Some critics and listeners compared one of The Offspring’s songs to The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. The Offspring’s attorney then discussed the alleged resemblance. Notably, the two songs charted very differently in the United States.
According to a 1999 MTV News article, The Offspring’s Dexter Holland spoke about his fascination with reality shows. “I admit I have a morbid curiosity about where these shows draw me,” he said. “It’s like watching a car crash or something.” He said reality TV inspired “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”
“‘Why don’t you get a job?’ is [one] from those songs where the stripper shows up Jerry Springer and her boyfriend doesn’t work and he just stays at home and smokes pot and she needs to support him and she’s here to tell him she’s going to kick him to the curb,” he said. Holland wanted “Why don’t you get a job?” sound like a campfire song.
Some music critics and Beatles fans thought, “Why don’t you get a job?” was a lot like the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Descendants’ attorney Howard E. King discussed the controversy. “Speculation aside, no one has filed or threatened a lawsuit in this matter,” he said.
In a 1999 Los Angeles Times article, copyright attorney M. Fletcher Reynolds discussed the perceived similarity. “The music tends to swap in with the familiar and the successful, so there are things that sound very different,” Reynolds said. “Originality is great to a point, but [pop music] must be in a stylistic context. When you play something totally original on the radio, who wants to hear it?”
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” became a minor hit for the Beatles. It peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for seven weeks. The melody appeared The White Albumwhich topped the Billboard 200 for nine of its 215 weeks on the chart.
“Why don’t you take a job?” was also a minor hit. The tune peaked at number 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 15 weeks on the chart. The track appeared on The Offspring’s album Americanwhich peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 67 weeks. American charted higher than any of the band’s other albums, although it didn’t last as long on the charts as smashed.
“Why don’t you take a job?” is one of The Offspring’s most famous songs, regardless of whether it sounds like the Beatles.