling through the water. The engines are at really low RPMs. The sound just sort of tattooed itself onto my psyche. And when I got back to the room, I got the acoustic guitar and wrote the music to 'Blue Collar Man.'"

Comments: 13

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 10th 1978, "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" by Styx entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #73; and on November 12th, 1978 it peaked at #21 {for 2 weeks} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #9 on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    Between 1972 and 1991 the Chicago-based quintet had twenty-three Top 100 records; eight made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Babe" for 2 weeks on December 2nd, 1979...
    They had three records peak at #3; "The Best of Times" in 1981, "Mr. Roboto" in 1983, and "Show Me the Way" in 1991.
  • Jg from Hfrd Cnty, MdGreat Song. I love Tommy Shaw's voice.
  • ... from Seattle, WaInteresting in that I take it to be a view of making it as a rocker or other artist.."I'll take those long nights, impossible odds, keeping my eye to the keyhole.." yes Styx should be valued as much as Rush and the others mentioned. Look at the sheer diversity, of "Boat on the River", with its rich beauty, Tommy's mandolin and excellent vocals; DDY's accordion.
  • Cheryle from Columbus, OhWhen Tommy wrote this, he was living in Michigan and had a good friend who worked for the automakers, but was laid off and collecting unemployment. The song is his story of anger and embarrassment at having to stand in line at the unemployment office.
  • Elizabeth from Longmont, CoLove the song and Styx rule a lot. I agree that it's dramatic for the meaning. :)
  • Luke from Saint Augustine, Flnot the campaign song i'd go for....i'd pick something like limelight.
  • Eric from Mentor, OhI took a class for my undergrad called "Rock and Roll to Rock" - a history of rock 'n roll class. My project was a history of this song and the album "Pieces of Eight". I poured over articles about Styx (of which, there are very few) and found one from "Keyboardist" magazine. Dennis DeYoung explained the opening to BCM(LN) as being an angry steel mill. The start of my presentation, I utilized that intro over the sound system in the auditorium and BLEW the class away! This song saved my grade!

    The album, by the way, is the only one I have ever seen where the band name does NOT appear on the front nor the back - only the spine. The CD version does not hold the mystique, though.
  • Mia from Syracuse, NyThis is a great song and so awesome live.
  • Allison from A Little Ol' Town In, Miawesome song, styx is wayyyy underrated and not enough people listen to them. In my opinion, they rank high up there with the who and rush.
  • Charity from Grinnell, IaOn the album Big Bang Theory, they redid this song in a slower accoustical version. I really enjoyed this as you could feel more of the pain the man was feeling while being harrassed by his family.
  • Andrea from Minneapolis, Mnyou got my vote : )
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis song is awfully dramatic for the meaning.... like most Styx songs.
  • Brandon from Peoria, IlThis is going to be my campaign song when i run for president...i'm gonna learn the guitar part to it also.
see more comments

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