Seven classic songs about money

Published by Laura Whitcombe on 17 April 2014.
Last updated on 17 April 2014


As we all start to wind down for the Easter break, here are a few of our favourites you might care to listen to this weekend.

1. If I were a rich girl - Gwen Stefani

This hugely catchy take on  "If I was a rich man" from the musical Fiddler on the Roof, gets underway with a classic opening line: "If I was rich girl, na na, na na, na na, na na na na, na na, na na na."

However, Gwen gets to the Girl Power substance in the rest of the verse, where she longs to be financially independent from a man:
"No man could test me, impress me, my cash flow would never ever end;
'Cause I'd have all the money in the world if I was a wealthy girl."

2. Can't buy me love - The Beatles

"Say you don't need no diamond ring and I'll be satisfied," could have been lyrics penned by my husband but sadly he didn't have the luck of Paul McCartney (before he met Heather, anyway).

That said, I can reply in the affirmative to this lyric, "Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy", even though I do have a little bling on my left hand.

"I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love," is a lovely sentiment and of course it's right - but money can buy lots of little things that lift the spirit every now and then!

3. Independent Women - Destiny's Child

Ok, ok, call me a hypocrite but I love this track too. As a professional writer, it pains me to type the obscene grammar that is about to follow, but I guess sometimes artistic license has to be overlooked:

"The shoes on my feet, I've bought it. The clothes I'm wearing, I've bought it…
The house I live in, I've bought it. The car I'm driving, I've bought it."

Altogether now: "Coz' I depend on me."

4. Who wants to be a millionaire - performed by Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm in the classic movie High Society

"Who wants to be a millionaire?" I do – as if that wasn't obvious by now. But actually I'm a romantic at heart and I have to agree that just like Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm who repeatedly pledge throughout the song that, far from the trappings of wealth, all they desire is their true love – that reminds me of the great tune from the movie!

5. Money's too tight to mention - Simply Red

After dreams/frets of too much money, we're back to not enough:

"We're talk-in' a-bout mon-ey mon-ey, we're talk-in' a-bout mon-ey mon-ey."

Even though it may have been a little ironic for the flame-haired, multi-million pound popstar singing about being skint, there's no denying it was a great tune, and struck a chord with the three million unemployed people when it was released in 1985.

"I been laid off from work, my rent is due, my kids all need brand new shoes;
"So I went to the bank, to see what they could do, they said son – looks like bad luck got-a hold on you."

Whatever happened to Simply Red?

6. Price Tag - Jessie J

While this may be a song about the commercialisation of the music industry, it has a warm and cuddly message for the world.

"It's not about the money, money, money,
We don't need your money, money, money,
We just wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag."

And if you were in any doubt, she recaps:

"Ain't about the (uh) cha-ching cha-ching
Ain't about the (yeah) ba-bling ba-bling
Wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag."

7. And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) - from Evita

It's back to musicals for this one and it has a message that scandal-prone banks should easily recognise.

"When the money keeps rolling in you don't ask how. Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now."

In this particular case, the scandal in question refers to former Argentinian first lady Eva Perón's foundation. It was a not-for-profit organisation that helped the poor but allegedly secured its donations by dubious means.

All that aside, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice's song from their musical Evita is clever, witty and brilliant to sing along to.

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