Origin of "It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it"

Who first started using this phrase?

Well, if prostitution is indeed the world’s oldest profession, I surmise an overworked pimp of A. Afarensis.

A little voice in my head is telling me that it’s from Dirty Harry, but I don’t trust it.

Mike Paton of the band Faith no More was the first person ever to utter this phrase. FACT!

I doubt it, Pantera used it in one of their oldschool songs. I think they are older than FNM

My gut says: “John Wayne movie.”

It should be noted that my gut is largely dedicated to the production of crap, though.

You know, I just finished The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond, and he discussed sexual habits, but he never mentioned a thing about prostitution. I wonder if there’s some site waiting to be investigated, with a female Neanderthal skeleton surrounded by beads and ornaments she earned from working . . .

It takes literally seconds to Google Faith No More and Pantera.

Had you have taken the time, you would have learned that Faith No More released “We Care A Lot” in 1985. Further Googling would have revealed that Pantera made their first release, “Cowboys From Hell”, in 1990.

As to who first uttered the phrase? No idea, but I bet it was before either 1985 or 1990.

It may be that it’s just been around as a common phrase, without anyone having first “said” it.

Consider, for instance, this from Charles Dickens in Tale of Two Cities (about Barsad the spy):

Different words, but basically the same thought in the same form.

Dude, Pantera released albums starting in 1984. Cowboys from hell was their first major record. I think it was their 4th.

So much for Google.

Can’t find the origin in a quick online search, but must say my memory goes back way before 1985 and I am not aware of any time I did not know of this phraise.

Same here, and I was born in 1961. I suspect it is as charizard suggested: this is an idea that goes way, way back, and no specific origin could be found. For those intent on searching this, remember obvious variations like “…but someone has to do it.”

That came from the Pantera.com website, not Google.

Pantera had released independent labels as early as 1983 with differing line-ups.

Faith No More had been around for a couple of years before they released “We Care A Lot” in 1985 (Courtney Love was one of their early singers before they released a major label).

Whether either one uttered the phrase in question is still up to speculation.

All of this information was obtained via Google, took about 2 minutes this time.

I specifically remember using it (or something very similar) in 1977, and it was a standard phrase then.

It’s a Mod mantra.

I found it in an episode of Mary Tyler Moore in 1977. So, as Colibri said, it goes back at least that far.

How about this quote from 1957’s Sweet Smell of Success?

Steve: It’s a dirty job, but I pay clean money for it.

Ahh, back when he was ‘Diamond’ Darrel instead of ‘Dimebag’ and they were a glam rock band.

I was a big Pantera fan when I was younger, but their glam days were disgusting.

Somewhere around 1977, I saw a guy with a T-shirt that said: “Oral Sex: It’s a dark and dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it” so the phrase must have already been old by then. I remember the shirt distinctly because I was young and rather scandalized by it.

The confluence of cites/recollections from the late 1970s is interesting. I might also say that my impression is that it had not become a widespread catchphrase too much before that (perhaps 5 years or less) because 1977 is the first time I clearly remember it being used. I do not recollect it being a stock phrase in the 1950s or 1960s.