Get a Job (song)

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For the Gossip song, see A Joyful Noise (Gossip album).
"Get a Job"
Single by The Silhouettes
B-side "I Am Lonely"
Released November 1957
Format 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Recorded October 1957. Robinson Recording Laboratories, Philadelphia.
Genre Doo-wop, rhythm and blues, pop
Length 2:25
Label Ember Records
Writer(s) Silhouettes (Earl Beal, Raymond Edwards, Richard Lewis, William Horton)

"Get a Job" is one of the best known doo-wop songs of the 1950s. Recorded by The Silhouettes in October 1957, the song reached the number one spot on the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts in February 1958.[1]

"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.[2] The four members 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. Rollie McGill played the saxophone break, and the arranger was Howard Biggs. It was initially released on the Junior label; Doug Moody, who later formed punk/thrash label Mystic Records, subsequently brought it to Ember Records, where it was licensed for national distribution. Moody then worked with Dick Clark to get the group on American Bandstand.

The Silhouettes performed the song several times on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in early 1958; ultimately the single sold more than a million copies.

The song was later featured in the soundtracks of the movies American Graffiti, Stand By Me, the end credits for Trading Places and Joey (in which the group also performed it). The revival group Sha Na Na derived their name from the song's catchy doo-wop introduction. "Get a Job" inspired a number of answer songs, including "Got a Job", the debut recording by The Miracles.[3] In 1999, this song was parodied in a Car Body Shop commercial, prior to that the UK recruitment agency, Brook Street Bureau, used the song in their two TV commercials although they replaced "get a job" with "better job". The Brook Street commercial was devised by Saatchi and Saatchi Garland Compton and cost over £1m in 1985 It was also covered by Neil Young & Crazy Horse on their 2012 album Americana.

The song was covered by Jan Berry of Jan & Dean on his 1997 solo album Second Wave. This is a post-accident album after Berry's crash near Dead Man's Curve in April 1966. Other covers include one by the Hampton String Quartet (on the album, What if Mozart Wrote "Roll Over Beethoven"?).


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 525. 
  2. ^ Quote from Silhouettes home page Retrieved 22 August 2010
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 25 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 4]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
"Get a Job" by The Silhouettes

February 24, 1958 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Don't" by Elvis Presley
Preceded by
"At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors
Billboard R&B Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
February 3, 1958 - March 3, 1958 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry