Workin' Man Blues
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Workin' Man Blues
"Workin' Man Blues"
Haggard - Workin Man Blues cover.jpg
Single by Merle Haggard and The Strangers
from the album A Portrait of Merle Haggard
"Silver Wings"
ReleasedJune 30, 1969
RecordedMay 16, 1969
LabelCapitol 2503
Merle Haggard
Ken Nelson
Merle Haggard and The Strangers singles chronology
"Hungry Eyes"
"Workin' Man Blues"
"Okie from Muskogee"

"Workin' Man Blues" is a song written and performed by American country music artist Merle Haggard and The Strangers. It was released in May 1969 as the second single from the album A Portrait of Merle Haggard. The song was released during his early peak and became one of several signature songs during his career.


"Workin' Man Blues" is Haggard's tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man. Backed by a strong electric guitar beat that typified Haggard's signature Bakersfield Sound, he fills the role of one of those workers expressing pride in values such as hard work and sacrifice, despite the resulting fatigue and the stress of raising a large family. He admits to relaxing during the off-working hours ("I drink my beer in a tavern, sing a little bit of these workin' man's blues.") and vows that as a result of keeping his values, he will never need to go on welfare ("... cause I'll be working, long as my two hands are fit to use.").

"Workin' Man Blues" was a track on Haggard's 1969 album A Portrait of Merle Haggard. Music critic Mark Deming noted that the song was among three of Haggard's finest songs to appear on the album; "Silver Wings" and "Hungry Eyes" were the other two. "(M)ost country artists would be happy to cut three tunes this strong during the course of their career, let alone as part of one of six albums Hag would release in 1969," wrote Deming.[1]

Chart performance

"Workin' Man Blues" was released in July 1969, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart.

Chart (1969) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

Cover versions and other songs

Jerry Lee Lewis included a cover on the 1970 album She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye.

Covered often by The New Riders of the Purple Sage starting in 1970.[3]

Lone Justice included a live cover on the 1983 'best of' album This World Is Not My Home.

Jon Wayne included a cover on the 1985 album Texas Funeral.

Gary Morris's cover was released in September 1990 as the first single from the album These Days.[4]

Diamond Rio, along with guitarists Steve Wariner and Lee Roy Parnell, recorded a cover of the song in 1994, crediting themselves as Jed Zeppelin. This cover, included on a tribute album called Mama's Hungry Eyes: A Tribute to Merle Haggard, charted at number 48 on the Billboard country charts, and a music video was made for it.

In popular culture

The song was featured in the Simpsons episode, "Lost Verizon" while Bart collects golf balls at a country club for money.



  1. ^ [1] Deming, Mark, A Portrait of Merle Haggard at Allmusic
  2. ^ "Merle Haggard Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  3. ^ "The New Riders of the Purple Sage - Workin' Man Blues". paste magazine. 14 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. September 22, 1990.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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