Labor Day is Sept. 3, and for many people that means Labor Day weekend barbecues and parties. But what's a party without the appropriate music? To help music fans' Labor Day celebrations, AXS has put together the 11 best songs to include on your Labor Day weekend playlist. Check out our selections below, clicking on each title to hear the song, and happy Labor Day!
Bachman-Turner Overdrive gave rock fans a working-class classic when the Canadian band came out with "Takin' Care of Business" in 1973. It's a song about working hard and doing what needs to be done, which is the entire ethos of Labor Day. It's a track that makes the listener feel excited about going to work, but also happy when they're done working overtime - both sentiments that are applicable to any Labor Day weekend party.
There's never been a better song to sum up the daily grind than The Vogues' 1965 hit "Five O'Clock World," which accurately describes what it's like to get up in the morning, pull yourself through another day at the office, and then come home to the special someone you love. It's an entire work day summed up in just over two minutes. Simple and sweet, this song also carved out its place in modern pop culture when it was used in an excellent opening sequence for "The Drew Carey Show."
The objective of any holiday get-together is to have a good time, so this smash hit from Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen is an easy pick for any Labor Day playlist. It's an upbeat pop song everyone can sing along with, and it will immediately motivate anyone who hears it to enjoy themselves; after all, it's in the title! And after the Labor Day party, pop fans can get tickets to see Owl City on tour this fall through AXS.
If one is throwing a party on a holiday meant to celebrate the workers of the United States, "Party in the USA" also feels like a given. The entire point of the song is in the title and it's also exactly what everyone is doing on Labor Day. It's still the best song Miley Cyrus has come up with, and if for some reason you're not a Miley fan, you can also go for the Weird Al Yankovic parody version "Party in the CIA."
Canadian rock bands must have an affinity for blue-collar workers, because the same year that "Takin' Care of Business" was released, Rush also came out with "Working Man." Whereas the former is more upbeat and almost poppy, "Working Man" is a tribute with a lot more edge and swagger. It's an excellent choice to add a little bit of hard rock and attitude to any Labor Day event.
Country music fans deserve some love on this Labor Day playlist as well, and that comes courtesy of Gretchen Wilson. Her 2009 single "Work Hard, Play Harder" tells the story of a woman who's kept busy all week by work, but is able to break free on a Friday night to come out and party. It's celebrating all those days of hard work that Labor Day recognizes, while also giving listeners the green light to take this holiday weekend and live it up before they're called back to the office again.
By this point in the playlist, the Labor Day barbecue is probably ready to be served. Good thing, then, that ZZ Top wrote a song about barbecue on their second album Rio Grande Mud in 1972. This is the song music fans can play to announce to their party guests that the grill is hot, and leave it rolling in the background while everyone enjoys a good meal. Fans can also enjoy seeing ZZ Top on tour this fall by getting tickets through AXS.
Louis Armstrong is one of the finest musicians in history, and he also paid tribute to barbecue with this song. As the meal continues and people are settling in, moving on to their second course or opening another beer, it's a fantastic piece to kick back and relax to. After ramping up the energy in the first part of the playlist, this song will slow things down a little bit and let everyone unwind.
Going on vacation for your Labor Day weekend? Then "Vacation" is the automatic choice. Even if your vacation consists of hanging out in your backyard, this 1980's pop anthem from The Go-Go's will put everyone right in the moment and make them forget about any work that might be piling up on their desk. It comes with the added bonus of the fact that it's so catchy, someone will almost certainly try singing along.
If The Go-Go's are too perky for you, try this single from Green Day. "Holiday" Is a punk rock statement about dissatisfaction with American politics and wanting better than currently exists. It will wake everyone up not only with its thrashing instruments, but with its lyrics. On a holiday that exists to recognize everyone's hard work and effort to make things better, this single is a reminder of what all that hard work is for.
The final song on any playlist should be upbeat enough to leave audiences in a good mood, but also help wind the party down. "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire is the perfect choice to conclude a Labor Day weekend playlist; with Labor Day being in September, the facts line up. Beyond that, though, this is just a nice, fun, relaxing song that always puts a smile on the face of anyone who hears it. Add it to your playlist and then get your tickets to see Earth, Wind & Fire live at AXS.
For more on any of the artists featured on this Labor Day weekend playlist, click their names above to visit their artist pages at AXS.