As I had quite a few songs left over from the list I created for last week I thought I’d share another set of money songs with you. Let’s face it, our government has continued to give me reason for this, having done a U-turn on their tax cut for the rich, whilst refusing a real terms increase in benefits for the poorest – and not ruling out a decrease. I imagine they call that being fair to everyone: I don’t. The many reports of dissatisfaction amongst Truss’ own troops piqued my curiosity, so I looked up the shortest time that anyone had spent as our Prime Minister in modern times, defined as being since the start of WW2. It may come as a surprise that Johnson ranks seventh on that list, at 3 years 44 days, though I suspect he may soon drop down to eighth. The current title holder is Sir Alec Douglas-Home, at 1 year and 1 day. Want to open a book on there being a new leader in that race of ignominy? I think we may be looking at an odds on favourite! Anyway, that’s enough politics for now, let’s get on with the music!
Two of this week’s selections sort of featured last week: one in a cover version of one of their songs, and the other in another version of one they had also covered. I’m opening up this week and clearing out the cobwebs with one of my favourite bands. Having given you a cover of one of theirs last week, this is the real thing:
I assume that you’re awake now, if you weren’t before? What Do You Do For Money Honey was a track on AC/DC’s seventh album, Back In Black, released in July 1980: their first record with Brian Johnson as vocalist after the death of Bon Scott in February 1980. It was a huge success, topping the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, France and Switzerland, and peaking at #4 in the US, where it went double diamond (25 times platinum) for sales. It is one of the biggest selling albums of all time, and has to date shifted more than 50m copies. Although there is an official video for this track it wasn’t released as a single, although it was the B-side to the single of Hells Bells (#7 in Australia) – I guess it was done to tie in with the world tour they undertook to promote the record. Judging by those sales figures that seems to have paid off rather well.
Next up is one from a band I’ve only played once before, which is a surprise to me as I liked them back in their heyday. This isn’t an official video but it is a decent quality recording of a live performance:
This was a track on the Steve Miller band’s ninth album, Fly Like An Eagle, which came out in May 1976 and peaked at #3 in the US and #11 in the UK. I bought the album at the time and played it a lot. There were three hit singles taken from it, of which Take The Money And Run was the first, released in April 1976 as a trailer for the album. It got to #11 in the US but only made it to #57 here in the UK: seems like we all waited for the album to come out!
This next one has to be an audio-only one, as this was just an album track. But as she has one of the most gorgeous voices I know it doesn’t really need pictures anyway:
Frazey Ford released Money Can’t Buy as a track on her most recent album, U Kin B The Sun, which came out in 2020. Wikipedia is very thin on information about her, which is probably due to the fact that she is on a small independent label and doesn’t appear to have had any real chart success. To my ears that is a real shame: a voice like hers deserves much better. I’ve played her before – a couple of versions of her wonderful song September Fields, which I used last year as the title for my September monthly review – and she was well received. I’m hoping for the same response this time!
I’m being a little self-indulgent now, as this next one is also an audio-only clip, but he is one of my all time favourite artists:
As you can see from that, Ry Cooder included his version of Money Honey on his album Into The Purple Valley: his second record, released in February 1972 and getting to #113 in the US. As far as I can tell this wasn’t released as a single. The song was written by Jesse Stone and was first recorded in 1953 by Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters: it got to #1 on the US R&B chart. The list of those who have also covered in contains some well-known names, such as Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, The Jackson 5, the Jerry Garcia Band (a Grateful Dead offshoot), Aaron Neville, and even the disgraced Gary Glitter had a stab at it. You can’t keep a good song down, can you.
I said at the outset that one of today’s bands had also recorded a version of one of last week’s songs. This is one of their own and, despite their fame, it was only an album track. But luckily there is a video of a lovely little solo performance by the guy who wrote it, complete with a funny story in his intro:
You probably don’t need reminding that The Beatles’ original version of You Never Give Me Your Money was on the Abbey Road album, part of that megamix of tracks that formed a large part of side two. I love this version though, for the seeming intimacy of Paul playing on his own as if he was doing a house concert, for the story he tells at the beginning, for the bit where he admits to forgetting the words, and for that lady in the audience who stands up with a finger raised – she really should have gone before she left home, I think.
This next one won’t be anything like as familiar to most – but that is one of the reasons I’m playing it, apart from the fact that I like the song and the band. There are a couple of live videos but they aren’t full band performances, so I’m going back to an audio-only one of the original:
Whiskey Myers are a southern rock/country band from Texas. To date they have released six albums and Little More Money was a track on the fifth of those, a self-titled effort from September 2019. They haven’t had much chart success outside the US but have done fairly well over there: this was their most successful album to date, getting to #6 in the main albums listing, whilst also making #1 in the country and indie charts, and #2 on the rock one. Country rock has always been good for me to listen to, and these guys are keeping that going. Their most recent album, Tornillo, came out in July of this year, and has so far got to #67 in the main US albums chart, to #10 in both the country and indie lists and #14 in the rock chart. It seems they might be reaching a wider audience, too, as that new album has got to #1 in the UK country chart and #6 in our indie ratings. I’m hoping for more from them.
I already had today’s penultimate song on my list, but when someone commented on it as a possibility following last week’s post I knew I had to include it. Even more so when I found this amazing live performance. If nothing else it wins my award for backing singers of the week:
Meat Loaf’s original recording of Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back) was on the album Bat Out Of Hell II, released in September 1993. This performance is from a live concert DVD, 3 Bats Live, from his Seize The Night tour in 2007, which received a gold disc for 25k sales in the UK. The two backing singers are Aspen Miller and Marion Raven. The original album topped the charts in the US, the UK, and in a further eight countries around the world. Compared with the first Bat Out Of Hell album, which has sold around 25m copies, this one was a more modest performer: just the 14m copies to date. Most bands would kill to have a second album with sales like that!
Those of you who know how big a fan I am of The Boss might have been wondering if I would ever get round to playing him for this theme. I’ve made it – it’s my last tune for today:
Bruce Springsteen recorded Pay Me My Money Down for his album of Pete Seeger covers, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, which was released in April 2006, reaching #3 in both the US and the UK. It was especially popular in Scandinavia, though, getting to #1 in both Norway and Sweden. It wasn’t his biggest seller, with total worldwide sales of around 1m, but it did win that year’s Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album – I guess when your country doesn’t have all that many years of history and tradition the definition is a little different from the one we use here! This also earned him praise from Seeger himself, who said he was honoured to have had this record made of his songs. But what stands out most for me is that this was a fun record, both for those who took part and for those who came to the live shows, as the video demonstrates. I bought the album when it first came out, and played it a lot in those days during car journeys to see my Mum, who was in a nursing home. She was still fully compos mentis though, and this always cheered me up on the trip down and again after I’d seen her. I must have made a strange sight bombing around the M25 and the M2 singing along at the top of my voice to these great songs!
That’s all for this week and, for now, for the money theme. I already know what next week’s theme will be, all I have to do now is pick some tunes for it. Come back and see what I choose! Until then, have a great week. I’ll be here again for Song Lyric Sunday and may pop in again before then. See you soon 😊🎶