“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know that it is.” – Oscar Wilde
Before I met my wife I was always fond of saying, “Money and sane women have eluded me my whole life.” But since the Rock Chick never laughed at that line, I stopped saying it. It got a little awkward. And let’s be honest I wasn’t the most solid citizen in the old days – I’m happy to own my part in the craziness…bygones. Anyway, having been happily wed for a long time, I guess I would now amend my original statement to “money has eluded me my whole life.” I mean, I’ve been lucky professionally, but big money has always seemed just out of my grasp. I guess it’s like Springsteen once sang, “Poor man wants to be rich, rich man wants to be king, and the king ain’t satisfied until he rules everything.” The more you get the more you seem to want. The reach always seems to exceed the grasp.
I read recently that to be in the top “1%” you would need to earn on average, $823k a year. That’s some big bucks. To be in the top 5% in terms of earnings, you’d need to average $283k a year, again big bucks. I know income distribution currently is as out of wack as it was during the “Gilded Age” in the late 1800s. Back in the Gilded Age, like five families controlled 80 percent of the wealth and the rest of us, based on pictures I’ve seen, all lived in the same tenement house battling over what was left. I realize there was real wage growth in those days but there was a lot of terrible poverty especially for immigrants and minorities. It was overall a pretty awful time. It would appear that certain elements in this country are trying to push us back to those days. What they forget, as they siphon off more money for the super rich, is that without a stable middle class, democracy almost always fails. As someone said to me recently, “It used to be you could work in a factory your whole life and if you didn’t join a country club, you’d have a nice retirement.” Do we even have factories any more?
It’s no coincidence that I’ve got money currently on my mind and today is Tax Day in the U.S. It’s typically April 15th, but since that fell on a weekend, U.S. taxpayers were given until today to pay their federal and state taxes. I’ve posted about Tax Day Blues and even included a playlist but today I’m thinking more about money in general. There’s a high likelihood as a member of the middle class I’m paying more tax than Elon Musk which seems a little backward to me. I guess I’m like that song by the Stereophonics, “Every Day I Think About Money.” When I was young, I didn’t have any money so I worried about it a lot. Then I had some money and I constantly thought about how to get more money. And that’s sort of been the mindset I’ve been stuck in since I was 30.
There was a time when I was happy just to have enough money for beer and vinyl albums. Maybe some extra cash to take a date to the movies. I’d work summer jobs – mowing lawns or building tennis courts which afforded me a fabulous tan – which was the goal in the summer – or I’d work as a bus boy or a dishwasher which afforded me a legendary case of acne. As a friend once said to me, “It’s summer, you drink beer with your friends.” I’ve already chronicled my old days as a working stiff when I posted a playlist in honor of Labor Day last year so I won’t beat that drum again. In many ways I was a much happier guy in those days. Of course I was living at my parents house. My friend Arkansas Joel always said he was happier when he was flipping burgers in high school. As life went on, there were bills, mortgages or rents to be paid and car payments to be made. Responsibility costs money. No wonder there are so many t-shirts that say “Not Adulting Today” out there.
While Oscar Wilde is right, money is important, I hated starting with such a cynical quote. I did find it funny. I wonder if we’re measuring success incorrectly in the world. We’re all so focused on money and materialism we don’t think about the other ways to measure success. Money really isn’t everything – although it certainly seems like it in today’s society. I’ve never been one of those “he who dies with the most toys wins” kind of guys. Having a great, strongly bonded family or great relationships with friends and colleagues is just as big a sign of success as a McMansion. Doing good in your community or doing good unto others has to be a measure? When I was in college I considered becoming a history professor. I was passionate about researching and writing and let’s face it I look good in a tweed sport coat with those leather elbows. But I talked to one of the history professors and he said, “There are probably more history majors driving cabs than teaching history.” I didn’t want to starve so I joined the large rank of traveling sales people. It worked out okay but I can’t describe it as a passion. The best parts of the job were the relationships I formed with the people I worked with and the mentoring I’ve done over the years in management. When I think about it through that prism – the relationships and impact I had on people’s lives – I actually think I might be more successful than I allow myself to think I am.
As I sat around thinking about money and my decision all those years ago to be a “happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender,” I started to think about all the great rock n roll songs about money – dough, cashish, coin, cabbage and my favorite scratch – and suddenly to snap out of it I started to build this playlist. As always tempo-wise it’s all over the place. We aim to put a song you haven’t heard in a while back in your ear or better yet, turn you on to something you haven’t heard. I usually recommend hitting “random” when you play these tracks. It works in order, but hey, variety is the spice of life… and apparently money is the honey. Here’s the playlist and you can find my comments on each tune below. And no, I didn’t include any versions of “Shake Your Money Maker,” because let’s face it… that song ain’t about money.
