Happy Music Monday, you hard working laborers!
Can you believe we are in the first Monday of September already?
It’s also Labor Day, a holiday established in the late 19th century, honoring the American labor movement and “the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.” It is celebrated on the first Monday of September annually, also serving as the unofficial end to summer.
When I was thinking of how I wanted to celebrate Music Monday and keep in the spirit of the day, I decided a work-related song was the the right way to go.
In 1980, 20th Century Fox released a film about the attempt by three working women (all Secretaries) to overthrow their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss. The film starred Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Partin as the overworked, underappreciated Secretaries, and Dabney Coleman as the boss they plot to make change the ways of his company.
The film came from an idea of Jane Fonda (quite possibly the only idea I’m happy she ever had), and as she said it:
“My ideas for films always come from things that I hear and perceive in my daily life … A very old friend of mine had started an organization in Boston called “Nine To Five”, which was an association of women office workers. I heard them talking about their work and they had some great stories. And I’ve always been attracted to those 1940s films with three female stars.” – “LIFE STYLE.”. The Canberra Times National Library of Australia. 6 February 1981. p. 17.
In regard to the occupation of Secretary, Fonda said:
“What I found was that secretaries know the work they do is important, is skilled, but they also know they’re not treated with respect. They call themselves “office wives”. They have to put gas in the boss’s car, get his coffee, buy the presents for his wife and mistress. So when we came to do the film, we said to Colin [Higgins], OK, what you have to do is write a screenplay which shows you can run an office without a boss, but you can’t run an office without the secretaries!” – “LIFE STYLE.”. The Canberra Times National Library of Australia. 6 February 1981. p. 17.
Indeed, since the movie was released in 1980, the role of the Secretary had changed dramatically. That includes the actual job title, since we prefer Administrative Professionals these days.
The movie launched the mainstream career of already-established singer/songwriter Dolly Partin. This was her film debut, and it was only natural that she’d have the opportunity to pen as song for the film.
For your Music Monday, I proudly present the 1980 title song for 9 to 5…simply called 9 to 5.
The song became one of Partin’s biggest hits of the decade. While filming the movie, Dolly found she could use her long acrylic fingernails to simulate the sound of a typewriter. She wrote the song on set by clicking her nails together and forming the beat.
“9 to 5” went to number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as the U.S. country singles charts, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. It won the 1981 People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Motion Picture Song”, and two 1982 Grammy Awards: for “Country Song of the Year” and “Female Country Vocal of the Year” (it was nominated for four Grammys). Additionally, it was certified platinum by the RIAA.
The film was released on December 19, 1980, grossing $103.3 million, and is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film. It also holds spot #74 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs list. A TV spinoff ran for five seasons – 1 on ABC from 1982 until 1983, and in first-run syndication from 1986 until 1988, starring Rachel Dennison (Parton’s younger sister in real life), Rita Moreno (in Tomlin’s role), and Valerie Curtin (in Fonda’s Role). When the series was revived for syndication, Sally Struthers took over Moreno’s role.
Here’s the opening credits from the first season:
I guess it was too expensive to have the Dolly Parton version of the song?
The actual singer for the show’s first season was Phoebe Snow, but after the first season, Parton’s version was used.
Oh, and the episodes are on You Tube.
I never even knew there was a series!
We all learned something today, didn’t we?
Just humor me, please.
Anyway, Happy Music Monday and Labor Day!