"Top Five" songs about money


In the wake of the complete economic fallout in the U.S. and the subsequent government bailout of Wall Street, here are five songs about money, greed and materialism. Here’s to the fat cats that once toasted each other with glasses of champagne to these tunes – may they enjoy them as much when they’re crying in their beer.

“For the Love of Money”– The O’Jays
Best known recently as the theme song from “The Apprentice,” this classic is a statement about greed and those who are money-hungry, but could easily appear on the top-five funk songs of all time list. Lyrics like “Listen to me y’all, do things, do things, do bad things with it/You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it/Talk about cash money, money/Talk about cash money – dollar bills, y’all” say it all, but the otherworldly funkiness immortalizes it.

“Money” – Pink Floyd
This song is a staple of classic rock radio. The album on which it appears, “Dark Side of the Moon,” spent more than 1,500 weeks on the Billboard 200 and pop catalog charts. But what is funniest about the song, especially since it is owned seemingly by half of all U.S. citizens, is the fact that it seems to be a send-up of the greedy nature of Americans. The lyrics “Money, it’s a gas/Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash/New car, caviar, four star daydream/Think I’ll buy me a football team” serve to skewer the U.S. in a very obvious way.

“Take the Money and Run” – The Steve Miller Band
Another song that might be found on a “Time Life: Sounds of the ‘70s CD” or in heavy rotation on classic rock radio, this song really isn’t about greed or wealth per se. Rather, it is about what happens when two stoners have nothing better to do than shoot a man and rob him. But the chorus of “Go on, take the money and run” is undeniably appropriate for those CEOs who collected millions of dollars in bonuses on the way out the door of their failed companies on Wall Street.

“C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” – Wu Tang Clan
This song’s addictive beat and great sample will make it stick in your head about as much as the story being told. This song takes the greed angle head-on from an impoverished perspective by exploring the illicit ways that money is obtained to stay alive on the street and the lessons learned from being burned by bad decisions. Wu Tang Clan certainly wasn’t the first or last to explore this subject matter, but they did it the best.

“Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” – The Pet Shop Boys
It seems whenever greed is mentioned, the ‘80s are almost always cited. Having been recorded in the ‘80s, this song was likely interpreted by many as an ode to the materialistic nature of junk-bond yuppies talking on giant car phones in their Ferraris. However, Neil Tennant, one half of the British synth-pop duo, has said the song is actually a punch-line, and the greedy protagonists in the song are two losers who will never actually make any money.

Compiled by Jason Yurgartis.