- Warren Zevon, “Lawyers, Guns and Money” – Always a go-to tune for me when there was trouble… or when “the shit has hit the fan.” Zevon needs to be in the Rock Hall this year…
- Prince, “Money Don’t Grow On Trees” – Prince had so many great tunes. This was in the vaults for a long time. Originally recorded for 1999. And apparently he stole the title from a phrase my father was fond of repeating when I was growing up.
- AC/DC, “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Around To Be A Millionaire)” – I’m stunned by how many songs AC/DC have about money. They truly have their “mind on my money and my money on my mind.” This song makes me smile.
- Ozzy Osbourne, “The Almighty Dollar” – Ozzy from the sadly overlooked gem Black Rain.
- Motley Crue, “Keep Your Eye On The Money” – Good advice from the Crue.
- Montrose, “Paper Money” – Montrose, Sammy Hagar’s first band, long before Van Hagar and Chickenfoot. With Ronnie Montrose on guitar.
- The Black Keys, “For The Love Of Money” – I like this song so much I stole the title for this post… from last year’s Dropout Boogie.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Millionaires Against Hunger” – I wish there were more millionaires against hunger… or better yet a lot less hunger. I think this started as a charity single… Hillel Slovak on the lead guitar.
- Dire Straits, “Money For Nothing” – Iconic track from 1985. I can remember being in the car when I heard this for the first time and Sting came over the speakers and sang, “I want my MTV…” Mind blown. The next thing I knew I was going 80… but that might just be how I drove back then.
- Tom Waits, “’til The Money Runs Out” – Things are always bad when the money runs out, as Mr. Waits reminds us here.
- Randy Newman, “It’s Money That Matters” – Sadly, if you deign to look at any social media these days this adage seems to be true.
- The Firm, “Money Can’t Buy” – I’ve always felt that the Firm were slightly under-achievers considering the pedigree of Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) and Jimmy Page (the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin) but that didn’t keep me from buying both their LPs.
- The Black Keys, “Money Maker” – The Keys are just so solid. Do they have a bad tune?
- Queen, “The Millionaire Waltz” – Only Freddie Mercury could get away with a song like this. Brian May’s guitar work is, as always, spectacular.
- AC/DC, “What You Do For Money Honey” – The most hateful track on here. Used to remind me of someone in the 90s but those thoughts have long disappeared into the ether.
- Alice Cooper, “Billion Dollar Babies” – I’d put Alice Cooper in their prime up against any band from the 70s.
- Van Morrison, “Blue Money” – I doubt when Van wrote this song that “blue money” was slang for $100 bills.
- Robert Plant, “All The Money In The World” – Plant’s late work is all fantastic and should be played at maximum volume whether it’s with Alison Krauss or just by himself.
- The Who, “Put The Money Down” – Great deep cut from Odds And Sods.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Easy Money” – I know Billy Joel has a song with the same title from An Innocent Man, but I despise that album.
- The Beatles, “Money (That’s What I Want)” – So many versions of this song out there, I had to go with the Beatles.
- Crosby & Nash, “Take The Money And Run” – Love these guys as a duo and a lot of their solo work.
- Bruce Springsteen, “The Price You Pay” – Often the price we pay isn’t in dollars.
- Bob Dylan & The Band, “Million Dollar Bash” – Dylan with his best backing group, The Band… recorded in the basement of the iconic house known as Big Pink.
- Bob Seger, “Ain’t Got No Money” – “but I sure gotta whole lotta love.” That pretty much describes me from ages 16 to 35.
- Aretha Franklin, “Money Won’t Change You” – The Queen spreading truth. They say money won’t change a man but it only amplifies what was there before. Food for thought.
- The Who, “Did You Steal My Money?” – From one of those albums that perhaps only I love.
- Don Henley, “If Dirt Were Dollars” – Great Henley deeper album cut.
- AC/DC, “Moneytalks” – “Money talks and bullshit walks…” I wonder if they were inspired by Spinal Tap.
- AC/DC, “Money Made” – AC/DC have so many tracks on this playlist, I just gave up and put 2 in a row. There is nothing more satisfying than getting that paycheck when you’ve earned it through some good ol’ fashion labor.
- Annie Lennox, “Money Can’t Buy It” – One of music’s greatest voices.
- Peter Frampton, “(I’ll Give You) Money” – Frampton’s heaviest riff? Great guitar work here.
- Beady Eye, “Millionaire” – One of the Rock Chick’s favs.
- AC/DC, “Down Payment Blues” – Bon Scott giving us a little darkness on one of my favorite AC/DC LPs, Powerage.
