The unlikely inspiration for this song came in the form of Dolly Parton’s fingernails. She had very long, acrylic nails, and discovered that when she rubbed them together she could create a rhythm that sounded like a typewriter. She was charged with writing the theme song for a movie about secretaries and in the 80s the typewriter was still a common sound in office buildings.
Parton used that sound to compose the song on the set of the movie 9 to 5. She even played her fingernails as part of the percussion sound when she recorded the track.