OUT OF WORK

Gary U.S. Bonds' album version


8 A.M., I'm up and my feet beating on the sidewalk
Down at the unemployment agency, all I get's talk
I check the want ads but there just ain't nobody hiring
What's a man supposed to do when he's down and

Out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work
I'm unemployed, I'm out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work

I go to pick my girl up
Her name is Linda Brown
Her dad invites me in
He tells me to sit down
The small talk that we're making
Is going pretty smooth
But then he drops a bomb
"Son, what d'ya do?"

I'm out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work
I'm unemployed, I'm out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey, Mr. President, I know you got your plans
You're doing all you can now to aid the little man
We got to do our best to whip that inflation down
Maybe you got a job for me just driving you around

(I'm out of work)
These tough times, they're enough
To make a man lose his mind
(I'm out of work)
Up there you got a job but down here below

I'm out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work
I'm unemployed, I'm out of work
I need a job, I'm out of work

Ooh, I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work
I'm out of work


Info

OUT OF WORK is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and donated to Gary U.S. Bonds.

Gary U.S. Bonds recorded OUT OF WORK for his 1982 album On The Line. It's one of eight songs on the album that were produced by Bruce Springsteen with Steven Van Zandt. It was recorded in January or February 1982 at The Power Station in New York City, NY, during Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band sessions for Gary U.S. Bonds from which the recording sessions Born In The U.S.A. flowed.

The above lyrics are for Gary U.S. Bonds' album version of OUT OF WORK.

The melody of OUT OF WORK has some similarities to TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT and LIVIN' IN THE FUTURE.

Other Studio Versions

According to Brucebase, a Bruce Springsteen vocal rendition of OUT OF WORK was likely recorded at The Power Station in New York City, NY, during the January-February 1982 recording sessions with Gary U.S. Bonds – it's the same core recording with the E Street Band that's found on the Bonds album, but with the Springsteen lead vocal overdub.

On The Line

Gary U.S. Bonds released two studio albums and several hit singles in 1961 and 1962, three of which were top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Success was short-lived and Bonds relegated to playing the oldies circuit. In the early eighties, his career resurrected with two collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, and the E Street Band: Dedication in 1981 and On The Line in 1982.

On The Line is Gary U.S. Bonds' fourth studio album, released in June 1982 on EMI America Records. The musicians backing Bonds on the album include many members of the E Street Band. The album includes seven songs written by Bruce Springsteen (HOLD ON (TO WHAT YOU GOT), OUT OF WORK, CLUB SOUL CITY, LOVE'S ON THE LINE, RENDEZVOUS, ANGELYNE, and ALL I NEED), one written by Steve Van Zandt, one written by Wayne Carson, and two written by Bonds and Gary L. Anderson. Although Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt are credited as co-producers of all of the album's 11 tracks, Springsteen was actually involved in only eight of them: the seven that he wrote plus The Box Tops' hit SOUL DEEP. Springsteen is not credited as playing or singing on the album but he did directly participate, along with the E Street Band, on most of these eight tracks.

The 1991 reissue of On The Line on the Razor Edge label includes album liner note by Gary U.S. Bonds himself. He wrote that they "also recorded three additional cuts for the album which were never mixed including 'Action In The Street', a Springsteen song which I still do in my live shows." The three tracks are ACTION IN THE STREETS, LION'S DEN, and SAVIN' UP.

On The Line produced one single, OUT OF WORK which nearly reached the Top 20, but the album flopped and Bonds was dropped by his label.

Gary U.S. Bonds -- On The Line
Gary U.S. Bonds -- On The Line

LP - EMI America (SO-17068) - USA, 1982

On The Line was re-released in 1992 on the Razor Edge label (catalog number RE-1988-2).

