As Tax Filing Time approaches, it's worth looking back to see how money
or sometimes the lack of it have figured in song lyrics over the years.
In his highly descriptive ballad SUNNY AFTERNOON which charted for his band The Kinks in '66,
Ray Davies set the scene with the grim admission
'The taxman's taken all my dough'
while in TAXMAN on The Beatles' "Revolver" album that same year
George Harrison adopted the personage of an actual tax collector when he wrote
'Let me tell you how it will be/There's one for you, nineteen for me!'
Looking back to earlier times, a song which became a symbol of the depression era was
BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? (E.Y. Harburg/Jay Gorney) by Bing Crosby in 1932.
It was the same Mr. Crosby who also helped popularize two other money-related titles namely
I FOUND A MILLION DOLLAR BABY (In A Five And Ten Cent Store) (Harry Warren/Billy Rose/Mort Dixon)
and PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (Arthur Johnston/Johnny Burke). Additional cash-infused songs from the
‘30s era included Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart's TEN CENTS A DANCE and Harry Warren & Al Dubin's
WE'RE IN THE MONEY (aka The Gold Diggers' Song) which Ginger Rogers introduced in the
Warner Bros. musical "Gold Diggers Of 1933".
A short while later, another Warren/Dubin song
WITH PLENTY OF MONEY AND YOU,written for "Gold Diggers Of 1937", included the witticism
'Just a little filthy lucre buys a lot of things'!
In 1943, Benny Goodman & His Orchestra fronted by a young Peggy Lee had the nation gently swinging to
Joe McCoy's ballad WHY DON'T YOU DO RIGHT which contained the line
'Get out of here and get me some money too'.
Three years after that, it was left to The Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians
to deliver the ultimate musical warning in Alex Kramer & Joan Whitney's song
MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (Take It Away, Take It Away, Take It Away)!
Money continues to be prevalent in contemporary songs
but I'm concentrating in this bulletin on compositions from the 50's to the early 90's.
There are literally hundreds of songs in this category but here's a selective list which refer
to money and cold hard cash and in the cases of titles that don't specifically mention money,
I've included some relevant lyric examples.
Where certain songs have achieved multiple recorded versions, only one rendition is listed; for example, the various hit covers of Janie Bradford & Berry Gordy's MONEY (That's What I Want) are not shown, neither is
The New Seekers' 1971 version of Melanie's NICKEL SONG nor Simply Red's 1985 remake of the
Valentine Brothers' MONEY'S TOO TIGHT (To Mention).
ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT (Sam Cooke) by Sam Cooke (RCA:1963)
'I got some money 'cause I just got paid'
AS TEARS GOES BY (Mick Jagger/Keith Richard/Andrew Loog Oldham) by Marianne Faithfull (London: 1964)
'My riches can't buy everything'
BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) by The Beatles (Capitol: 1967)
'You keep all your money in a big brown bag'
BALLAD OF FORTY DOLLARS (Tom T. Hall) by Tom T. Hall (Mercury: 1968)
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES (Alice Cooper/Michael Bruce/Reggie Vinson) by Alice Cooper (Warner Bros: 1973)
BLUE MONEY (Van Morrison) by Van Morrison (Warner Bros: 1971)
BRASS IN POCKET (I'm Special) (Chrissie Hynde/James Honeyman-Scott) by The Pretenders (Sire: 1980
BUY FOR ME THE RAIN (Steve Noonan/Greg Copeland) by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (Liberty: 1967) '
A rainbow and a million pots of gold'
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) by The Beatles (Capitol: 1964)
"I don't care too much for money and money can't buy me love"
CHEAPER TO KEEP HER (Mack Rice) by Johnnie Taylor (Stax: 1973)
'You didn't pay but two dollars'
C'MON EVERYBODY (Eddie Cochran/Jerry Capehart) by Eddie Cochran (Liberty: 1958)
'I got some money in my jeans and I'm really gonna spend it right'
COME AND GET IT (Paul McCartney) by Badfinger (Apple: 1970)
'Will you walk away from a fool and his money?'
