Most of us have a love-hate relationship with money. We’d like to think it can’t buy the important things in life, like love and happiness.
But the truth is, money makes the world go round. It gets us what we want in every aspect of life, from necessities to social status and fame. It is a major motivating factor behind why we spend much of our adult lives working.
Money is also the motivation behind numerous songs. Rappers, rockers, soul singers, and pop stars all have opinions about it. If you want to know what they think, check out 23 of the best songs about money from every genre and generation.
1. “Money” By Pink Floyd
When we talk about songs with “money” in the title, pretty sure Pink Floyd comes to mind. Their 1973 track “Money” starts out with the sound of cash registers ringing and change jingling.
Like many Pink Floyd songs, “Money” is a social commentary on the power of money. It can buy you anything. The singer even contemplates buying himself a football team or a lear jet.
The singer also mentions how others are saying that money is the root of all evil. But it got him thinking about why your boss won’t give you money if you ask for a raise.
Related: Read our list of songs about greed here.
2. “Take The Money And Run” By Steve Miller Band
You have to give it to songwriters who are able to pen songs that contain memorable narratives. “Take the Money and Run” is a narrative song from Steve Miller Band’s album, Fly Like an Eagle.
The song follows the story of Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, teenage lovers whose boredom gets the better of them. With “nothin’ better to do,” they head down to El Paso. Billy Joe robs and shoots a man and Bobbie Sue runs away with the money.
Detective Billy Mack is hot on their tails, but soon the lovers reunite. The last thing we know is that the lovers are headed south and they’re still on the run.
3. “Money For Nothing” By Dire Straits
In our next song, we see one side of the rockstar lifestyle. “Money for Nothing” debuted to worldwide acclaim in 1985 on Dire Straits’ album Brothers in Arms. It was based on a conversation between two delivery men complaining about their jobs while watching MTV.
In the song, the narrator, a delivery guy, shares his opinions regarding the rock stars he sees on TV. He makes ignorant statements based on what he sees.
He thinks rock stars make “easy money for nothing.” Plus, they get “chicks for free.” And that what these rock stars do isn’t a job compared to them, who “install microwave ovens, Custom kitchen deliveries.”
4. “Money Money” By The Grateful Dead
Up next is the Grateful Dead‘s song with “money” in the lyrics. “Money, Money” will certainly raise a few eyebrows at how it depicts a woman. Here, the narrator finds himself doing anything to keep her happy.
Now this woman is a demanding girlfriend who requires a lot of luxuries to stick around. She gives him “the finance blues,” but he’s helpless to do anything but follow her whims, including robbing a bank and counterfeiting money to buy her anything and keep her in style.
It makes him doubt when people say that “the best things in life are free.” Because his woman surely won’t be around if he’s living an honest life.
5. “Money Honey” By Clyde McPhatter And The Drifters
In the lyrics, we find a man hard up for money, evading an angry landlord collecting rent. The latter says, “Money, honey, if you wanna get along with me.” And so the man calls his girlfriend, asking for money “if you wanna get along with me.”
He earns the ire of his woman, who breaks off with him that instant. And when he demands to know how another man can replace him, she tells him the same thing about money.
6. “Free Money” By Patti Smith
What would it be like to have free money? The possibilities are endless. Patti Smith‘s “Free Money” explores this idea.
According to Smith, she grew up sickly and poor. She wrote the song for her mom, who often dreamed of winning the lottery. Hence the line “find a ticket, win a lottery.”
The singer also shares with her listeners what she would do if there is free money. For her loved ones, she’ll buy everything they never had. She looks at having a lot of money as the solution to their troubles.
7. “Mo Money Mo Problem” By The Notorious B.I.G. Ft. Mase And Sean Combs
The song talks about the downside of money and fame. With fame comes wealth. But it doesn’t end there. It turns out that the more money we have, “the more problems we see.” It gets to the point that the rappers question what the people want from them.
They feel that friendships and relationships are no longer genuine, tainted by greedy ulterior motives. Money brings material goods and bragging rights. However, it also brings false alliances and unwanted attention.
8. “Did You Steal My Money” By The Who
Have you had the misfortune of being robbed? The Who‘s “Did You Steal my Money” is just about that. It was based on guitarist Pete Townshend’s experience when his money got stolen and he didn’t know who took it.
