This Day in Black History: June 4, 1983

This Day in Black History: June 4, 1983

Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money" hits No. 1 on the R&B charts.

Published June 4, 2013

(Photo: Mercury Records)

Donna Summer, also known as "the Queen of Disco," rose to fame in the mid-'70s with the breathy "Love to Love You, Baby." After enjoying major success, tastes changed, which was a setback for Summer's career.

She made a comeback in 1983, however, with "She Works Hard for the Money," which on June 4, 1983, became the number one R&B song for three weeks and number three for pop.

The song celebrated "everyday strivers and survivors without unduly glorifying or pandering." It was inspired by Onetta Johnson, a washroom attendant who'd fallen asleep while working during a Grammy party Summer was attending at Hollywood's Chasen's restaurant, Rolling Stone reports.

"[My] first thought was 'God, she works hard for her money, that lady," Summer recalled upon learning that Johnson also had another job as a waitress.

She wrote that line on a piece of toilet paper and 20 minutes later, the "Women's National Anthem" was born.

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Written by Joyce Jones


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