Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Alan Jackson: A 'Hard Hat' mentality in Hollywood

April 19, 2010 |  2:00 pm

Alan jackson Alan Jackson’ new album, "Freight Train," opens with "Hard Hat and a Hammer," another ode to the everyday people who work for a living.

"A working-man song every now and then pops out," he told me during the  few minutes I had with him last week aboard his tour bus while he was in Los Angeles to unveil the star with his name on it on Hollywood Boulevard, and to play a thank-you concert for fans at the intimate Hotel Cafe. "That’s one I have no idea where it came from.

"One day, I was just sitting there and those words, hard hat and a hammer… I don’t remember if it just came into my head, or if I heard it. But as soon as I heard it I said, 'That sounds like a hook.' So, I just wrote it down and then one day I just wrote the song.

"I've had several working-man songs that I like. I had one really early on that I wrote. A lot of times I do base 'em on life: what I saw my daddy doing as a working man, or what I did --  worked for a long time before I ever got started [in music]. It was called 'Working Class Hero,' and that was one of my favorites. It never was a single, but it should have been. I always liked that one."

One distinguishing aspect of the "Hard Hat" song, whose chorus is a resounding singalong, "God bless the working man," is that at the very end of the song, he adds the punch line: "…and woman."

"I had to throw the 'woman' on there. I haven't done it that much live yet, but when I have, people like the tempo and they like the 'God bless the working man' part. The women are kind of digging it, but then when you hit that last line," he said as a broad grin erupted beneath his blond mustache, "they all really change their direction."

-- Randy Lewis


Country superstar Alan Jackson gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Photo: Alan Jackson performs at the Hotel Cafe. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times