Artists have written songs that echo the difficulties and struggles that come with working.
Although some of these songs are commentary about political and social struggles, many of them have become staples on playlists everywhere.
If you want exciting recommendations on songs about different jobs, you’ve come to the right place.
These 30 songs with a profession in the title span multiple genres from alternative and country to rock and pop.
1. “Doctor Robert” by The Beatles
This band was and continues to be a legendary favorite, and their 1966 song “Doctor Robert” rose to fame for a variety of reasons.
With its energetic and catchy tune, the track, which was featured on their album Revolver, is well-known as being John Lennon’s semi-autobiographical song.
The Beatles nevertheless added yet another hit to their discography, despite its questionable lyrical content, “Doctor Robert” quickly became a fan favorite.
See also: Best Beatles Songs
2. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith
Nominated for both Academy of Country Music Awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year, this song highlights the traits of the ideal American soldier: loyalty, fearlessness, and bravery.
This song shows the hopes and fears of understanding what it takes to be a good soldier and person, and how those two things might seem at odds with each other while fulfilling the duty of being in the army.
3. “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles
After being encouraged to ‘not compose a song about love,’ Paul McCartney wrote “Paperback Writer” in 1966.
In a 2007 interview, McCartney admitted that inspiration for the song had hit the moment he read a story of a struggling author in The Daily Mail.
4. “Ice Cream Man” by Tom Waits
Released in 1973, this song is full of double entendres that you’ll certainly enjoy if you are a fan of wordplay and crass humor.
However, the song has nothing to do with an actual ice cream man.
This jazzy number is perfect for those slower work mornings.
Wait’s voice makes for easy listening even though the instrumentals might sound ominous at times.
It is the most ‘up-tempo’ song of the album Closing Time and was even covered in 1991 by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins for Black Music For White People.
5. “Private Dancer” by Tina Turner
Released as the title track, “Private Dancer”, the album’s fifth single, reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the US R&B chart.
Turner’s strong sensuality has a chance to shine on this sultry, dark ballad that gives the album an edgy feel.
Turner became a viable solo star and one of the most marketable crossover singers in the music industry thanks to the Private Dancer album.
6. “Floyd The Barber” by Nirvana
The Andy Griffith Show served as the inspiration for the song’s title and lyrics.
Cobain utilized the idyllic program environment to tell a bizarre tale about going to the barbershop for a haircut and ending up being kidnapped, tortured, raped, and killed by the locals.
Making a philosophical point, he outlines how people in the 1950s refused to recognize current social difficulties because they had idealized their childhoods to the point of denial.
It is a reminder that inherently political music becomes a commercial success under the right circumstances.
7. “Mr. Policeman” by Brad Paisley
“Mr. Policeman,” which was released on the album 5th Gear in 2007, incorporates the chorus of “In the Jailhouse Now” at its end, with new lyrics to fit the rest of the song.
Paisley cheekily taunts the heavyweight policeman into starting a high-speed chase because they are both bored.
Despite not being a good example of dealing with policemen, the song is sure to get your toes tapping to the merry tune.
8. “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen
Van Halen’s final single and music video, “Hot For Teacher,” was released in 1985, the year David Lee Roth announced his separation from the group.
It peaked at No. 58 in the US, where it attained its highest chart position.
The lyrics were inspired by someone who worked at Cherry Lawn School, a Connecticut boarding school David Lee Roth attended as a child.
Listeners can relate to crushing on a teacher at some point, which adds a layer of innocence to this somewhat provocative song.
While crushing on a teacher is rarely a good idea, for many it might bring back fond memories of school.
9. “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” by Usher
With rather straightforward lyrics, the song talks about how the club scene is a great place to relax and have fun.
Usher asks a girl if he knows her, either as a cliched pick-up line or out of a genuine sense of déjà vu.
Pitbull adds his two cents with some braggadocio and sexual innuendo.
10. “The Archer” by Taylor Swift
Swift has been both the archer and the prey in the past, and that is what she conveys in this slow-paced, anxiety-inducing song.
Using references to hunting and the Cupid archetype, she bemoans the challenges she has encountered in her previous relationships, the uncertainty she has experienced, and the difficulty she has had in finding relationships meaningful and long-lasting.
‘Who could ever leave me, darling, but who could stay?’ is the poignant question she asks.
