She Works Hard for the Money (4:35)

Cover of Endless Summer

From Endless Summer and 91 other releases

“She Works Hard for the Money” is a chart-topping Dance-Rock and New Wave, 1983 global hit single by singer Donna Summer. It was the first single released from the album of the same name. Summer performed the song live - as the opening act - on the 1984 Grammy Awards. It scored the largest viewing audience of any Grammy telecast in history - a record it still holds as of 2013. Donna was nominated alongside Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Tyler, Sheena Easton, and Irene Cara. This performance was released on the 1994 video cassette Grammy’s Greatest Moments Volume.

The song, co-written by the singer, told a story of a woman who “works hard for money”. It was based on an actual encounter that Donna had with an exhausted bathroom attendant who was later featured on the album’s back cover.

Built on a rock-dance fusion, the song became a hit for Summer and one of the singer’s signature songs, reaching number one for a three-week stay atop the R&B chart (her first since 1979), number three on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart, and number three on the dance chart. It was a number twenty-five hit in the UK.

The music video for the song, directed by Brian Grant, debuted on MTV and became the first video by an African-American female artist to be placed in “heavy rotation” (a term used by MTV at the time to indicate a frequently-aired video). The video shows a woman, working as a waitress in a diner, who is burdened with many situations in her life such as work and raising two unruly and ungrateful children.

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