Bang The Drum All Day

Album: The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect (1983)
Charted: 63
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  • This raucous song is pretty straightforward: Todd Rundgren don't want to work, he just wants to bang on the drum all day. In an interview with the DePauw University radio station WGRE, he explained: "The success of that song is completely organic. It's purposely cynical. The record label wasn't taking it seriously and didn't hear it as a single. It was just something that popped into my head while I slept."

    Rundgren added that he believes the song became popular "solely because of the line about banging on the boss's head," and said, "It's a party anthem, and at least once a year I get a request to use it in a commercial or a movie. I hate playing it live, though. I feel ape-like. My hands get tired, my ears get tired. But the audience loves it."
  • Rundgren is a distinguished songwriter, musician and composer, but this novelty romp is one of his most-played songs. How does he feel about the broad swath of the population that know him only for this song? In an interview with Bullz-Eye, he explained: "I like the idea that I've written a song that is well known to a broad segment of the population…and they have no idea why they know it! In the same sense that everybody knows 'Happy Birthday,' but they can't remember the first time they heard it, and they have no idea who wrote it. But you've penetrated the cultural consciousness in a way that transcends the typical pop song, and what it means is that if I never have another hit record on the radio again, that song is still going to be around likely twenty-five years from now. People probably don't remember Gary Glitter, but they know "Rock And Roll Part 2"! And in that sense, it has somewhat of a more protractile life span, I guess."
  • In a Songfacts interview with Todd Rundgren, he cited "Bang The Drum All Day" as one of the most important songs of his career, because "I made so much money off of it." He added: "Everybody likes to hear that 'Bang The Drum' song, but everyone's connection to that is that one line in the song where it talks about abusing your boss ('I pound on that drum like it was the boss's head'). I can identify with that, but I don't really enjoy playing the song that much because it's just a lot of screaming and flailing around."
  • Some of the commercial uses of this song include a TV commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines and a scene in the TV show The Office. It is played at a variety of sporting events and frequently used in movie trailers. Radio stations often play it at quitting time (5 p.m.), as an anthem for working stiffs ready to escape the clutches of their employer. In 2012, Rundgren said that the song makes him "six figures every couple of months," thanks mostly to Carnival.
  • According to Rundgren, most of this song came to him in a dream, including the entire chorus. Fortunately, he was at home near his studio, so he was able to quickly roll out of bed, record what he could remember, and fill in the rest later.
  • After moving to Hawaii, Rundgren had some fun with this song, performing a ukulele version called "Bang On The Ukulele Daily" that he introduced as "an old Hawaiian war chant." You can hear it on his 2000 album One Long Year.
  • To mark his 60th, 65th and 70th birthdays, Rundgren organized "Toddstock" celebrations for his core fans, which were intimate gatherings in the outdoors. At these events, drum circles often formed to play "Band The Drum All Day."

Comments: 4

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenA talk show I listened to had a weekly segment devoted to admitted welfare cheats who would milk the system because they were simply too lazy to get a job. This song was used as an intro.
  • Edward from Henderson, NvLas Vegas DJ Kim Kelly (97.1FM) plays this song every Friday afternoon to kick off the weekend. Listeners call it, "The Friday Song."
  • Roman from Barrie, OnThis song was also recorded by LIGHTHOUSE, an orchestra/rock band from Toronto. I'm reminded of it every time I drive by a Casino, wonder why......
  • Brad from Barry, TxMy favorite Rundgren song by far; it's too bad he doesn't feel the same way about it!
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