We’ll now continue with Part 2 of my list on the Top 12 Songs That Teach A Lesson About Money. For those of you that missed it, the list’s first 6 songs, along with the complete explanation of criteria and qualifications that enabled a song to qualify, can be found here in Part 1. With that, here is:
The Top 12 Songs That Teach A Lesson About Money (Part 2)
6. Lady Madonna (The Beatles)
Total Score: 170
Money Moral: It costs a significant chunk of change to support a family (Surprise!)
Lady Madonna, children at your feet
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet
Who find the money when you pay the rent
Did you think that money was heaven sent
Len: This song gets a perfect 100 on the message meter; it is an especially important message for young adults and teenagers. One thing I intend to do before my kids start dating is pull out our detailed budget data and show them just how much money they’re costing me every month. 🙂 Then I’m going to connect all the dots and remind them that they risk putting themselves woefully behind the financial 8-ball if they ever decide to forgo abstinence or, at least, fail to use birth control.
The Honeybee: Good luck with that…what makes you think our kids are going to listen? They don’t listen to us now! Good idea though.
Len: Let me just say that our kids’ inability to listen to authority comes from your side of the gene pool.
The Honeybee: So do their good looks.
Len: True. Moving on…
5. For the Love of Money (The O’Jays)
Total Score: 174
Money Moral: Some people will do anything for money
For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For that lean, mean, mean green
Len: Anybody that watches The Apprentice knows this tune and its classic truism: Money makes some people do very stupid things. By the way, Honeybee, don’t you think Donald Trump made the right call by going to a celebrity version of the show? In my opinion, this show was giving capitalism a bad name, constantly showcasing one group after another of egotistic small-business owners and freshly minted MBAs from Wharton or other prestigious schools who couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag. It really was getting tiring. With the new format, the celebrities play for charity and, ironically, their egos are usually in check as they seem to be aware of their entrepreneurial limitations. The real debate within Celebrity Apprentice is whether Omarosa is actually worthy of celebrity status. For the record, I’d have to say yes by default, if only because she never demonstrated that she had any real business acumen.
The Honeybee: Why is this song only #5? I guess I’ll have to continue on reading to find out.
Len: You ignored my question about the Apprentice…
The Honeybee: You’re very observant.
4. Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
Total Score: 175
Money Moral: I can’t definitively say, but those lyrics are so cryptic there has to be a money message in there somewhere
If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow,
Don’t be alarmed now
It’s just a spring clean for the May queen
Len: For those of us who grew up in the 70 and 80s, it is hard to argue that this song isn’t the greatest rock song of all time. What it’s trying to say exactly, I’m not so sure, but there is some mention of “…all that glitters is gold”, and some advice to people who come upon closed stores. I’ll bet if I lock myself in my bedroom, break out the old velvet posters from storage, turn on the blue light, and revisit some other old questionable rituals of mine, I may actually be able to regain some lost insight into the lyrics. In the mean time, I’ll also offer to leave the task of lyric decryption as an exercise for the student. Your thoughts?
The Honeybee: This is a stupid pick.
Len: I’m sorry I asked. I’ll give you that the pick is controversial.
The Honeybee: This is a stupid pick.
3. Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles)
Total Score: 177
Money Moral: Money can’t buy love
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
Len: Clearly, there is a conflict of opinion between John Lennon and Madonna on money’s ability to buy love. Lennon’s message gets higher marks than the Material Girl’s because there are no financial repercussions for those who follow his advice. And, yes, I know this is the fourth Beatles song on the list. But I can’t help it if the Beatles were especially good at writing well-crafted money songs that were both catchy and informative. Maybe one day the Jonas Brothers or Fall Out Boy will come up with pithy money songs of their own to knock one of these Beatles tunes off the list. (Insert your own punchline here.)
The Honeybee: I can’t believe some people truly believe that money can buy love. And can I say that the Jonas Brothers can’t sing? I hope our daughter doesn’t see this!
Len: Don’t worry. You obviously haven’t seen the traffic numbers for this blog. And you’re right, the JoBros are definitely lacking in the talent department. On the other hand, the next band on this list can never be accused of lacking technical chops…
2. The Big Money (Rush)
Total Score: 178
Money Moral: Money is the generator that makes the world go round
Big money goes around the world
Big money give and take
Big money done a power of good
Big money make mistakes
Big money got a heavy hand
Big money take control
Big money got a mean streak
Big money got no soul…
Len: An excellent summary from start to finish on the power of money and its global effects. But “Tom Sawyer” it isn’t; “The Big Money” is actually one of Rush’s weaker songs in their outstanding catalog, otherwise this could have been at the top of my list. Bonus points, though, for the absolutely intoxicating closing final minute of the song that showcases Alex Lifeson’s soaring guitar work over a series of thunderous off-center drum fills by the great Neil Peart.
The Honeybee: I have a question…where is Cyndi Lauper’s “Money Changes Everything?” It’s certainly better than your stupid pick at #4 for Stairway to Heaven. As for “The Big Money”…I’ll have to agree…I love Rush..best concert I’ve ever been to.
Len: I wonder if Geddy Lee can still hit those high notes? We need to catch them next time they’re in town.
The Honeybee: Definitely!
1. Lowdown (Boz Scaggs)
Total Score: 190
Money Moral: Running with the Joneses is a recipe for financial ruin
Nothing you cant handle, nothing you aint got
Put the money on the table and drive it off the lot
Got to have a Jones for this, Jones for that
Well this running with the Joneses, boy
Just aint where its at
Len: To me, this is the ultimate money song that teaches a lesson. In fact, I quoted this song in a post I wrote about the importance of distinguishing wants from needs last month. Scaggs’ excellent backing band was essentially the members of what would later become Toto. The music is infectious and the message it gives about money is extremely valuable to those who follow it: Financial freedom comes to those who choose to live within their means.
The Honeybee: Very good, honey…but again, how could you leave “Money Changes Everything” off the list?
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