Styx: “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”

ALBUM: Pieces of Eight

YEAR: 1978

WRITER: Tommy Shaw

Peaked at number-21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Singer-guitarist Tommy Shaw wrote three hits on Styx’s Pieces of Eight album, including “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).” He tells what inspired that one. “My father was a gas man. He was the guy who would put your gas light in or hook up your gas pipes. I never held a blue collar job, but I had a friend who worked for the railroad. He and I both had these four-wheel-drive vehicles and they were all, like, jacked up. He was very proud to have worked for the railroad. We would go out and just destroy our cars. One day he got laid off and he had to go stand in the unemployment line and it just wrecked him. He did not want to be going for a handout. That was what was on my mind, couldn’t imagine what my father would have gone through.”

Today (September 11th) is Tommy Shaw’s 64th birthday.


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