You like MuSIC, and you like the LYRICS of songs.
You like a little of the old stuff and a little of the  new stuff.
You’re interested in the WORLD how stuff works and WhYstuff happeNs. Welcome, you’ve found a new home here.

4. Economic Activities

The coal and steel industries were in decline in the USA because their manufacturing processes had become out of date, and labour and energy costs made the USA products uncompetitive (more expensive than from elsewhere). These industries shut down causing widespread hardship in the USA. This song is about that experience and what people involved, thought.

At around about the same time that the US iron and steel industry was having a hard time in the USA industry was also in decline in the UK. Britain was still moving from a secondary economy to a tertiary economy. Many industries including coal, iron and steel had also become uncompetitive and the then Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher had to make hard decisions to close the industries. It was a very hard time for Britain. This song is about that pain.

Downloadable PDF about the song.

Downloadable PDF about the song.

This is a song about the relationship between the environment and the economy. A fisherman who comes from a family of fisherman on the East coast of the USA, has found that the area has been overfished, and his whole livelihood is at stake. He is finding it hard to earn enough money, and he has a family to feed. He has to spend more and more time at sea looking for the fish and this takes its toll on his family.

Downloadable PDF about the song.

This is a funny and silly song about money. It is here just because it reminds us how much money has an impact on our daily lives. There’s more to life than money, but it does drive a lot of things that happen within geography!

No additional content with this song.


This is a song about the monotony of ‘the working’ life. The song is called ‘factory’ and attests to the monotony of working in a job that offers little job satisfaction.

This is a song about unemployment in the car industry. The lyrics describe the place in which this worker lives and the sense of exasperation he experiences in his situation.  His situation leads him to getting into a fight and being sent to jail. The song helps to show the kind of world that workers can find themselves in when working in a factory environment where being laid off is an ever present possibility. The car industry in the USA is centred around Detroit, Michigan.

This song is about an unemployed steelworker in Youngstown, Ohio. “Jenny” referred to in the song, is not the name of a woman, but the name given to the blast furnace at Youngstown steelworks. In Scunthorpe in the UK the furnaces are known as Bess, Victoria, Anne and Mary. The song is sung to the furnace. The song effectively captures workers’ feelings of the time, as the furnace was shut. There are some strong words in the song eg: I made you rich enough/rich enough to forget my name.

This song is about coal miners in the UK and their situation in amongst the miner’s strikes and pit closures in the mid 1980s. The song goes through the frustration and contradiction association with the closure of mines. The song conjures up an image of shared and collective history and about people suffering as the economy changes. It expresses some nostalgia for all the man hours that have gone into the digging of coal in the country.

This song by Gordon Lightfoot is a ballad about an accident when a large ship carrying taconite, a kind of iron ore for industrial use in the USA. The disaster is still the biggest disaster in the history of the Great Lakes. The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost in 1975. Its crew and cargo were all lost and the ship did not send out a distress signal. This is a kind of industrial accident that many industrial processes are subject to.