Injuries and Illness, Song of the Week

EHSDA Song of the Week: Industrial Disease

This week’s entry in the EHSDA Song of the Week actually discusses work-related illness. A few years before they blew up with “Money For Nothing,” English rock act Dire Straits was releasing albums that were well-received on both sides of the Atlantic. On their 1982 album Love Over Gold, the band released the single “Industrial Disease,” a sardonic look at the decline of English manufacturing.

“There’s panic on the switchboard, tongues in knots/Some come out in sympathy, some come out in spots/Some blame the management, some the employees/Everybody knows it’s the industrial disease,” sings frontman Mark Knopfler.

The song was released as a single in January 1983, and while it only made it to #75 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was a staple on rock radio in North America and England. Ultimately, it was a commentary on how industrialization was taking a toll on workers, complete with a sly Dylanesque delivery from Knopfler. But it paved the way for Dire Straits to become superstars in 1985 with the album Brothers In Arms, featuring the aforementioned big hits “Money For Nothing” and “Walk of Life.”

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