There’s a lot of “money” in songs

After hearing me sing (of course singing is kind) a few lyrics to “Money,” by Pink Floyd, my daughter suggested a post on songs with “money” in the title. The song begins with a cash register ringing up sales, then proceeds with a well-known base guitar lick. Here are the first few lines:

“Money, get away
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay
Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash”

I think the most famous money song is by The O’Jays called “For the love of money.” It is based on the biblical verse from Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” The song starts with the words “Money, money, money, money…money,” Then they repeat it five more times before heading into the gist of the song. Here is a verse late in the song:

“I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds”

Another favorite is courtesy of Donna Summer. “She works hard for the money,” is a pulsating disco song that she is known for, but this one has more meaningful lyrics like this one:

“It’s a sacrifice working day to day
For little money just tips for pay
But it’s worth it all
To hear them say that they care”

Shifting gears to rock-n-roll, an early Dire Straits song poked fun at MTV with “Money for nothing.” Mark Knopfler was joined on this song with a haunting harmony from Sting. In essence, it is hard-working people wishing they were MTV singing stars as they lament without realizing the hard work and dues they had to pay:

“Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb.”

Two other songs about money are worth mentioning. AC/DC sang of money in “Money talks” and Notorious B.I.G. rapped on about “Mo money, mo problems.” The former speaks of how popular one is with money noting all the things they can buy, while the latter speaks to how that popularity causes more problems with folks coming out of the woodwork asking for some.

Let me close with a song which comes from the play and movie “Cabaret.” It is quite the comical farce and force in the play with a title similar to that of Pink Floyd’s, “Money.” Here is a sample:

“Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go ’round.”

Money is needed to provide a roof over our heads and feed and clothe our children. These songs look at its acquisition and power from a variety of views. From the documentary movie “I AM,” the key lesson is money cannot make you happy, but the absence of money can make you unhappy. That sums it up nicely.

19 thoughts on “There’s a lot of “money” in songs

  1. You, my friend, are a walking encyclopedia of music! Money surely causes an awful lot of problems when people confuse the words ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Given that it is essential to life, yet so often used for ill purposes, it’s no wonder, I suppose, that so many songs are written about money. I think Hollywood is the picture that shows that money does not buy happiness, for how many talented artists, actors, musicians with fame and fortune have turned to drugs & alcohol, and ultimately suicide? Doesn’t sound like much happiness to me. Good one, Keith!

    • Thanks Jill. To your point, the producer, director of “I AM” is a Hollywood director. He said when the doors closed behind him as he entered his new custom built house that was supposed to make him happy, he realized it did not.

  2. Note to Readers: A favorite song about money not equating with happiness is “Danny’s Song.” I did not include it above since money is not in the title. The chorus is ‘Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey….”

  3. Much food for thought there Keith, you inspired my brain to find in the untidy boxes of memory ‘I got plenty o’ nuthin”..and the line
    ‘Folks with plenty of plenty
    Keep a lock on the door
    ‘Fraid devil will steal it away
    While they’re out a makin’ more’
    Now here is a scary thought and I’m surprised ISIS have never thought of it. Walk up to the representative of a very wealthy financial company and say ‘Yes. But where is the convertible currency. Never mind what you say you have on paper (computer) that’s only talk. I want to see the hard cash, because I don’t believe you,’
    I know its economic heresy, but all the same….

    • Roger, you reminded me of what my Finance professor in college told us. He said if you did not know the answer to a question, it is written along the tops of the walls – it says “cash flow.”

      Cash is king. It is better that it not be in a mattress though. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: An omission due to space is Steve Miller’s “Take the money and run.” The song is more about two bored teenage lovers who robbed a house and shot the owner, than it is about the money they stole.

    Two other songs about money, but were not included since the word is not in the title are “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates and “Can’t buy me love,” by The Beatles. Both are excellent songs whose title clearly explain their intent.

  5. Dear Keith,

    Love and money make the world go around. I wish I were more motivated but I’m not. I have a house with no mortgage, a car that’s new and not owned by the bank, and enough monies to get by. I’m rich. Family, friends, adventures enrich life.

    Right now, as a person who has been in good health , i’m in a bit of a pickle. You are good at advising peoples to keep up their health.

    Your knowledge of music/ songs is amazing.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Thanks Gronda, you are a very rich woman. Your family and friends hold you dear. Good luck with your health. Take some walks along the shore for me, bring a good book and sit and enjoy the scene. Keith

  6. Doing most of my reading offline, it’s hard to save pages til I can comment; this one gave me such joy to read at the end of a very-long and discouraging day. Now THAT’S what life is about, if one can ‘up’ the quality of another’s day!

    May your weekend be a good one!

    • Thanks for reading and opining. Far be it from me to tell someone how to spend their money. Elvis was not the most prudent of spenders. Even The Beatles should have left the running of Apple Records to others as they spent more than they brought in. Keith

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