11. “The Scientist” by Coldplay
Although the song is named “The Scientist”, it is a love song, but it’s not the mushy kind that keeps declaring its verbal love.
Instead, it centers on a pair that repeatedly ends their relationship and then begins it again.
“The Scientist” is about the couple treating their relationship like one big science experiment.
They’re carefully tracking results and being rational about their conclusions – A very direct and no-nonsense approach to romance.
12. “Son Of A Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, the song “Son of a Preacher Man” from Springfield’s album Dusty in Memphis is undoubtedly its most well-known track on the album.
The song is about a girl who becomes infatuated with the preacher’s son, Billy, who sweet-talks her into being intimate with him.
It is regarded as one of the best-produced songs of all time which is highlighted by its clever usage of sensuous vocals, and gospel undertones.
13. “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel
The folk-rock ballad released in the 1970s, “The Boxer” switches between a first-person lament and a third-person boxing skit.
It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and performed well internationally, charting Top 10 in nine countries.
Simon wrote the lyrics when he thought he was receiving undeserved criticism.
The song leans primarily on autobiographical and biblical inspiration.
The lyrics discuss both poverty and loneliness, which many are intimately familiar with.
14. “Bartender” by Lady Antebellum
“Bartender” made its debut at No. 43 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and quickly rose to the top.
This combined with its No. 40 debut on Billboard Adult Pop Songs cemented “Bartender” as a contemporary favorite.
The track’s bridge and chorus are sing-songy in nature, giving it some bite and making it the kind of song that should always have a follow-up.
The cheery melody, documenting the age-old custom of drinking to forget, makes it impossible for this song to be depressing regardless of its message.
15. “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers
This song is not about an actual clown; the lyrics depict a man who has been publicly humiliated by his lover.
“Cathy’s Clown” has an unconventional form, with a chorus forming the start and bridges instead of being integrated into the verses.
The Everly Brothers’ best-selling single of their career was an international hit.
It was listed in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2013 for its ongoing effect on popular music.
16. “Police and Thieves” by Junior Murvin
This reggae song, which was performed on the streets and rapidly became a massive hit in Jamaica, was about gang fighting and police brutality.
The British adopted the song as an anthem during the Notting Hill Carnival riots in 1976.
Due to their involvement in the rioting, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash decided to record the song on their debut album in a style they termed “punk reggae” rather than ‘white reggae.’
17. “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” by Big & Rich
In this song, Big and Rich encourage women to saddle a cowboy rather than ride horses.
Consequently, Big & Rich are portrayed in the lyrics as the very cowboys that the women should like to ride.
With cheeky bravado, the guys come into town on horses and impress all the women in the style of “Cotton Eye Joe.”
18. “Thru’ These Architects Eyes” by David Bowie
Although it is stated that “Thru’ These Architects Eyes” is sung from the perspective of murder-suspect Leon Blank, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the murder mystery story.
Instead, it seems to characterize a walk through an unknown city, perhaps a fictionalized Oxford Town, New Jersey, where Philip Johnson and Richard Rogers’s designs compete for modernist supremacy.
Released in 1995, many people consider this song an underrated masterpiece by a brilliant artist.
19. “Temporary Secretary” by Paul McCartney
The 1980 McCartney II song is a classic and considered an unusually charming electro-pop gem.
Although it differs significantly from his typical tunes, it does serve as an example of Paul McCartney’s music’s complexity.
The theme of “Temporary Secretary,” inspired by the typewriter-like rhythmic effects of synthesizer, guitar, and percussion, was composed from the perspective of a man needing a woman from a temping agency.
Later, McCartney said the sound was like a ‘space typewriter.’
20. “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes
The lead singer of The Marvelettes, Gladys Horton, documents anxiously waiting for a letter from her boyfriend who is ‘so far away.’
Truly, she believes any sort of appreciation would do.
She makes you ponder whether she’s waiting in vain because she is anxious, afraid, and alone as she pleads with the harassed postman.
The pop sound betrays Hortan’s cries which sound more desperate as the song progresses.
The off-beat singing highlights both the clever composition and the strong acapella abilities of the group.
21. “The Firefighter Song” by Paul Cummings
This bittersweet song, released in 2010, narrates the tale of a firefighter, who despite knowing the risks of his job, goes into a burning house to save the children trapped inside and ends up losing his life.