The song opens with the singer discovering his room is a mess and his belongings plundered. He wonders whether the person responsible turned him over and searched him while he was passed out drunk on the sofa.
Throughout the song, he poses questions such as “Did you steal it,” “Did you steal my money,” and Did you use me.” But the most important is, “Why’d I trust you.”
9. “B**** Better Have My Money” By Rihanna
From the Barbadian boss lady, Rihanna, comes “B**** Better Have My Money.” Unsurprisingly, she experienced being cheated of her own money by her accountant.
This song is about being no one’s fool, ready to cut any smooth talker down to size. It’s a song all of us like to play to give us the courage to demand our worth like Rihanna does in the song.
Perhaps we all need to adopt a “take-no-prisoners” attitude to get what we’re owed. To not be afraid to declare, “Pay me what you owe me.”
10. “She Works Hard For The Money” By Donna Summer
Because “She Works Hard for the Money” is a song for the working class, many can resonate with the message. It became popular and garnered Donna Summer a Grammy nomination and a long reign on multiple Billboard charts’ top 15 songs.
The inspiration behind the lyrics is Summer’s encounter with a blue-collar woman working at a restaurant. The woman was obviously exhausted, and Summer blurted out how she was working hard for the money.
In the lyrics, the singer says that it’s a sacrifice to work “for little money.” But the woman works hard, so she must be treated right.
11. “Money Money Money” By ABBA
If you say money is everything, the narrator in ABBA‘s “Money Money Money” will undoubtedly agree with you. The song comes from the Swedish pop group’s 1976 album Arrival.
“Money Money Money” follows a working-class woman who works hard to pay her bills. Despite her efforts, the money she makes isn’t enough to cover her expenses.
And so, she thinks that the solution to her money problems is bagging a wealthy man. With him in her life, she doesn’t need to work at all. Instead, she can just chill all day. and if that doesn’t work out, then maybe she can go to “Las Vegas or Monaco” and “win a fortune in a game” there.
12. “I Need A Dollar” By Aloe Blacc
Have you a dollar to spare? “I Need a Dollar” by American singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc is from the perspective of some who badly needs money.
In the first verse of the song, the singer is practically begging for help. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t done his share to better his financial state. In fact, he’d been working himself “down to the bone” but lost his job.
If you listen to the whole song, it’s clear that the singer is looking for a helping hand and not money per se. He feels alone in his desperation and sadness and considers drinking his sorrows away.
13. “All ‘Bout The Money” By Meja
Kids of the ’90s wouldn’t miss the song “All ‘Bout the Money” by Swedish singer-songwriter Meja. The song came from her 1998 album Seven Sisters.
In the lyrics, the singer tells us how people depend on money too much. You can do things that people with no money can’t. And that gives you power and an advantage. Sadly, people exploit it to deceive others.
The song furthers that sometimes it’s shameful to see what people do to get more money or what they do with it. It prompts the singer to lament, “this pretty world is getting out of hand.
14. “Moneytalks” By ACDC
From ACDC‘s 1990 album The Razors Edge, “Moneytalks” is one of the rock band’s biggest hits. But if you think the song celebrates money, you’re wrong.
The concept of “money talks” isn’t lost on most of us. It describes the flaunting of wealth from various perspectives. Particularly what you see from the rich who wear “tailored suits” and smoke “big cigars.”
Each verse describes a decadent life of privilege with a hint of disdain. The chorus, however, admonishes a gold-digging woman for offering the façade of love and companionship.
15. “Price Tag” By Jessie J
English singer Jessie J has her own contribution when it comes to songs about money. Her “Price Tag” came out in 2011 as one of the tracks in her album Who You Are.
At its core, the song makes a statement that money is not everything in our lives. Unfortunately, a lot of people become materialistic. They chase after fame, glamor, and wealth and forget what’s more important.
And so the singer implores the listeners to “stop for a minute” and realize that “it’s not about the money.” No need to put a price tag on everything.
16. “Vampire Money” By My Chemical Romance
Remember when Twilight came out? The movie had become a hit that viewers couldn’t wait to see the next movies in the franchise. But not My Chemical Romance. In fact, they wrote “Vampire Money” about it.
To give you a little background, the band was asked to write a song for the movie because of their connection to goth culture. They refused, disappointed with what goth culture has become. But that’s not to say Twilight was bad. It just wasn’t their preference.
