Top Ten Labor Day songs? What would you add to this list?

At Bill Moyers’s site the blog features an historic post from Peter Rothberg, associate editor at The Nation, feature his admittedly-too-exclusive Top Ten Labor Day songs.

It’s a good list, but as he wrote in the introduction, there are many others. In comments, give us your favorites not listed here — with a YouTube link if you have one.

Top Ten Labor Day Songs

1. Pete Seeger, Solidarity Forever

2. Sweet Honey in the Rock, More Than a Paycheck

3. The Clash, Career Opportunities

4. Tennessee Ernie Ford, Sixteen Tons

5. Judy Collins, Bread and Roses

6. Dolly Parton, 9 to 5

7. Woody Guthrie, Union Burying Ground

8. Phil Ochs, The Ballad of Joe Hill

9. Hazel Dickens, Fire in the Hole

10. Gil Scott-Heron, Three Miles Down

Bonus Track #1: The Kinks, Get Back in Line

Bonus Track #2: Paul Robeson, Joe Hill


9 Responses to Top Ten Labor Day songs? What would you add to this list?

  1. Mark Mercer says:

    The Strawbs – Part of the Union


  2. protestfolk says:

    A non-commercial, public domain biographical folk song and labor song about a 20th-century labor movement activist-organizer, titled “William Z. Foster”, that’s posted at following youtube protestfolk channel link:


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Good selections all, Ellie!

    Here’s a 21st century version of Peggy Seeger singing Woody’s tune, with changes. “Peggy Seeger with Jack Warshaw, Ruskin College 27 October 2012. Peggy’s rewrite of Woody’s androcentric last verse breathes 21st century fresh air into the great rallying song,” it says at YouTube.

    Also, see my earlier post on this song, from Pete’s big birthday party, here:


  4. Ellie says:

    Thanks, Ed!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Utah Phillips’s version of the Preacher and the Slave (Pie in the Sky), because I like Utah Phillips

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Here, Ellie, for you:

    And, Pete Seeger talking about the song:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, Mr. Rothberg gave a shout out to Seeger’s “Which Side Are You On,” but didn’t include it in this list.

    In this WordPress platform, if you put the URL from a YouTube video on one line in a comment, the system assumes you wanted the video to display and link, and so it should. Just for future reference.


  8. Ellie says:

    Embarrassed to say I don’t know how to put a video here, but I would add any version of The Preacher and the Slave, and Which Side Are You On? Oh, and Peggy Seeger’s rewrite of Union Maid.


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Let me kick it off.

    Harry Belafonte’s 1962 cover of Merle Travis’s “Dark as a Dungeon” made me think about the dangers of mining as never before. Still makes me think.

    Liked by 1 person

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