GET A JOB (song)

Get a Job (song)

Released November 1957
Format 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Recorded October 1957. Robinson Recording Laboratories, Philadelphia
Genre Doo-wop, rhythm and blues
Length 2:25

Label Junior
Earl Beal Raymond Edwards Richard Lewis William Horton

“Get a Job” is a song by the Silhouettes released in November 1957. It reached the number one spot on the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts in February 1958.

“When I was in the service in the early 1950s and didn’t come home and go to work, my mother said ‘get a job’ and basically that’s where the song came from,” said tenor Richard Lewis, who wrote the lyrics. The four members of the group shared the credit, jointly creating the “sha na na” and “dip dip dip dip” hooks later imitated by other doo-wop groups.

The song was recorded at Robinson Recording Laboratories in Philadelphia in October 1957. Rollee McGill played the saxophone break, and the arranger was Howard Biggs. Intended as the B-side to “I Am Lonely”, “Get a Job” was initially released on Kae Williams’ Junior label; Williams, who was also a Philadelphia disc-jockey, was the Silhouettes’ manager. Doug Moody, an executive at Ember Records, acquired the rights to the song for that label where it was licensed for national distribution.

In early 1958, the Silhouettes performed “Get a Job” several times on American Bandstand and once on The Dick Clark Show, appearances that contributed to the song’s success by exposing it to a large audience. Ultimately the single sold more than a million copies.

The song was later featured in the soundtracks of the movies American Graffiti (1973), Stand By Me (1986), Trading Places (1983), Get a Job (1985), Joey (1986), and Good Morning, Vietnam (1987).[citation needed] In the 1980s, the UK recruitment agency, Brook Street Bureau, used the song in their two TV commercials, replacing the words “get a job” with “better job”.

The revival group Sha Na Na derived their name from the song’s doo-wop introduction.[3] “Get a Job” inspired a number of answer songs, including “Got a Job”, the debut recording by The Miracles.[9] Dennis Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, believed that the group’s song “She’s Goin’ Bald” (1967) paid reference to “Get a Job”.

Cover versions

The song was covered by Jan Berry of Jan & Dean on his 1997 solo album Second Wave. Other covers include those by the Hampton String Quartet (What if Mozart Wrote “Roll Over Beethoven”?), Neil Young & Crazy Horse (Americana, 2012).[citation needed] and The Delltones. James Taylor covered it on his Other Covers album