Single Release

OUT OF WORK was released as a single in 1982. It peaked at #21 on on Billboard's Top Tracks chart. The single was issued in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (AMI-751) - Australia, 1982

Stock copy, comes in a company sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (AMI-751) - Australia, 1982

Promo copy (promo stamped), comes in a company sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (B-8117) - Canada, 1982

Comes in a company sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (1A 006-86562) - Holland, 1982

Comes in a picture sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - Liberty (EYS-17252) - Japan, 1982

Commercial and promo labels, comes with a picture insert.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - Liberty (F 8117) - New Zealand, 1982

Comes in a company sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (10C 006-086.562) - Spain, 1982

Comes in a picture sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"
Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back"

7" single - EMI America (B-8117) - USA, 1982

Comes in a picture sleeve.

A1- OUT OF WORK
B1- BRING HER BACK

Other Official Releases

In addition to its release on On The Line and as a single, OUT OF WORK was also included on a few other official releases.

Various artists -- Catch A Summer '82
Various artists -- Catch A Summer '82

LP - Toshiba Records (PRP-8215) - Japan, 1982

A DJ-only collection of songs released as singles in 1982.
Canned Heat / Gary U.S. Bonds -- Il Rock
Canned Heat / Gary U.S. Bonds -- Il Rock

LP - EMI (IGDA-1159/60) - Italy, 1990

This is a dual/split artist LP with five Canned Heat songs and one Gary U.S. Bonds song on side A and five Gary U.S. Bonds songs on side B. The six Bonds tracks are the first six from his One The Line album. This special pressing was available exclusively with an issue of Italian magazine "Il Rock".
Various artists -- Near Legends And Soon-To-Be Household Names, Volume 2
Various artists -- Near Legends And Soon-To-Be Household Names, Volume 2

CD - Razor & Tie (no catalog number) - USA, 1993
Gary U.S. Bonds -- The Best Of Gary U.S. Bonds
Gary U.S. Bonds -- The Best Of Gary U.S. Bonds

CD - EMI (37812) - USA, 1996

This is a Gary U.S. Bonds compilation album.
Gary U.S. Bonds -- Club Soul City
Gary U.S. Bonds -- Club Soul City

CD - Disky (DC 881852) - Holland, 1998

This is a Gary U.S. Bonds compilation album consisting of 20 tracks from the Dedication (9 of the album's 10 tracks) and On The Line (all of the album's 11 tracks).
Various artists -- Rock On 1982: Hot In The City
Various artists -- Rock On 1982: Hot In The City

CD - Madacy (RO-2-5182 / 72438-19938-2-8) - USA, 1998
Various artists -- Car Classics: Get Your Kicks On Route 66
Various artists -- Car Classics: Get Your Kicks On Route 66

CD - EMI Plus (724357612524) - Holland, 2000
Various artists -- 1000 Original Hits 80's, Vol. 1
Various artists -- 1000 Original Hits 80's, Vol. 1

5-CD - EMI Plus (unknown catalog number) - Germany, 2001
Various artists -- Best Of 80's: 1982-1983
Various artists -- Best Of 80's: 1982-1983

2-CD - Disky (DO 905513) - Holland, 2003

Live History

As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed OUT OF WORK live.

Covers

As far as it's known, only one other artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's OUT OF WORK.

Randy McDonald -- On The Wildside
Randy McDonald -- On The Wildside

CD - Heart & Soul (33182) - USA, 2003

Credits / References

Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.

Some of the above info about the studio recordings is taken from Brucebase.

Request

Please contact me if you have scans or info about any official release
containing OUT OF WORK that's not mentioned on this page. I also need scans for the following
releases:

  • Various artists -- Near Legends And Soon-To-Be Household Names, Volume 2 || CD - Razor & Tie (no catalog number) - USA, 1993
  • Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back" || 7" - EMI America (B-8117) - Canada, 1982
  • Gary U.S. Bonds -- "Out Of Work / Bring Her Back" || 7" - Liberty (F 8117) - New Zealand, 1981

Bruce Springsteen is not credited as playing or singing on On The Line album but this may not be completely true. It has been reported that he contributed backing vocals and guitar on some tracks. Any additions, comments, or corrections to this page are welcome. You can contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

Available Versions

List of available versions of OUT OF WORK on this website:

OUT OF WORK [Gary U.S. Bonds' album version]

Page last updated: 08 Jan 2016