Real Men (song)

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"Real Men"
Joe Jackson Real Men 1982 Single Cover.jpg
Single by Joe Jackson
from the album Night and Day
Released11 June 1982 (UK)[1]
Songwriter(s)Joe Jackson
Producer(s)Joe Jackson
David Kershenbaum
Joe Jackson singles chronology
"Jumpin' Jive"
"Real Men"
"Steppin' Out"

"Real Men" is a song by British singer-songwriter and musician Joe Jackson, released in 1982 as the lead single from his fifth studio album Night and Day. It was written by Jackson, and produced by Jackson and David Kershenbaum.[2] "Real Men" reached No. 89 in the UK and No. 6 in Australia.[3][4] A music video was filmed to promote the single, directed by Steve Barron.[5]

"Real Men" pointed obliquely to New York City's early 1980s gay culture.[6] Speaking to Billboard in 1982, Jackson said of the song: "It's a song about the age old battle of the sexes. I think your average male has had his masculinity and supremacy threatened to the point where he's not sure what it is he's supposed to do. Intelligent, forward thinking, in the sexual arena, is being done by women. It's all about the way stereotypes have reversed, turned upside down and become meaningless."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Kevin Wuench of Tampa Bay Times said of the song's lyrical message: ""Real Men" is not so much pro-gay song but more an open-ended song that asks the listener to make their own definition of what makes a real man".[8] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the song as "haunting" in a retrospective review of Night and Day. Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone commented: "The album's loveliest song, "Real Men," solemnly blends string chamber music with echoes of Phil Spector, as Jackson sorts out the contradiction between the traditional male role of warrior and today's macho gay culture."[9]

Track listing[edit]

7" single
  1. "Real Men" - 4:03
  2. "Chinatown" - 4:26
7" single (Spanish promo)
  1. "Real Men" - 4:03
12" single (The Real Men E.P., Dutch release)
  1. "Real Men" - 4:05
  2. "El Cancer" - 6:06
  3. "El Blanco" - 3:52
  4. "Un Otro Mundo" - 4:00

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Australia Singles Chart[4] 6
Belgium Singles Chart (V)[10] 25
Dutch Singles Chart[11] 17
New Zealand Singles Chart[12] 48
UK Singles Chart[3] 89


  • Joe Jackson - producer, mixing
  • David Kershenbaum - producer, mixing
  • Michael Ewasko - engineer
  • Gary Green - photography


  1. ^ "Joe Jackson - Real Men / Chinatown - A&M - UK - AMS 8231". 45cat. 1982-06-18. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  2. ^ AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Night and Day - Joe Jackson | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  3. ^ a b "JOE JACKSON | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ "Joe Jackson - Real Men (1982)". IMVDb. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  6. ^ "NPR Weekend Edition Sunday: Gay Pop Music", 22 June 2003
  7. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". 1982-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  8. ^ "What is 'Real Men' about? Joe Jackson leaves that up to you". 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  9. ^ (Posted: Aug 16, 1982) (1982-08-16). "Joe Jackson: Night And Day : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  10. ^ "Joe Jackson - Real Men". Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Joe Jackson - Real Men". Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. " - Joe Jackson - Real Men". Retrieved 2018-07-04.

External links[edit]