Tuesday Tunes 123: Money

©️ The i newspaper

For those of you who might not recognise the guy in the cartoon, he is Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK’s new quasi-Chancellor of the Exchequer, who on Friday delivered what he called a ‘fiscal event’ – in other words, a kind of mini-budget, in the same way that parties in No.10 were known as ‘work events.’ It seems that our government is now working by means of ‘events’: I can’t wait for the ‘oh shit we’ve been voted out event’ to happen. Commentators far more knowledgable than I about economic matters have been queuing up to slam this mini-budget, sorry, farcical event, as being only of benefit to the highest earners in the country, whilst taking a ‘sod you’ approach to the rest of us, and because of its reliance on massive amounts of government borrowing that in all likelihood will tank our economy. Thanks be that we only have to endure two more years of this rabble. Then again, our electorate can’t be trusted to make sensible decisions, can it! But with all of the media interest over the past few days it reminded me that I hadn’t ever chosen this as a theme for this series, so I’m doing it now: this week’s theme is money. I’m taking my usual route, in that some of these will be very familiar to you but at least three of them probably won’t. Welcome to my world!

Several of these selections are, to my mind, fairly obvious choices. So let’s start with one of those, shall we:

Money For Nothing was a track on Dire Straits’ fifth album, Brothers In Arms – yes, that one! This was released in May 1985 and has become one of the most successful albums of all time: it spent 14 weeks at #1 in the UK Albums chart, 9 weeks in the US, and 34 weeks in Australia. Wikipedia’s listings show an unbroken line of #1 for every country they cover, and its sales have been phenomenal: 9m in the US, 4.3m in the UK, over 1m in each of Australia, Canada and France, and more than 30m world-wide. Five of its nine tracks were released as singles, all of them making the UK singles chart. This was the second, in June 1985, and it got to #1 in the US and Canada, and #4 in the UK. The intro vocals and some of the back up were provided by the distinctive voice of Sting, who performed with the band during their appearance at Live Aid in 1985. The video was also the first to be played on MTV Europe at its launch in 1987. Overall, a pretty good track record!

While I’m in the mood to give you something obvious, here’s another:

ABBA released Money Money Money on their fourth album, Arrival, in October 1976. It reached #1 in the UK, Australia, their native Sweden and several other countries but, in keeping with their chart performances over there, only got to #20 in the US. It didn’t do badly for US sales though: over 500k, compared with 1.7m in the UK. This was the second single from the album, in November 1976, and it reached #3 in the UK but only #56 in the US. Something of a flop by their standards? Hardly – it was #1 in several countries, and sold more than 3m copies worldwide in addition to the album’s sales. Regular readers might be surprised to see me venturing into the pop charts like this, but ABBA were difficult to ignore: their records were insanely catchy, and they featured two of the most beautiful women ever to be in a pop group, so what’s not to like? Mind you, with all the money money money they made you’d think they could have afforded not to dress in their pyjamas for that video, wouldn’t you?

There are several AC/DC songs which include the word money in their title, so they were always going to be a likely choice for me. But which one? I decided to go for one of the lesser known and, to stretch things a little further, I’m playing a cover version of it:

Steve ‘n’ Seagulls are a kind of bluegrass band – they call it ‘newgrass’ – from the hotbed of that style of music, er, Finland. They have made many covers of AC/DC songs, with some funny videos. By their standards this one is a little more restrained, but it still includes some nice touches: the door handle breaking off, for example, and the driver tapping along on his steering wheel in time to the beat. They are a fun find on YouTube and I can recommend them if you enjoyed this one. They have to date released four albums which generally reflect their rustic background in their titles: Farm Machine, Brothers In Farms (brilliant!), Grainsville and the most recent, Another Miracle, in 2020, from which this track comes. The original of Moneytalks was on AC/DC’s album The Razors Edge, released in September 1990, which reached #2 in the US and #4 in the UK. It got to #1 in Finland, though – I spy a connection! Their version was released as a single, making #36 in the UK and #23 in the US.

While I’m in bluegrass territory, how about another:

This is a fairly recent release, from an album called Jerry Jeff, released in May this year. The album is a tribute to Jerry Jeff Walker, a renowned US country and folk singer-songwriter, who died in October 2020. He is probably best known for having written the song Mr. Bojangles, which has been covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Bob Dylan, among others. Now including Steve Earle too, of course.

Back on what might be more familiar territory for many, now:

Readers of my vintage, and rock music fans of any age, probably won’t need reminding that Pink Floyd released Money on their album Dark Side Of The Moon in March 1973. The album is one of the best sellers ever, though it bears the dubious distinction of being the biggest in the UK, with over 4.5m copies, that failed to ever reach #1 here, though it has spent 544 weeks in our charts. It peaked at #2, but topped the charts in the US and many other countries, selling over 45m copies worldwide and leaving even Dire Straits trailing in their wake.

