Thursday Inspiration #164 Five O’Clock World

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word job, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Five O’Clock World’, or by going with another song by the Vogues, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Five O’Clock World’ (also known as ‘5 O’Clock World’) was written by Allen Reynolds and it was recorded by American vocal group the Vogues as a single in 1965.  It reached #4 in the U.S. on the Hot 100 in 1966 and it became the Vogues’ best-known song, although they placed three others in the US Top 10.  The Vogues were a singing quartet that came from Turtle Creek, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  The original lineup consisted of Bill Burkette (lead baritone), Don Miller (baritone), Hugh Geyer (first tenor), and Chuck Blasko (second tenor).  They recorded one record in 1959 under the name The Val-Airs, but then they switched their name to The Vogues shortly after that, because of a dance hall in North Versailles called Vogue Terrace, which was near the group’s hometown.  They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.

This song contains an intricate vocal arrangement along with a pseudo-yodel and it ended up playing a significant part in popular culture.  That song about the drudgery, even hopelessness, of having to work for a living for somebody else every day.  The singer gets up every morning and goes to work, because he has bills to pay and he works hard all day to earn a living, but he comes alive at 5 O’Clock when its quitting time, where finds solace in the arms of his woman at the end of the day.  The song opens with a twelve-string riff that is punctuated with work-song shouts of “hey”.  A modal tune signals the monotony of a day at work, while the melody lifts when the group sings about quitting time.  I never had a job where the work day ended with a 5 o’clock whistle, but I did work at several places where people didn’t like their jobs all that much and I would hear shouts of “4:30” when it was getting near quitting time.  Fred Flintstone worked as a bronto-crane operator in the Bedrock Rock Quarry and he would always say, “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!” when his work day ended.

The Vouge track got some help by these up-and-coming from the 1960s Nashville A Team, who were session players, and the group added their vocals to the song in Pittsburgh, which was not a common practice in 1965.  The killer instrumental backing on the single comes these Nashville guys who never became as famous as L.A.’s Wrecking Crew, the Muscle Shoals Swampers, or Motown’s Funk Brothers, but they deserve to be mentioned, as from 1958 through 1962 some of the biggest international hits were made by country singers recording in Nashville, Tennessee, including the Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Horton.  This song featured guitarist Chip Young with his distinctive thumb-style picking (who played on Elvis and Dolly Parton records, among others).  David Briggs (keyboards), Jerry Carrigan (drums) and Norbert Putnam (bass) were some of the musicians on the session.  Allen Reynolds the song’s writer was a bank employee in Memphis, and he went on to become the producer of all seven of Garth Brooks’ diamond-selling albums.  Reynolds’ insightful lyrics in this song may be more relevant than ever in this era of insane traffic congestion, long lines, and a 40-hour week that can very often seem a lot longer.  ‘Five O’Clock World’ was used in the soundtrack to the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam.  This was used as the opening of The Drew Carey Show during the second season and Drew Carey used the full 2 minutes and 10 second original single for his show.

Up every morning just to keep a job (up!)
I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob (up!)
Sounds of the city pounding in my brain (up!)
While another day goes down the drain (up!)

8 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #164 Five O’Clock World

  1. I had no clue who sang that song. Their name was familiar and sure enough…I looked it up and I covered…”Your’re the One”

    Liked by 1 person

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