Got a Job

Album: Greatest Hits from the Beginning (1958)

Songfacts®:

  • This was the first single by The Miracles, who were then a five-member group that included Smokey Robinson's bride-to-be, Claudette. Released on New York's End label, the song got a lot of Detroit airplay and a little elsewhere.
  • The song was an answer record to the Silhouettes' #1 hit "Get A Job." When he heard it, Robinson wrote "Got a Job" with the idea that songwriting would be his job.

    Answer records are records which are replies to hits. Famous examples include:

    Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God who Made Honky Tonk Angels," replying to Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life."

    Jody Miller's "Queen of the House," replying to Roger Miller's "King Of The Road."

    Thelma Carpenter's "Yes I'm Lonesome Tonight," replying to Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight."

    The Temptations' "My Girl," replying to Mary Wells' "My Guy." (both songs also written by Smokey Robinson)

    Carla Thomas' "I'll Bring it Home To You," replying to Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me."

    And uniquely Fergal Sharkey's "You Little Thief," replying to his own "A Good Heart." ("You Little Thief" was written by Benmont Tench about his relationship with Maria McKee who had written "A Good Heart," based on Tench.)
  • This was penned by the then-teenage partnership of Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. Berry Gordy's first major professional achievement was writing a series of hits for Jackie Wilson, beginning with "Reet Petite" in 1957. Soon afterwards he began producing records teaming up with aspiring singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson of The Miracles. Smokey recalled to Mojo magazine January 2014: "On 'Got a Job,' he really just loved it and when Berry likes something he gets very excited about it. He and I went to the piano and worked out chord progressions and some of the lyrical content."

    Motown Records didn't exist yet, so this song was recorded at United Sound studios in Detroit and released on the label End Records.
  • A comedic song, "Got a Job" tells the story of a down-on-his-luck job seeker who finds employment (in a grocery store) but hates it. He sticks with it, but is miserable.

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