At its core, “Vampire Money” is the band’s message that they’re not selling out in an industry that is all about selling out. They’re not about to get the money – no matter how much it is – from creating a song for a movie they don’t like.
17. “Rich Girl” By Gwen Stefani Ft. Eve
American singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani imagines what it would be like to “have all the money in the world” in “Rich Girl.” The track, a collaboration with rapper Eve, came from her 2004 album Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
“Rich Girl” is a remixed, hip-hop version of the song “If I Were a Rich Man” from the play Fiddler on the Roof. In fact, Stefani went to see the Broadway play as research while she was composing the song.
In “Rich Girl,” she expresses the same sentiment as the original song. That wealth isn’t just about money. However, she also acknowledges that no man could test or impress her if she were filthy rich.
18. “Money Talks” By Rick James
Funk and R&B singer Rick James released “Money Talks” on his 1982 album Throwin’ Down. The song shows us the influence money gives to whoever has it.
And it doesn’t matter what kind of influence money has. Whether it’s rich people or poor people, money can do so much. When someone eats or puts “shoes on their baby’s feet,” it’s the money talking. Or when taxes increase, it shows that money talks.
As you can see, the song is about the obstacles money places on people who deserve to have it. At the same time, the song shows what people would do to have money.
19. “Easy Money” By Billy Joel
Some people go for easy and fast ways to get money. You can learn from the narrator in Billy Joel‘s 1983 single, “Easy Money.”
The lyrics find a hopeless gambler looking for ways to get money – fast! And if there’s a chance or place where he can get it, you can find him there. Whether it’s in the tracks or anywhere there’s betting, he’ll take the chances.
He’d been working hard but it appears he hasn’t had much luck yet. By the end of the song, he’s still waiting for that time to hit the jackpot.
20. “You Never Give Me Your Money” By The Beatles
Perhaps the most beloved band in history is The Beatles. But even the best bands experience rocky roads in their career. Paul McCartney wrote “You Never Give Me Your Money” based on what the band was going through at that time.
In a way, the song signaled the beginning of the end for The Beatles. McCartney had taken over directing duties after the death of longtime manager Brian Epstein.
However, McCartney was in a constant battle over finances with his bandmates, who wanted their current manager to handle these matters. “You Never Give Me Your Money” is basically McCartney saying he didn’t have faith in that person.
21. “Money (That’s What I Want)” By Barrett Strong
Love and other intangible things are essential. And so is money, according to Barrett Strong‘s “Money (That’s What I Want).” This song mentions “money” in a way that shows us it’s the most important thing.
At least for the singer. So don’t bother telling him that the best things in life are free. He won’t have a need for that. Because what he needs and wants is money. Lots of it.
At some point, the song trivializes the good things in life, such as love. But the singer counters that love doesn’t pay the bills. Money does.
22. “Billionaire” By Travie McCoy Ft. Bruno Mars
“Money” appears nowhere in the song. But you know “Billionaire” is about it. This collab between American rapper Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars tackles one’s intense desire to be wealthy and what he would do if he was.
“Billionaire” talks about all the things the singers would buy and do if they have a lot of money. Fantasies include status-driven experiences like hanging out with equally rich personalities. They also want “a show like Oprah” and give away expensive cars.
The song also mentions pulling “an Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.” In other words, adopting “a bunch of babies.”
23. “Money Changes Everything” By Cyndi Lauper
Money is so powerful it can change a person. Just listen to Cyndi Lauper‘s “Money Changes Everything” and you’ll see what we mean.
The song cites two examples where money affects relationships. The first one is between lovers, where the woman breaks off with her lover after finding someone new. She tells him that they’ve never considered money at the beginning of their relationship.
Another example is between friends, where people promise to be your friends forever. But you discover that “everybody’s only looking out for themselves.”
Sadly, money makes people greedy, paranoid, and selfish. At least that’s what this song professes.
Summing Up Our List Of Money Songs
Just like many things, money has bad and good sides to it. That just depends on how you use it.
Love it or hate it, money is the driving force behind our modern-day survival and dreams of grandeur. It can buy us necessities and provide us with a comfortable life. But it can also lead to problems when we don’t know how to handle money.
We hope that money is the last thing people problematize. But in the meantime, we wish you enjoyed the compilation we presented today.