By Lin Brehmer

When we talk about Labor Day, we talk about the revolution in working conditions that unions brought to this country. Our image of the working man that Labor Day celebrates are the factory workers and the miners and the people who build our roads and our bridges. But what of the labors of the rock star?

Some days they have to wake up before noon. They will visit towns where it is nigh impossible to find a decent bottle of French champagne. And their careers are perilously short. Between their dealings with duplicitous record labels and the excesses of their grueling tours, even rock stars have real jobs. In fact it’s inspired some of their best work.

The Smiths observing that in some ways the dead rock star has it made. Except for the dead part.

Pavement feels keenly the pressures of the music biz right down to the right haircut.

If you read Ray Davies autobiography, you will find the litany of management and record deal horrors discouraging. It might be easier to lean on a pneumatic drill after all.

Taj Mahal using the life of a trucker as a metaphor for the peregrinations of the musician. At least that’s the way I hear it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd calls out their label. The label turned out to be the least of their problems.

A Graham Parker B-side rarity. Graham bemoaning the toxic promotional efforts of his label.

The last in our trilogy of record label songs. Hard to believe that The Sex Pistols had any problems with a label. They were so low maintenance.

One of the best bands in North America. Works on many levels.

Wreckless Eric was resurrected in the film Stranger Than Fiction when Will Ferrell covered one of his songs. This is one of the best music biz numbers in the music biz.

Nick Lowe from his debut solo album sings of the vicissitudes and the attitudes.

They’re workin.’

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