DON'T BET MONEY HONEY (Linda Scott) by Linda Scott (Canadian-American: 1961)
DON'T SAVE IT TOO LONG (The Money Song) (Richard Elliot) by Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends (Capitol: 1950)
DON'T PAY THE FERRYMAN (Chris DeBurgh) by Chris DeBurgh (A&M: 1983)
EASY M ONEY (Dave Peverett) by Foghat (Bearsville: 1978)
EVERY DAY I HAVE TO CRY SOME (Arthur Alexander) by Arthur Alexander (Buddah: 1975)
'She said she couldn't love me 'cause I didn't have no money'
FIRST I LOOK AT THE PURSE (Smokey Robinson/Robert Rogers) by The Contours (Gordy: 1965)
'That don't mean a thing to me/If you ain't got no money'
FREE YOUR MIND (Denzil Foster/Thomas McElvoy) by En Vogue (EastWest: 1992)
'Buy things with cash'
FRIDAY ON MY MIND (Harry Vanda/George Young) by The Easybeats (United Artists: 1967)
'Tonight I'll spend my bread, tonight'
THE GAMBLER (Don Schlitz) by Kenny Rogers (United Artists: 1978)
'You never count your money/While you're sittin' at the table'
GIMME YOUR MONEY PLEASE (C.F. Turner) by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (Mercury: 1973)
GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU (Rudy Clark) by George Harrison (Dark Horse: 1987)
'But it's gonna take money'
GREEN TAMBOURINE (Paul Leka/Shelley Pinz) by The Lemon Pipers (Buddah: 1967)
'Drop a dime before I walk away'
GREENBACK DOLLAR (Hoyt Axton/Ken Ramsey) by The Kingston Trio (Capitol: 1963) https://youtu.be/FAcdMGCgXBg
GREENBACKS (Renald Richard) by Ray Charles (Atlantic: 1957)
'There was Lincoln staring her dead in the eyes'
(I Need Some) MONEY (Berry Gordy/William Robinson) by The Miracles (End: 1958)
I WANNA BE RICH (Reggie Calloway/Vincent Calloway/Melvin Gentry/Belinda Lipscomb)
by Calloway (Solar: 1990)
'You see I want money, lots and lots of money'
I'LL BE DOGGONE (William Robinson/Warren Moore/Marvin Tarplin) by Marvin Gaye (Tamla: 1965)
'Blowing my money all over this town'
I'VE GOT FIVE DOLLARS AND IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT (Ted Daffan) by Faron Young (Capitol: 1956)
IF I DIDN'T HAVE A DIME (To Play The Jukebox) (Bert Berns/Phil Medley) by Gene Pitney (Musicor: 1962) https://youtu.be/cAR6kSbg8MU
IF YOU'VE GOT THE MONEY, I'VE GOT THE TIME (Lefty Frizzell/Jim Beck) by Lefty Frizzell (Columbia: 1950)
IT'S MONEY THAT MATTERS (Randy Newman) by Randy Newman (Reprise: 1988)
LOWDOWN (Boz Scaggs/David Paich) by Boz Scaggs (Columbia: 1976)
'Put your money on the table'
MAMA CAN'T BUY YOU LOVE (Leroy Bell/Casey James) by Elton John (MCA: 1979)
'Darling, all the joy money can bring'
MATERIAL GIRL (Peter Brown/Robert Rans) by Madonna (Sire: 1985)
'The boy with the cold hard cash'
ME AND THE I.R.S. (Don Scaife/Gladys Scaife/Ronny Scaife/Phil Thomas) by Johnny Paycheck (Epic: 1978)
'They take out the buck from a lot of folks'
MONEY (Gene McDaniels) by Gladys Knight & The Pips (Buddah: 1975)
MONEY (Roger Waters) by Pink Floyd (Harvest: 1973)
MONEY BACK GUARANTEE (Les Emmerson) by Five Man Electrical Band (Lion: 1972)
MONEY BLUES (If You Ain't Got No Money, I Ain't Got No Use For You) (Benny Carter/Link Wray) by
Camille Howard & Her Boy Friends (Specialty: 1951)
MONEY BURNS A HOLE IN MY POCKET (Jule Styne/Bob Hilliard) by Dean Martin (Capitol: 1954)
MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING (Thomas Gray) by Cyndi Lauper (Portrait: 1984)
MONEY FOR NOTHING (Mark Knopfler/Sting) by Dire Straits (Warner Bros: 1985)
MONEY GO ROUND (Paul Weller) by The Style Council (Polydor: 1983)
