Top 10 Deserter Songs

We were not the first. History and literature are littered with Deserters, so it is only natural that we would find our beliefs reflected in song too. People have been singing about avoiding work for eons. After all, it’s much easier than writing a book.

Below are our Top 10 examples of Deserter thought captured in music, so the message can be shared, remembered, and our favourite, hummed. Perhaps, when the Republic of South London is declared, one of these might become a national anthem.

10. Seven Days A Week (I Never Go To Work) – They Might Be Giants

TMBG sum up our post-industrial strategy, going to the effort of ruling out labour on every single day of the week. Thorough.

On Mondays I never go to work
On Tuesdays I stay at home
On Wednesdays I never feel inclined
Work is the last thing on my mind

On Thursdays it’s a holiday
And Fridays I detest
Oh it’s much too late on a Saturday
And Sunday is the day of rest

9. Bang on the drum – Todd Rundgren

I don’t wanna work
I wanna bang on the drum all day

Bizarrely, the US rocker’s anti-work anthem has been used as post-touchdown music for four different NFL teams. Possibly it represents sport’s fleeting escape from the clutch of The Man. Though there’d be a greater sense of triumph if gridiron games kicked off at 9am on a Monday.

8. Take This Job And Shove It – David Allen Coe

In country songs your woman has always done left you, your truck’s done broken down and the boss man hates you. Former jailbird, Coe, encouraged by fellow inmate Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, took up songwriting and produced this anthem for those wanting to summon the nerve to resign with a flourish.

7. The Magnificent Seven – The Clash

Joe Strummer’s summation of working life still rings true: The pointless drudgery for scant reward, with booze an anaesthetic to help you do it all again next week. Who’s in?

So get back to work and sweat some more
The sun will sink and we’ll get out the door
It’s no good for man to work in cages
Hits the town, he drinks his wages
You’re frettin’, you’re sweatin’
But did you notice you ain’t gettin’?

6. Never Gonna Work – Hoyt Axton

Folk singer, Axton, was as unambiguous about work as he was about cocaine, in his song, Cocaine. Indeed, one of his first hits, Boney Fingers, warned us about hard work with the following lines:

Work your fingers to the bone
What do you get?
Boney fingers, boney fingers

Hats off for declaring himself a work-free zone right here:

5. Because I Got High – Afroman

We’ve all been there. You’ve got stuff to do: work, college, cleaning. But where’s the harm in just one little blunt to get you in the mood for a day of high achievement? Next thing you know, it’s 420 all day.

I was gonna go to work but then I got high
I just got a new promotion but I got high
Now I’m selling dope and I know why
‘Cause I got high
Because I got high
Because I got high

4. Maggie’s Farm – Rage Against The Machine

Bob Dylan’s hymn to refusal has been covered a zillion times since he released it in 1965, suggesting a multi-generational antipathy towards agriculture.

No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
Well he hands you a nickel
He hands you a dime
He asks you with a grin
If you’re having a good time
Then you fines you every time you slam the door
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more

3. Seventeen – Sex Pistols

John Lydon has made it clear you can be an anti-establishment icon whose interventions changed the course of many lives – and yet still be an utter penis.

You can’t deny the Pistols their moments in the sun though, including this homage to sloth.

I’m a lazy sod
I’m a lazy sod
I’m a lazy sod
I’m so lazy
I can’t even be bothered

2. Soul Suckin’ Jerk – Beck

There’s work – and then there’s chicken shop work.

X-Press 2 ft. David Byrne

There are dozens of songs entitled Lazy, by artists from Bruno Mars to Deep Purple, proof, if there was ever any doubt, of the virtue of indolence. We’ve gone for David Byrne’s deep house collab with X-Press 2 and its video proclaiming the robot-rich future of our dreams.

Got any suggestions for Deserter Songs? Let us know in the comments below. If you can be bothered.

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Image credit: Main image by Vivian D Nguyen, used under this license.

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  • Jeremy Taylor

    Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by The Smiths: “I was looking for a job, and then I found a job; and heaven knows I’m miserable now”.

  • Matt Hall

    Surely The Clash’s ‘Career Opportunities’ is the ultimate anti work anthem?

    Career opportunities, the ones that never knock
    Every job they offer you is to keep you out the dock
    Career opportunities, the ones that never knock

  • Alan

    Birth School Work Death by the Godfathers is a great tune.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO5dcW0P75M