It’s hard to believe summer’s winding down and Labor Day is upon us already, but there’s no need to despair! In the spirit of the holiday — the point of which is to recognize and celebrate the average working stiff — we’ve rounded up a marathon of classic videos by artists who have done their part to pay tribute to the men and women of the workforce. From food servers to spies, mechanics to maids, these superstars have never shied away from dressing up as the average Joe or Jolene in an act of video solidarity with their fans. After all, they’ve walked in our shoes — even if it was only from their trailer to the soundstage!
1. Britney Spears has proven, time and again, she’s the hardest working doll in showbiz. And the stunning video for “Toxic” has her working some serious OT as a seductive flight attendant/spy. Where do you find the time, Brit?
2. The ’80s were all about blue-collar machismo, but which of these MTV mechanics do you think was the DILF-iest: Bruce Springsteen in “I’m On Fire” or Billy Joel in “Uptown Girl”? Sorry Billy, but it’s all about Bruce’s greasy tee and simmering stares.
3. Spice Girl Emma Bunton cleans up rather nicely as a maid in her “Downtown” video. But when she points to her crotch during the chorus, one gets the impression she isn’t referring to Main Street, U.S.A.
4. Some artists’ video jobs seem a little too fitting, like Billy Corgan‘s role as a rebellious ice cream man in Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Today.” By clip’s end, we’re left wondering what exactly was in those popsicles!
5. Dance diva Camille Jones is an overworked secretary on the verge of spazzing out in the clip for “The Creeps,” her hit collaboration with Fedde le Grande. Anyone who’s worked in an office will tell you: sometimes you just gotta shake your ass on a desk.
7. George Michael and Andrew Ridgely, aka Wham!, played a pair of airline pilots on a Mediterranean retreat in the colorful video for “Club Tropicana.” Okay, so it was probably filmed at a holiday camp in the North of England…but a young George Michael could sell us any fantasy.
8. Foster the People play cops (and robbers!) in the wild “(Don’t Stop) Color on the Walls.” Is it just us, or do some pop stars look so much hotter in uniform? (See also: the Beastie Boys as Starsky & Hutch-esque detectives in “Sabotage.”)
9. Pop divas just love to play waitresses in their videos, and who could blame them? We hear the tips are great. We just can’t decide who did it better: Britney in “Drive Me Crazy,” Faith Hill in “The Way You Love Me,” or Donna Summer in “She Works Hard for the Money”? Answer: Chrissie Hynde in The Pretenders‘ “Brass in Pocket”. She busses her own tables!
9. Madonna may have been accused recently of looking like a “fairground stripper,” but we’ve always known she’s much classier than that. In the gorgeous clip for “Open Your Heart,” she’s a peep-show stripper in a very nice theater, an entertainer who probably gets paid very well and doesn’t have to do lap dances.
10. Fast Food Rockers gave a voice and a dance routine to the men and women employed by the food service industry, and “Fast Food Song” appropriately features the trio as vending truck drivers spreading joy and hamburgers (and a Hot Dog!) all over the city. We imagine this video also served as a makeshift resume for their post-pop careers.