Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Alabama, “Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)”

“Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)”


Written by Dave Loggins, Don Schlitz, and Lisa Silver

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

June 28 – July 5, 1985


#1 (1 week)

August 3, 1985

“Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)” is a working class anthem for a new generation.

Country music has always aligned itself with the working class, at times with sincerity and at other times with cynicism.  This one’s in the former category, and it’s easy to imagine how many country music fans must have heard this on the radio on the way to work and felt seen.

Even today, the mental image people often conjure of the working class is the typical factory worker, so I find it impressive that the songwriters painted such an expansive portrait of the working class nearly forty years ago.  Public servants like teachers and mail deliverers are included alongside steel mill and automotive workers, as are the largely female servers and cashiers.  

It’s inclusive and uplifting, which makes it resonate even more in these divided times. I wouldn’t mind a 2023 update that folded in health care aides and Amazon warehousers.  Let’s see if we can get Luke Combs in the studio for that.

“Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. It is difficult to promote pride in anything from love of country to what you do for a living without sounding preachy or jingoistic.

    Alabama pulls it off diplomatically here.

    I always liked how they call out industries by city while including all those who labour behind the scenes in other jobs and trades.

    From Willie Nelson recently calling out, “Good morning, America. How are ya?” To Alabama singing out, “Hello, America. Let me thank you for your time,” the working-class people of the United States are getting their due.

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