From one extreme of sales to the other now. The video clip cuts off the first second or two but at least it is in sync, which is more than can be said for the other copy I found:

This was the title track of Gerry Rafferty’s first solo album, as the video tells us. It was released in 1971 but did absolutely nothing in chart terms. I bought the album at that time and loved it – I still do. It was a critical success but Gerry had to await chart entries until he formed the band Stealers Wheel with Joe Egan (Stuck In The Middle With You), and then his solo success with the City To City album and the Baker Street single. I always felt this album deserved better: it is a little gem with some great songs, including the achingly beautiful Mary Skeffington, which I’ve played before. In case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t) I don’t know who the fiddle player in this performance is. A guy called Johnny Van Derrick was credited on the record, but as he was bald and would have been 45 at the time of this I don’t think that can be him. Whoever he is, he did a great job! Some of the song’s lyrics are still just as relevant today as they were over fifty years ago, especially the bit about politicians.

Today’s penultimate tune is another cover version. Rather a unique one, in fact:

This song was co-written by Berry Gordy and was first recorded by Barrett Strong. It became the first hit for Gordy’s Tamla Motown label, reaching #23 in the US in June 1960, ten months after it was first released. Among the many cover versions are those by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. And then there was this one. The Flying Lizards version of Money was released in July 1979 as a single and as a track on their debut album, The Flying Lizards (imaginative title). The album peaked at #60 in the UK and #99 in the US but this song became an unlikely hit here, getting to #5. It also made #50 in the US. They were known as an ‘experimental new wave’ band, and Wikipedia describes this track as ‘eccentric.’ I wouldn’t argue, but I’ve always rather liked it because of that weirdness. The vocalist on this was Deborah Evans-Stickland. She was been asked why she spoke the lyrics, and her response is a piece of classic simplicity: “singing is more difficult.” That first album includes their version of Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues, and it may come as no surprise to you that it was as odd as this! I can’t resist adding in a bonus video which is part of a 2015 BBC documentary – it is four minutes or so about their remake of the song, and includes that lovely piece of logic from Deborah:

Back on more familiar territory for today’s final offering. Again, this one may not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen my posts before:

I did actually play this one about five months ago in this series, but I like it so much I thought I’d give it another airing, and this is a great live performance – the drummer is fantastic, and just wait till Cyndi goes into orbit! Money Changes Everything was the opening track on Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, which was released in October 1983 and got to #4 in the US and #16 in the UK, though it did make #1 in Canada and Zimbabwe. The album has been hugely successful and has to date sold more than 6m copies in the US and 16m worldwide. I bought it at the time and have always liked it – the first side, in particular, is incredibly good. This was the fifth of the album’s six tracks to be released as a single, in December 1984. It reached #27 in the US but didn’t make the UK charts – I guess we’d all bought the album by then. Hopefully her royalties were enough to buy a matching pair of shoes, though.

That’s all for this week. I have several more possibilities for this theme, and I think it might still be relevant as a response to the news by this time next week, so who knows what I’ll be playing? I certainly don’t. Enjoy your week and, if you’re British, enjoy the spectacle of your government disappearing up its own fundament as a consequence of its own stupidity. Take care 😊🎶

Advertisement

51 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 123: Money

  1. There are some groups you know you shouldn’t like and end up toe-tapping and feeling good …ABBA,,,I think everyone should have music in their lives and it’s so diverse, something for everyone…
    Cyndi Lauper and Pink Floyd never disappoint I could listen to both for hours…I love Flying Lizards again thank you for the intro, Clive…xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: When September Ends | Take It Easy

  3. Ahhh! ABBA wins this time, hands down! Glad you shared them. The Money song always brings to mind a memory that will give you a laugh.
    My kids were like 10 and 12 and we were driving in the car and ainging to music. This song came on and we turned it up and sang. Life was good! Then I saw.flashing lights in my rearview mirror and my Money said goodbye in a painful way! 😳

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Part of the fun for me is thinking about songs that follow your theme before I dive into the post. I knew you liked Dire Straits, and that was the first song that popped into my head.

    This will be blasphemous to many, but I’ve never been a fan of Abba. I know that totally goes against the grain for most.

    Newgrass is a new term for me. I liked the beginning of the video with such an unlikely group of folks climbing into a limo. I liked the opening until he started singing.

    We’ve had this conversation before. You are much more of a bluegrass fan than I. The beauty of music is there’s something for everyone.

    Pink Floyd’s Money was the second song I thought of when I considered your theme. It’s a classic.

    I know we both like Gerry Rafferty, but I think I prefer other songs of his more.

    Of course, I’m familiar with the original, but I’ve never heard this cover by The Flying Lizards. Love that group name.

    I had forgotten about the Cyndi Lauper tune, but that was a good pick. Nice to hear that one again.

    I know you could have gone on and on since it’s a common theme. I wondered if you considered putting Eddie Money in there somewhere. I loved a lot of his music back in the day. I know he has since passed, but unfortunately, we saw him when he was just a shell of himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I managed to find some you hadn’t already guessed! I knew I’d be on a loser with you with the bluegrass ones but went with them anyway – as you say, there is something in music for everyone.

      ABBA never did as well over there as they did in Europe and Australia, so I guess you aren’t alone in that judgment.

      A pity on the Gerry Rafferty one too – it’s a lovely album but hardly anyone bought it. I’ve yet to meet the other person who did 😉

      The Flying Lizards were unusual to say the least. I couldn’t resist their version, though, as I’ve always liked it.

