Clash of the Titans – Rush’s ‘Working Man’ Vs. Styx’s ‘Blue Collar Man’
Plenty of rockers have paid tuneful tribute to the 9-to-5 existence of the hard-working average Joe, and in this edition of Clash of the Titans, we're forcing you to choose between two classic examples from the genre: Rush's 'Working Man' and Styx's 'Blue Collar Man.'
Every Rush fan already knows the story behind 'Working Man,' originally recorded for the band's 1974 debut album, but here’s the condensed version: DJ Donna Halpern, a jockey at Cleveland's renowned WMMS station, added it to the rotation and noticed immediate results from local listeners, whose incessant demands to know where they could buy the record led to area shops selling out of their copies -- which were being imported through the Canadian trio's own tiny label, Moon Records. Given Cleveland's reputation as a solidly working-class town, it isn't hard to understand why the track might have resonated on the WMMS airwaves, but even if you aren't listening to the words, it's a pretty terrific rock anthem, featuring not one, but two solos from guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Recorded for 1978's ‘Pieces of Eight’ LP, 'Blue Collar Man' came at a crucial point for Styx; the previous year, their seventh LP, 'The Grand Illusion,' finally broke the band through to the big time after years of hard touring and slowly building momentum on the pop charts. Written and sung by recent addition Tommy Shaw, the song was easily one of the harder-rocking cuts on the record, perhaps owing to the fact that it started out as a soundcheck jam. "'Blue Collar Man' is a great stage song, and that’s because it was written onstage, in a way," guitarist James 'JY' Young told Ultimate Classic Rock. "It's just a very basic, straight-ahead rock thing, and Tommy caught a great lyric and a great vocal performance and had the right energy and attitude, and then we went from there."
So which 'Man' gets your vote in this Clash of the Titans matchup? Check them both out below, and remember: You can cast a ballot once an hour between now and when voting ends on Sunday, Aug. 31, at 11:59PM EST.