MONEY HONEY (Jesse Stone) by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters (Atlantic: 1953) https://youtu.be/GHaHePKVAIs
MONEY HONEY (Erik Faulkner/Stuart Wood) by The Bay City Rollers (Arista: 1976)
MONEY IN THE BANK (Mark D. Sanders/Bob DiPiero/John Jarrard) by John Anderson (BNA: 1993)
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY (Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus) by ABBA (Atlantic: 1977)
MONEY TALKS (William McCloud) by The Penguins (Dooto: 1958)
MONEY (That's What I Want) (Janie Bradford/Berry Gordy) by Barrett Strong (Anna: 1960) https://youtu.be/JPlXrWGIVyU
MONEY TO BURN (Johnny Nelms) by George Jones (Mercury: 1959)
MONEY WON'T CHANGE YOU (Part 1) (James Brown/Nat Jones) by
James Brown & The Famous Flames (King: 1966)
MONEY WON'T SAVE YOU (Jimmy Cliff) by Jimmy Cliff (Reprise: 1974)
MONEY'S TOO TIGHT (To Mention) (John Valentine/William Valentine)
by The Valentine Brothers (Bridge: 1982)
NICKEL SONG (Melanie Safka) by Melanie (Buddah: 1971)
NO MONEY DOWN (Chuck Berry) by Chuck Berry & His Combo (Chess: 1956)
NOT FOR LOVE OR MONEY (Gary Hodge) by Gary Hodge (Dolton: 1959)
OOH! MY SOUL (Richard Pennimann) by Little Richard (Specialty: 1958)
'Get up off that money'
OPPORTUNITIES (Let's Make Lots Of Money) (Chris Lowe/Neil Tennant) by Pet Shop Boys
(EMI America: 1986)
THE PAYBACK (James Brown/John Starks/Fred Wesley) by James Brown (Polydor: 1974)
'You took my money, you got my honey'
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS (Kenny Nolan) by Tavares (RCA: 1982)
'A nickel for a kiss'
PUT A QUARTER IN THE JUKEBOX (Buck Owens) by Buck Owens (Capitol: 1989)
RICH GIRL (Daryl Hall) by Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA: 1976)
A SATISFIED MIND (Jack Rhodes/Joe Hayes) by Bobby Hebb (Philips: 1966)
'If I had his money'
SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY (Michael Omartian/Donna Summer) by Donna Summer (Mercury: 1983)
SILAS STINGY (John Entwistle) by The Who (Decca: 1967)
'Money, money, money bags'
SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES (Jack Rhodes/Dick Reynolds) by The Springfields (Philips: 1962)
'But you think I should be happy/With your money and your name'
SUMMERTIME BLUES (Eddie Cochran/Jerry Capehart) by Eddie Cochran (Liberty: 1958)
'A-workin' all summer just to try to earn a dollar'
TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (Steve Miller) by The Steve Miller Band (Capitol: 1976)
THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne) by Frank Sinatra (Capitol: 1954)
TIJUANA JAIL (Denny Thompson) by The Kingston Trio (Capitol: 1959)
'Just five hundred dollars and they'll set us free'
TWISTIN' MATILDA (And The Channel) (Frank Guida) by Jimmy Soul (S.P.Q.R.: 1962) '
She take all me money and she move to Las Vegas'
TWO DOLLARS IN THE JUKEBOX (Eddie Rabbitt) by Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra: 1976)
VIVA LA MONEY (Allen Toussaint) by Allen Toussaint (Warner Bros: 1978)
YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY (Lennon/McCartney) by The Beatles (Apple: 1969)
YOUR CASH AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT TRASH (Charles Calhoun) by The Clovers (Atlantic: 1954)
"If you enjoyed this week's edition of The Door To Yesterday,
there's more where that came from!"
© Alan Warner, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alan Warner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
The Kink's official video for "Sunny Afternoon" released in the Summer of 1966.