Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Album: Look Sharp! (1979)
Charted: 13 21


  • A minimalist New Wave song recorded with his band, "Is She Really Going Out With Him" was Joe Jackson's amusing commentary on hot girls hooking up with butt-ugly dudes. Jackson makes this clear in the marvelous opening line, "Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street." In a Songfacts interview with Joe Jackson, he explained that the song was written with a humor that was lost on some listeners. Said Jackson: "That is just one of those songs that started with the title. I heard that phrase somewhere and I thought that could be a kind of funny song about gorgeous girls going out with monsters. It just started from there. It was just a funny song, or supposed to be funny. It was a great surprise to me when some people interpreted it as being angry."
  • Jackson was not the first to ask this musical question. The 1964 Shangri-Las hit "Leader of the Pack" opens with some dialog:

    Is she really going out with him?
    Well, there she is, let's ask her.
    Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?

    In 1976, the UK punk band The Damned lifted this line to open their first single, "New Rose."
  • Other artists to record this song include Sugar Ray, Goldfinger and Kid Courageous.

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 22nd 1979 Joe Jackson performed "Is She Really Going Out With Him" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Six months earlier on June 3rd it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on August 12th it peaked at 21 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #9 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
    Was track three of his debut album, 'Look Sharp!', the album peaked at #20 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    The song was featured in the 1998 movie 'There's Something About Mary'...
    Mr. Jackson, born David Ian Jackson, celebrated his 59th birthday four months ago on August 11th.
  • Dave from Easton, PaOh! That bass line!! I was 15 when this song came out, and it spoke to me.
  • Landon from Winchester, OhThis is brilliant! This is proof that the 70's will never get old!
  • Johnnys Cousin Steve from Villas, NjClever, fun, great riff and a part for all the drunk people to yell! Awesome tune!
  • Sabo Romo from D.f.,There's an a capella version in his first A&M live album: Live 1980/86. And is, probably, the most auto-covered song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Song CitiesMusic Quiz

Nirvana, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen are among those who wrote songs with cities that show up in this quiz.

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.