The song perfectly fit the theme of the hour, “Restaurant Resurgence: Salute to Servers,” since Summer reportedly found inspiration for the song when she met a hardworking waitress named Onetta at the West Hollywood restaurant Chasen’s.
According to LAist, “She went to the bathroom and saw the attendant taking a nap with a small TV on. Donna startled the woman from her nap, and the woman told Donna she worked 2 jobs and was really tired. Donna thought to herself, ‘Wow, she really works hard for her money.'” Summer wrote the song in about 20 minutes that same night. She even mentions the waitress by name in the first verse when she sings, “Onetta there in the corner stand.”
While wearing a laid-back white V-neck tee and floral maxi skirt, Clarkson made the feat look easy with her vocal range.
“She Works Hard for the Money” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. The late Queen of Disco danced back to the Billboard charts this year with Kygo’s reimagining of “Hot Stuff” that reached No. 9 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart last month.
Watch Clarkson cover Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” below.