The country song pays tribute to all the firefighters who make sacrifices every time they go out to respond to a call.
The accompanying thrumming of a guitar and slow-paced lyrics really connects the listener to the firefighter mentioned in the song, which makes the ending even more heartbreaking.
22. “Librarian” by My Morning Jacket
With its delicate acoustic guitar and subtle bass line, a sorrowful little melody carries the “Librarian.”
Jim James, the lead singer, tells a simple story about yearning for a librarian while injecting references to technology’s soul-crushing effects and our concern with vanity.
It’s a slice-of-life song that provokes thought and emotion about society’s emphasis on the visual message rather than what is being said.
The meandering quality of the song is one of its finest qualities.
23. “I’m In Love With A German Film Star” by The Passions
The melancholy-rich vocals of Barbara Gogan, the muted effervescence of Clive Timperley’s guitar, and the progressive climb of the bass and percussion are the main components of what is a rather straightforward composition.
It has a peculiarly ageless character that is nearly indescribable and makes it instantly recognizable.
On their Best Of You CD, Foo Fighters include a recording of “I’m In Love With A German Film Star” that they made in 2005.
24. “Artists Only” by Talking Heads
Every artist is sure to relate to this alternative/indie song released in 1978.
The singer believes his college lessons to be false.
He sings this line sardonically as if adhering to a rule he despises.
It is about growth as an artist and how living an artist’s life comes with almost constant change in beliefs.
25. “The Butcher” by Leonard Cohen
People’s opinion on this song differs regarding its theme.
Many believe it to be about religion, but some think it could be about erasing the strict lines between black-and-white thinking.
While the protagonist initially prides himself on being somewhat of a saint, a hero for trying to save the lamb from the butcher, he is later revealed to be using drugs, which weighs heavily on his conscience for being an evil act.
26. “Waitress Song” by First Aid Kit
The First Aid Kit sisters’ poignant folk ballad “Waitress Song” is about wanting to leave the past behind and starting anew.
After a breakup, they daydream about joining a circus, relocating to a tiny town to work as waitresses, or just taking a peaceful drive to the coast.
The two seemed to have had a romanticized version of working as waitresses in an American diner, which might sound ironic to anyone who has worked in customer service.
27. “Soul Of A Sailor” by Kenny Chesney
This 2005 country song is the perfect representation of a true sailor who can’t be tied down to the shore for too long.
The protagonist meets another sailor at a bar, where they converse about wanting to return to the sea.
They talk about the wind in their sails and letting their hearts take them where they wish to go.
Kenny Chesney’s crooning voice lulls the listener into a peaceful state of mind, granting them the illusion of tranquility that the sailors in the song might be seeking.
28. “Politician” by Cream
“Politician” appeared on Cream’s third album, Wheels Of Fire, released in 1968 – the world’s first Platinum-selling double album.
Bruce’s bass and vocals, Clapton’s guitar, and Baker’s drumming are all flawless, demonstrating how well Cream developed their talents while touring.
While the guitar is generally mixed to the left, the bass is in the right channel.
The kicks from “Politician” demonstrate what skilled musicians can do when given the right circumstances to create art.
29. “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga
This track also explores Gaga’s relationship with fame, her personal relationships, and her ambition to win over everyone she meets.
Whether the pop artist is referring to a love interest or the invasive paparazzi, the song is left up for interpretation to the listener, but the music video ran with traditional paparazzi imagery.
With the music video’s running time of about eight minutes, Jonas Akerland created what feels like a short film, a hallmark of Gaga’s music videos.
30. “rockstar” by Post Malone ft. 21 Savage
“rockstar” is Malone’s most popular hit single to date, which peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in several other nations despite earning mixed reviews from critics.
It even received nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Post Malone compares his habits to the ‘live fast, die young’ rock-and-roll way of life in the song “rockstar.”
He also mentions actual instances in rock history, name-drops Jim Morrison and Bon Scott, and further emphasizes rockstar stereotypes like tossing TVs out of hotel windows.
Songs With a Profession in the Title – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it, a list of 30 songs about different professions.
If you haven’t heard some of these, why not go ahead and give them a try?
Maybe you’ll find a new favorite song from this list.