Traditionally, coal mining has been one of the most dangerous professions around. For the latest EHSDA Song of the Week, we turn to the eternally strange and wonderful Devo for their new wave take on “Working in the Coal Mine.” It’s quirky and fun and reminds us that coal miners have really tough jobs.
Devo released its version in 1981 as a bonus single and the song was a minor hit, reaching #43 on the Billboard Hot 100. It received regular airplay on FM radio and appeared in movies including “Heavy Metal” and “Employee of the Month.”
The song was originally a huge hit for Lee Dorsey in 1966, written by the great Allen Touissant. The song focuses on spending long hours in dangerous working conditions, unable to even enjoy time off.
Here’s Devo performing the song in 1981 on the sketch show Fridays: