10 Best Songs About Money

Songs About Money

Feature Photo: Photography Stock Ruiz / Shutterstock.com

Our 10 Best Songs About Money looks at some of the best releases about cash, which some have described as a necessary evil. Before we delve into the best songs about money, let us answer this simple question; what comes to your mind when you hear the word money? Security, power, freedom, validation, prestige, and success may be. Everyone has their preconceived thought(s) about money, which forms the basis of the diverse message top songs about money try to communicate.

The conversation about money will never fade away! After all, everything we desire, will at some point need funding; and that’s where the money comes in. From the moment you wake up, it is all about money! The water you utilize, breakfast you take, clothes you wear, gas for your car, fast food you grab for lunch, that gym subscription, the expenses that await you all demand money. Just lucky we are that the air we breathe cost not a single dollar!

It all doesn’t end up in expenditures alone! Such conversations about money happen in the mind where everyone wishes that they had whatever amount of money to help them do this or that! However, others have already seen the big transformation and now praise money for everything they can do with their fortune. And don’t shy from thinking about the dark side of money since this is a huge and indispensable topic that most rarely talk about.

We can barely exhaust all our thoughts about money! Similarly, more songs about money will continue to be released each day. Popular songs about money have probably touched on relatable perspectives. Here are some of the musical gems that tell a thing or two about money.

# 10 – Free Money – Patti Smith 

We thought opening with this classic Patti Smith track, “Free Money,” was the perfect way to open a rock song list about money. This is such a fabulous song. The opening piano riff is so mesmerizing. It only gets more captivating the second the iconic voice of Patti Smith enters the track.  The song “Free Money” was written by Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye. It was released on Patti Smith’s 1975 album Horses. The album was released in 1975. Two years later, Sammy Hagar released a killer version of the song on his second solo album titled Sammy Hagar.

# 9 – Easy Money – Billy Joel

“Easy Money” by Billy Joel is featured on the album An Innocent Man (1983). Who hates getting easy money? After all, if it is clean money that won’t warrant an arrest, then why not? Many will buy that lottery ticket or visit the casino to try luck in taking home a fortune not worked “hard” for. This song was penned from the perspective of a gambler and was adopted as the theme song for the comedy film Easy Money. The song pays tribute to R&B pioneers Wilson Pickett and James Brown.

# 8 – If I Had $1,000,000 – Barenaked Ladies

What would you do with a million dollars? Back in the 1990s, when Barenaked Ladies released “If I Had $1,000,000,” that kind of money was huge (still huge even now). The song finds the Barenaked Ladies hinting at romantic intentions while mentioning all the things they could purchase. A car, a house, furniture, an exotic pet, and some nice piece of art are some of the things this Canadian musical group mentioned that a million dollars would help purchase. Among them all in their list that caught my eye was love. Can money buy love? This remains an apple of discord to date but probably “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles has an answer.

# 7 – You Never Give Me Your Money – The Beatles

“You Never Give Me Your Money” emerges as a poignant narrative, weaving together threads of personal strife and the bittersweet awareness of an impending end. Written by Paul McCartney during a reflective period in early 1969 amidst the turmoil of business disputes and internal discord, this piece stands as a testament to the complexities of relationships within the Beatles.

Set against the backdrop of McCartney’s recent nuptials and a respite in New York with Linda, the song’s genesis is rooted in a cocktail of professional anxieties and a yearning for escape. The specter of losing control over their musical legacy loomed large as business entities circled, and McCartney’s lyrics subtly echo this sentiment, painting a picture of disillusionment with a once-trusted ally. Lines like “One sweet dream, pack up the bags, get in the limousine” evoke a desire to flee the claustrophobic atmosphere that had enveloped the band, a nod both to personal retreats and a nostalgic glance at the whirlwind of their touring years.

Embarking on what they sensed might be their final studio endeavor, McCartney and George Martin envisioned a grand farewell through a medley that would encapsulate The Beatles’ unparalleled journey. “You Never Give Me Your Money” was the cornerstone of this ambitious medley, its structure a kaleidoscope of musical expressions—from the introspective piano ballad opening to the buoyant strains of boogie-woogie, and the serene yet somber guitar arpeggios that hint at a farewell.

#6 – Lawyers, Guns and Money – Warren Zevon

This is one of our favorite Warren Zevon songs of all time. Its powerful opening leads to some entertaining lyrics. How could you not love a song that opens with a line that states “I went home with the waitress, the way I always do. How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?”  The song was released on Warren Zevon’s brilliant album Excitable Boy. The album was released in 1978.

#5 – The Big Money – Rush

How could we leave this one off the list? We don’t need the Rush army coming after us. They are a pretty intense bunch. The track “The Big Money” was released on their 1985 album, Power Windows; this song takes listeners on a high-voltage journey through the complexities of global finance and the omnipotence of wealth. Neil Peart’s lyrics spotlighted the colossal influence of money and the vast expanse of commerce that defines the modern world.

#4 – Gimme Your Money Please – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Whenever we have the opportunity to place a Bachman-Turner Overdrive song on one of these topic lists, we will do it every time. The classic Bachman-Turner Overdrive song “Gimme Your Money Please” was released on the band’s debut album titled Bachman-Turner Overdrive. “Gimme Your Money Please” was the album’s opening track. Its hard-hitting rock feel is fueled by C.F. Turner’s gritty vocals, balanced with a bit of pop sensitivity that would become a significant part of the successful formula BTO would utilize for the rest of their career. 

# 3 –  Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

The British rock band Dire Straits barely knew that “Money for Nothing” would become their most successful hit ever. “Money for Nothing” came to be after the band’s songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler listened to the sentiments of a man who complained about artists who emerged in the ‘80s. The man felt that music made by these artists didn’t match riches they amassed. This guy might have seen what the future would become, having most of the artists in the industry currently releasing songs just to secure the bag (make money), as some critics have put across!

# 2- Moneytalks – AC/DC

AC/DC is one of the most successful bands of all time. Would the band members allow fame to get in their head? When the band released the hit “Moneytalks,” its members showed little regard to fortunes and expensive lifestyles. Don’t let the chorus fool you with its salute to money. Listen to the song’s verses, and you will see AC/DC take a dig at those who boast of their wealth. As if that was not enough, the band showed us how money could be a divisive thing. This song explains why the band stayed grounded even though it was one of the most successful acts in its primes. “Moneytalks” peaked at number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100.

# 1 – Money – Pink Floyd

How could this not be number one? When you think about rock songs with the word Money in the title, this is the first one that comes up in everybody’s mind. “Money” was released on Pink Floyds 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. Composed by Roger Waters, the song breaks conventional boundaries with its distinctive 7/4 time signature and an audacious blend of progressive rock, blues rock, and hard rock elements. Its opening on side two of the album marked a pivotal moment, further amplified when it became Pink Floyd’s first hit in the United States.

Central to “Money” is a tape loop of money-related sound effects, including the unmistakable ring of a cash register and the clinking of coins, meticulously timed to the beats to establish the song’s rhythm. Remember how you were blown away by how realistic it all sounded? This innovative approach not only sets the tempo but also embeds a thematic count-in that resonates throughout the track, reinforcing its critique of materialism and capitalism.

David Gilmour’s compelling guitar solos stand as some of the best he has ever done. A notable twenty-bar instrumental section punctuates the composition, featuring a blues-inflected tenor saxophone solo by Dick Parry.

Lyrically, “Money” delves into the ironies and criticisms surrounding the allure and power of money, reflecting Waters’ contemplations on socialism, capitalism, and the societal chase for material wealth. His introspective journey through the themes of economic desire and the ethical dilemmas posed by wealth accumulation brings a personal touch to the song, making it resonate on both personal and societal levels.

“Money” has enjoyed a lasting legacy, regularly featured in Pink Floyd’s performances and covered in solo tours by Gilmour and Waters. Its influence extends beyond its initial release, with both artists revisiting the track in re-recordings, demonstrating the song’s enduring relevance and impact.

Photo: Body Stock – Shutterstock

10 Best Songs About Money article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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