Donna Summer

She Works Hard for the Money

Composed by Donna Summer / Michael Omartian

Song Review by

Inspiration for a song can strike anywhere. Donna Summer was attending a party in a posh Beverly Hills restaurant when her muse was sparked. Going to the washroom, Summer observed an old lady attendant tucked away in the corner asleep. The irony immediately struck her; this exhausted elderly person surrounded by ritzy, rich women chattering away and applying makeup. Summer thought to herself "she works hard for her money." Hastily, she began writing down the title and her observations. Impressed by producer Michael Omartian's work on Christopher Cross' "Sailing," the singer had begun working with him and rushed over the next day to show him her song idea. After ten minutes, the duo had the song well on its way to becoming a potential hit. The driving "She Works Hard for Her Money" topped the R&B charts for three weeks and hit number three pop in summer 1983. The She Works Hard for Her Money LP went gold, peaking at number five R&B and number nine pop. During spring 2001, Donna Summer re-created "She Works Hard for Her Money" for a national ad campaign for retailer Value City.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
She Works Hard for the Money 1983 Culture Factory 5:18
No Image 1983 Musicvision Records
Dance Decade: Dance Hits of the 80s 1989
Various Artists
London 4:04
The Summer Collection 1990 Mercury
The Donna Summer Anthology 1993 Casablanca/Universal / Casablanca 5:18
Grammy's Greatest Moments, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:45
Disco Nights, Vol. 8: Dance Floor Hits 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 5:20
Fetenhits: Real Classics 1995
Various Artists
Polygram / Polystar (Japan) 4:08
Sounds of the Eighties: 1983-1984 1995
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Billboard Hot R&B Hits 1983 1996
Various Artists
Rhino 4:13
The Birdcage 1996
Original Soundtrack
Edel America Records / Edeltone 3:54
I Am Woman 1996
Various Artists
Nick At Nite / Columbia 4:14
Soulful Ladies of the 80's 1996
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:33
Non-Stop Disco, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Polygram 5:09
Working for a Living 1997
Various Artists
Zomba 5:21
Billboard Top Dance Hits: 1983 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 4:15
Greatest Hits 1998 Chronicles / Def Jam / Island / Mercury / Universal 4:34
The 80's, Vol. 3 1998
Various Artists
Brunswick 5:17
Totally Awesome 80's [Razor & Tie] 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Only Soul 1980-1984 1999
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 4:34
VH1 Presents: Live & More Encore! 1999 Epic 4:31
Respect: A Century of Women in Music [Sampler] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 4:12
Universal Masters Collection 1999 Universal/Polygram 4:12
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings
Millennium Edition 2000 Mercury 4:12
The Collection 2000 Polystar / Universal Gmbh 4:35
Music of the Year: 1983 2001
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Disco Fever, Vol. 2 [Polygram International] 2001
Various Artists
Polygram 3:46
80's Forever, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Polymedia 5:20
Body and Soul: Ladies Got Soul 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:20
Otroligt Party 2002
Various Artists
Bonnier Music 4:32
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Donna Summer 2003 Mercury 4:32
The Ultimate Collection 2003 Universal International 5:18
80's, Vol. 2 [Bonus DVD] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
#1 Soul Hits of the '80s 2004
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Gold 2005 Hip-O / Hip-O/Mercury 5:21
She Works Hard for the Money [DVD] 2005 Universal International
The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer 2006 Universal Music / USM 4:11
I Love Disco 80's, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Beggars Banquet 6:03
'80s Dance Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:20
Number 1's: '80s Soul 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:20
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:32
Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Eighties 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:49
Disco Queen 2008 Hudson Street
Live from New York [DVD] 2008 Immortal
No Image 2008 Umc 5:18
Classic 2009 Spectrum Music 4:12
Floorfillers: 80s Club Classics 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:32
Greatest Ever! Mum [2010] 2010
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 4:32
Get Fit [Spectrum] 2011
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:10
Encore 2012 Audio Visual Fidelity
Icon 2013 Hip-O / Mercury 4:09
Playlist: The Very Best of Donna Summer 2013 Sony BMG / Sony Music
Magic Summertime 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:32
The Ultimate Collection: 80s Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:49
Greatest Ever Mum: The Definitive Collection 2014
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 4:32
The  Ultimate Collection 2016 Crimson 4:33
No Image
Best of 1983: 20th Century Masters
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing / Universal Music 4:34
Classic '80s Pop
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Now That's What I Call the 80s Hits [Deluxe Edition]
Various Artists
Now Joint Venture 4:33
The Best of 80's, Pt. 2
Various Artists
Universal Music 5:22
blue highlight denotes editor's pick