Take This Job And Shove It: The Story Of The Song
The world has a special relationship with Johnny Paycheck’s 1978 hit “Take This Job and Shove It.” Whether it’s the rebellious attitude, the catchy lyrics, or the no-holds-barred country twang, the song has lingered in popular culture for decades. It is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic protest songs of all time.
Before Johnny Paycheck took the track to the top of the country music charts, it was written by David Allan Coe and recorded by smooth country crooner, Don Bowman. But it was Paycheck’s version that exploded on the airwaves and became an anthem for the every-man fed up with their job.
It was not only an anthem among the working class, it resonated across all age groups. Back in the 1970s, “Take This Job and Shove It” was an ethos that connected with the social climate of the day. The initial lyrics were inspired by a news report Coe had heard about a coal miner in Kentucky with three young children and a dying wife who had been laid off without any warning.
Cohn’s Adaptation of the Song
In 1981, the song was adapted by songwriter and screenwriter Steve Cohn into a feature film. The “Take This Job and Shove It” movie starred Robert Hays, Barbara Frum and a now-famous cast of Bruce Dern, Ed Asner, the Gatlin Brothers and paychecks himself.
The movie follows a worker who is laid off after a twenty-year overhaul and returns to his hometown of Garfield to try and get his old job back. The movie was not well received by critics but its soundtrack was relatively successful and spawned a number of “Take This Job and Shove It” singles that reached the country music charts.
Paycheck and the Legacy
Johnny Paycheck was born Donald Eugene Lytle and was one of Country Music’s most promising stars in the 1970s. With “Take This Job and Shove It,” his fame reached a fever pitch and he cemented himself as a legend in the music industry.
The song endures as a timeless classic and continues to be used in various forms of media to express dissatisfaction with a job. Paycheck released other singles such as “She’s All I Got,” “Another Woman’s Man,” and “Rough and Tough” before his death in February 2003.
Although he is no longer with us, his legacy remains and “Take This Job and Shove It” continues to be loved by music fans around the world.
Paycheck’s version of the track has since been remade by several other artists, including Shooter Jennings. But its the original version that remains the most popular. Here are some of its most iconic lyrics:
- I’ve been working in this factory for oh about ten years
- And they’re closing down the factory and they’re moving south
- I got two weeks and they can have their stupid factory too
- Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more
“Take This Job and Shove It” is one of the most recognizable and enduring protest songs of all time. Johnny Paycheck’s unforgettable version remains one of the most iconic country songs of all time – and with its catchy lyrics, it will remain so for years to come.