While it’s true that most musicians who have toured have worked in Chicago, this isn’t about that. It’s about a popular novelty song that has enjoyed success over the generations, and that has seen new lyrics added to it over the years thanks to Rugby fans in the UK and Europe.
This song, “I Used To Work In Chicago” was written by Larry Vincent (no relation to Larry Vincent, the horror movie host) in March 1945, and recorded by the songwriter on Lacquer Press Records four years later in 1949.
He wasn’t the first to record his song though. In 1946, Three Bits Of Rhythm recorded their version which was embraced with a considerable amount of attention from the public.
Of course, they weren’t the only ones to have a hit with the song. Chubby Chalfont and the Chafers also had a hit when they recorded and released the song, and the Rugby fans were all over it like white on rice.
Perhaps you’re thinking that as catchy a tune as it is, it probably fell out of favor but you’d be mistaken. Rugby fans continue to sing this song in pubs, in subway cars, and on the street. And in 2010, the recording by Tin Ear Tanner and His Backroom Boys for Goldenlane Records enjoyed a revival of sorts!
For those of you who are Spike Jones fans, he recorded a variation of the song and titled it, “I’ll Never Work There Any More” with his band, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, on the RCA Victor label.
Undoubtedly, after you’ve listened to the song once or twice, you’ll come to the realization that the song is a true earworm. Good luck with not thinking of this song the next time you hear someone say they used to work in Chicago.