It's Different for Girls

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"It’s Different for Girls"
It's Different for Girls.jpg
Single by Joe Jackson
from the album I'm the Man
Released30 Nov 1979 (UK)
Format7" 45-RPM single
RecordedMarch 1979
TW Studios, Fulham, London
GenreNew wave
Songwriter(s)Joe Jackson
Producer(s)David Kershenbaum
Joe Jackson singles chronology
"I'm the Man"
"It’s Different for Girls"
"Kinda Kute"

"It’s Different for Girls" is a song by Joe Jackson appearing on his 1979 album, I'm the Man. The song has since become one of his most successful singles, notably being the highest charting Joe Jackson single in the UK. Covers have been recorded and released by several different artists.

In 2007, Freaky Trigger ranked the song at number 52 in its list of "The Top 100 Songs of All Time".[1]


"It's Different for Girls" contained lyrics that feature Jackson "deliberately turn[ing] clichés on their head" in that, while originally sounding as if the song would suggest that the male protagonist was looking for sex and his female partner was looking for love, the opposite is revealed to be the case.[2] Jackson later said on the song's lyrics:

It was something that I heard somewhere that struck me as a cliché. The sort of thing that someone might say. And again, I thought, What could that be about? And that maybe the idea was to turn it on its head and have a conversation between a man and a woman and what you'd expect to be the typical roles are reversed. So that was the idea of that.

— Joe Jackson, Songfacts, 2012[3]

Taken from the Gold-certified 1979 album I'm the Man, "It's Different for Girls" was Joe Jackson's biggest UK chart single, peaking at #5 in the UK Singles Chart and #101 in Billboard.[4] The song was backed with another track from I'm the Man, "Friday," in Britain, but in America, a live cover of the Chuck Berry song "Come On" was used instead.

Other appearances[edit]

Apart from appearing as a single and on the album I'm the Man, "It's Different for Girls" has also appeared on other Joe Jackson albums. A live version appeared on Live 1980/86 in 1987, having been recorded on Jackson's Big World tour in 1986. A different live version appeared on the 2000 album Summer in the City: Live in New York. During the Laughter and Lust tour, it was performed as a duet with Joy Askew. The original version of the song was also included on Jackson's 1990 compilation Stepping Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson and again on the 1997 compilation This Is It! (The A&M Years 1979–1989). "Come On" was released as a bonus track on the 2001 reissue of I'm the Man - prior to this it had only been available on Propaganda, a 1979 A&M records sampler notable for live tracks from Joe Jackson and The Police.


The song opens with a simple repeated two-note pattern on guitar which is quickly joined by a pulse on bass and drums. The verses remain quiet, with these instruments and the singer's voice being the main components. A bridge leading from the verse to the chorus changes the dynamic with its strident two beats on the lyrics "she said", before returning to a quieter (though not as quiet as the verse) chorus, which is driven by a guitar motif and slow arpeggiated guitar pattern, over which the voice floats in a more complex melody before returning to the original two-note guitar and bass pulse of the introduction.

Unlike many of Jackson's later songs, he plays no instruments, keyboards being absent from the track.


  • Joe Jackson – vocals
  • Gary Sanford – guitar
  • Graham Maby – bass, vocals
  • David Houghton – drums, vocals


Chart (1979) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 85
Irish Singles Chart[6] 4
UK Singles Chart[7] 5
Billboard Hot 100 101

Cover versions[edit]

Siskin version[edit]

"It's Different for Girls"
Single by Siskin
from the album Siskin
ReleasedDecember 2008
FormatCD, digital download
LabelSiskin Music
Songwriter(s)Joe Jackson
Producer(s)Stephen Lironi
Siskin singles chronology
"It's Different for Girls"
"Find a Better Life"

"It's Different for Girls" was covered by English duo Siskin, as their debut single in 2008. It is the group's only cover version to date.


  • Galen Ayers - guitar, vocals
  • Kirsty Newton - keyboards, bass, vocals

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ "top 100 songs of all time". FreakyTrigger. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  2. ^ Runtagh, Jordan. "Joe Jackson on His New Album and 40 Years of Following His Muse: 'I Have a Horror of Being Trendy'". People. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. ^ MacIntosh, Dan. "Joe Jackson interview".
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 274. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 151. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Screen shot of search results for 'Joe Jackson'". Fireball Media. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Official Charts > Joe Jackson". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 4 December 2015.

External links[edit]