Sunday, March 5, 2017

Donna Summer - She Works Hard For The Money (1983)

Gloria Gaynor would not survive ;-) the disco era but Donna Summer certainly did.  In 1980, she parted ways with longtime collaborator Giorgio Moroder...cause she's a wanderer ;-) and was the first artist signed to David Geffen's new label.  The Queen of Disco's music took a different direction toward new wave and pop/rock as she frequently butted heads with the media mogul.  

While her 80's efforts didn't quite match those of the bellbottom era, Donna did manage to score one of the biggest hits of her career with She Works Hard For The Money.  The empowering female anthem brought Donna back to form and in control...with her finger on the trigger ;-)   The song was inspired by Onetta Johnson, an overworked restroom attendant who had fallen asleep after already working her day job when Donna noticed her at Chasen's restaurant in LA.  She ended up appearing on the back cover of the album and getting a shout-out in the lyrics.

In the video, Donna plays a non-threatening stalker tracking Onetta, who is portrayed by a middle-aged white woman, as she works an endless parade of blue collar jobs to support her two demon spawn.  Reaching the breaking point, she takes to the streets with a bevy of career-oriented females and lives out her lifelong aspiration of being a dancer.   The video is noted as being the first by a black female artist that was put into heavy rotation on the channel formerly known as MTV, paving the way for future artists who wouldn't have to work so hard for it, honey ;-)

She Works Hard For The Money was filmed in Los Angeles, CA

Location: Onetta Walks To Work
Address: Figueroa Street & 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA

Location: Onetta's House
Address: 750 E 31st Street, Los Angeles, CA

Thanks to Paul H for finding this location.  The house has undergone some remodeling and is almost completely hidden now due to landscaping but the second story windows on the side of the house are still recognizable.

Location: The Old Train Tracks
Address: San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA

Located behind the house is the old train track ally she walks down carrying groceries. 

Location: The Diner
Address: 501 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

I'm not a hundred percent sure about this but it seems like the diner was located at 501 S Broadway, which is now a 7-Eleven.  Although it looks a bit different, the building you can see across the street at 460 S Broadway sort of matches up.

Location: Girl Power Dancing
Address: Main Street between 5th & 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA

The 522 Club billboard you get a quick glimpse of above Donna's head clued me in to this location.  It's actually still there!  This area has been built up considerably since the video was filmed.

Locations Visited: October 2016


  1. Very cool - Just watched the video (Some 80's video show) and thought the locations looked very much like Downtown L.A. Thanks for posting the photos!

    1. No problen, thanks for checking them out!