      Cyndi Lauper’s is a classic pop song, and I love that live performance- she throws everything at it.

      I may well do another of these as there are loads more possibilities. The way our government is going I could probably choose ‘clown’ as a theme too. I didn’t consider Eddie Money for one obvious reason: I’ve never heard of him. Having looked him up it seems I’m with the rest of the UK on that, as he has never had even the smallest of hits here. I’m glad you got to see him, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that has to be a first. We finally found something in music you weren’t familiar with. That’s one of the things you always do on your posts, reminding us of the classics while throwing in some we’ve never heard before. That’s how we expand our musical horizons. I’m now a fan of WOTE and First to Eleven because of you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure there is much out there with which I’m unfamiliar, Pete. Most chart music from the past twenty years, for example! I like mixing things up, and introducing readers to new acts is always a joy for me. Those are two good ones to pick up on. I’ll keep trying to find you more.

        On a side note, do you know if everything is alright with Jim? He hasn’t posted for a week and I haven’t seen him commenting on either mine or anyone else’s posts recently. I hope he he hasn’t been out keeping fit and injuring himself in the process again…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve noticed his absence too. When Jim returned, he said he would be dropping in and out, but then he started blogging every day for a few weeks. Like you, I’m always a bit concerned when someone (especially a great guy like him) goes AWOL for a time. Thanks for checking in.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Clive. I agree with you. The mini budget is a two fingered salute to non high earners.
    An appropriate theme indeed and I think we got our money’s worth! Some good fun videos! I hadn’t heard the Steve ‘n Seagulls one or the Gerry Rafferty song. Incidentally, the fiddle player looks very much like Dave Swarbrick (ex Fairport Convention and Martin Carthy accompanist.) I looked at photos of him in the mid 70s and I’m sure its him. I’m not a bluegrass fan but those two were very listenable. The Cyndi Lauper song shows her at her best live. … Those 80’s haircuts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Paul. It was a bit of a mixed bag but it was fun to compile, and I’m glad to have introduced you to some new ones.

      I’m really not convinced that is Swarbs, though. As far as I know he never played in Gerry’s band, and was full time in Fairport Convention in 1971 when this show was recorded. It looks a fair bit like him, I agree, but I’ve been a fan of FC since the beginning, saw them a couple of times in 72 and 74, and he doesn’t look totally like I remember. And it’s hard to tell from the video but I think that fiddler would have been reasonably tall if we’d seen him standing and Strawbs was about four foot nothing in high heels! An intriguing puzzle, though.

      I think that Cyndi Lauper performance is amazing, and you’re right about the hair!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One more thing – seeing Cyndi Lauper go into orbit in the can reminded me how edgy she was – I am not a fan of “pink” but was impressed with how she came down to the stage doing an aerial acrobatic kind of thing – Cyndi Lauper was so original

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! Even tho we all borrow ideas and morph things- she had a purity and originality that I see more and more was all her own
        I never was a huge Lauper fan but know her music – and so seeing some of her videos impressed me – her shaved head and bright/colored hair
        And mismatched Converse!
        Then of course her vocals and song beats and content –

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was a fan, and had several of her albums. She had her own style. If you can find it there is a clip on YouTube of her on the Graham Norton Show with Seth MacFarlane. Graham gets Seth to sing some of her songs in the voices of Family Guy characters. He has her in hysterics.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Trent
    Great topic and was pleased to see Pink Floyd’s iconic song made the list and good to start with dire straits – had no idea that Sting sang with them ((/!; I just heard an old police song on the radio and remembered folks who really loved that band in the 1980s – memory lane – and then remembered our celebrity sighting at the Bellagio hotel in Vegas in 2003- it was sting and he was so short (but don’t remember much more) –

    The abba song was new to me and the video was a cool flashback in time (like so many videos are) but the blue eyeshadow – classic convertible – and great vocals (and pajamas – lol) made me so glad this band recently received an award and wow they have been around for a while –

    The flying lizards was cool to learn about and the video with the bit of documentary was a great addition
    They did “get away with” using their unique appealing to deliver fresh and quirky
    🎶🎶

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Clive. I have long been worried about the fiscal stability of the UK since the Brexit vote. What had been happening was not a surprise, as the financial analysts predicted woes if it passed. Yet no one believed them. Now, Truss comes along with her Trickle Down Economics theory that has failed time and again as reported in five separate studies. (just think about it – you are giving more money to rich people and that is supposed to help me?) Just look at what happened in the last five years under Trickle Down in the state of Kansas. Best wishes my friend. Save your money. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Leave campaign won the referendum by convincing voters that realistic assessments of the financial damage that would be caused were just ‘Project Fear.’ It didn’t take even a half competent economist to work out the reality. The Tories have done untold damage to this country in their twelve years in power and it is getting rapidly worse.

      Like

  9. A great selection of songs Clive, not surprising there’s been so many popular songs on the fiscal theme over the years. Shame the governments can’t live up to the standards of the musicians who play so well.

    Liked by 2 people

Please leave a reply, I'd like to know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.