Loverboy, ‘Working for the Weekend’ – Weekend Songs
Classic rock is about heavy hooks, power chords and tight harmonies. But it’s also about letting loose and enjoying the good times. And there’s no better time for that than Friday evening, when we pick up our paycheck, punch out of work and enjoy a couple days of much-needed rest and relaxation.
We’ve covered many different types of weekend songs over the course of this series, from uptempo tunes you can blast in your car as you’re driving off the company lot to blue-collar laments about the vagaries of the working-class life. They’ve all had some connection to our relationship with work, but none of them are as simple and to the point as the song that’s arguably the all-time greatest Friday-night rock anthem: Loverboy‘s ‘Working for the Weekend.’
Kicking off with a cowbell and cascading synths, ‘Weekend’ summed up Loverboy’s early-’80s appeal in a brisk 3:40. Musically, it proved one of the more durable examples of the band’s pop-frosted approach to barroom rock, with a catchy arrangement and a modern production style that enhanced rather than overpowered the basic ingredients at the song’s core. Lyrically, it catered to the group’s meat-and-potatoes demographic without pandering — no mean feat, considering how tricky it can be for rock stars leading glamorous lives to try and identify with the people in the audience.
‘Working for the Weekend’ continued Loverboy’s hot streak on the radio, where they’d already scored big with ‘Turn Me Loose’ and ‘The Kid Is Hot Tonight.’ And although they never achieved the stratospheric success enjoyed by like-minded bands such as Bon Jovi, with whom they shared the services of mega-producer Bruce Fairbairn, they managed to carve out a respectable string of hits throughout the decade.
The band’s mid-level commercial profile made them one of the first bands to suffer the effects of changing trends at rock radio, and they split up in 1989, the same year that found Kansas, Night Ranger and Survivor calling it quits. But in the rock world, breakups often turn out to be hiatuses, and by the mid-’90s, all of those bands were back on the road in some form, proving that as long as you’re working for the weekend with the eye of the tiger, you can still rock in America to the point of know return.
Loverboy has recorded sporadically since reuniting, with their most recent release, 2012’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival,’ blending three new studio tracks into a live greatest-hits set with the audience noise edited out. (As frontman Mike Reno put it in a subsequent interview, “People ask why we don’t do records anymore, and the answer is that nobody buys them.”) In their defense, it’s easy to stay out of the studio when you’re always on the road, and the band’s packed tour schedule keeps them consistently busy.
The moral of the story? Whether it’s 1981 or 2013, everybody’s working for the weekend, and a buzzing ’80s synth always sounds better with a cowbell in the mix. So head on up to the top, hit ‘play’ on that video, turn up your volume and let your weekend start now.