- B.B. King, “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” – I love the original but I almost went with B.B.’s version on Deuces Wild performed with the Stones. Mick and B.B. singing, with Keef and Ronnie Wood riffing… yummy. I do so love the blues.
- Scorpions, “Money And Fame” – What everybody wants but few work for…
- Bulletboys, “For The Love Of Money” – The Rock Chick turned me onto this 80s rocker.
- Black Crowes, “Downtown Money Waster” – Every thing about this tune is cool. And since I lived downtown most of my life, I can identify with the title character.
- The Beatles, “You Never Give Me Your Money” – From the second side medley on Abbey Road.
- Ray Charles, “Greenbacks” – Ray Charles singing about money is actually money!
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “30 Dollar Fine” – From the expanded/deluxe 50th anniversary edition of Deja Vu. Some times the Man makes you pay the fine.
- U2, “Silver And Gold (Live)” – This song is about so much more than money… I took any excuse I could to slip it onto a playlist.
- Dave Matthews Band, “Pay For What You Get” – DMB with some early career truth. If the price is too good to be true, turn and walk away.
- Van Halen, “Big Fat Money” – I’ve never had big or fat money but it sounds like fun.
- Spoon, “Rent I Pay” – The bill is always due, the wolf is always at the door.
- Randy Newman, “It’s Money That I Love” – This is true for quite a few people I know… sadly.
- Steve Miller Band, “Take The Money And Run” – Two thieves out on the road, running from the law. Ah, the 70s.
- Pink Floyd, “Money” – This iconic track is likely their most famous song. I’ve been listening to this a lot in the last few weeks as the band celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dark Side Of The Moon.
- Rickie Lee Jones, “Easy Money” – Also covered by Lowell George of Little Feat on his sole solo album.
- Rush, “The Big Money” – I knew a woman whose nickname was Big Money…
- Patti Smith, “Free Money” – Well I think we could all get on board for a little free money…
- The White Stripes, “Honey, We Can’t Afford To Look This Cheap” – Great little B-side from our friends the White Stripes. This track is from Icky Thump, but I’ve been listening to that new 20th anniversary edition of Elephant of late.
There you have it folks. If I missed a favorite song about money of yours, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll see that it gets added to our playlist.
For those of you bummed out about your tax bill today, I suggest turning this playlist up and pouring something brown and murky. For those of you getting a refund, my advice is well, turn this playlist up and pour something dark and murky. Isn’t that always my advice?
12 thoughts on “B&V Playlist: For The Love Of… Money”
Cool list Sir!
Check out Sammy Hagar Love Or Money from his Live 1980 record. Killer track
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Thank you! I will absolutely check that out. I always forget about that live album.
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..great post as always, two songs from way back when.
From one of the greatest debut albums of all time (especially when you take into account they were a bunch of 16 year old kids from Glasgow)
Gun – Money (Everybody loves her)
And from the exact opposite of the rock and roll spectrum
The pet shop boys – Opportunities (let’s make lots of money)
lots of mixes but I’d go for the Disco Ep..
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Mark, thanks so much for the feedback. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m unfamiliar with Gun, I’ll have to check them out. I added “Money (Everybody Loves Her)” and I really dig this song. I had forgotten all about “Opportunities.” I’ve always liked that one too!! Thanks and cheers!!
Maybe a few suggestions? Love or Money by Joni Mitchell from the fantastic live album Miles of Aisles. And Money Talks by JJ Cale. Great list Kenneth!
Great suggestions! I always love a live version of a song! Thank you Guy, as always!
..abba. Money, money, money?
…just me then..
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Thorough – nicely done! A couple others came to mind: “Low Budget” (The Kinks) and “Just Got Paid Today” (ZZ Top).
And in recognition of Tax Day, here’s a Will Rogers quote I find relatable:
“Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you do not know when it is through if you are a crook or a martyr.”
Outstanding song selections, that I’m frankly stunned I missed! And also an outstanding quote! Always delighted to hear from you my friend!
I just received the sad news that David Lindley passed away on March 3rd. He was one of the greatest guitar players of all time and played a pivotal role in Jackson Browne’s career. Time waits for no one, but this hurts.
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Guy, I was traveling this past weekend to points south and perhaps veered too much into the bourbon of B&V. But I’m back now! Yes, I saw that David Lindley had passed a while back. Sad news indeed. The man could play anything with strings. I have some bootlegs of early Jackson Browne when he would tour with just David Lindley and himself. They were so light hearted and joyful, joking with the crowd, singing folky rock songs. A true loss of a man who may have never got all the credit he deserved. Cheers!