Dire Straits – “Money For Nothing” – 7″ Single

One of the most Iconic 80’s songs is Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” which was a staple on MTV as the song was about MTV. The song was the second single off their smash album ‘Brothers in Arm’. The song was released on June 24, 1985 and went all the way to #1 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won Dire Straits a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. It features fellow 80’s icon, Sting, on the background vocals singing the famous line “I Want My MTV”. On a fun note, the song was the first video played on MTV Europe which aired on August 1, 1987.

The song was inspired by a visit to the appliance store by Mark Knopfler. He saw they had a wall of TV’s all on one station, MTV! Standing next to him was an employee and Mark says he actually said some of the lyrics. Mark apparently borrowed a sheet of paper and started writing the lyrics right there in the store. As a result, the song is about an appliance worker bitching about the guys on MTV and how easy they got it. He does real work, they don’t.

My copy is a standard U.S. version with what is called the Long Edit version of “Money For Nothing” which I find humorous as the Album version is over 8 minutes, yet the long edit version is 4:38. So why is it the long edit version, but the single edit version is 4:06. Okay then. The B-Side is the live version of the song “Love Over Gold”. I like the back of the single jacket as it actually lists the band’s North American Tour dates. I don’t know if that was a common thing, but none of my singles from other bands have done that.


The song opens with the instantaneously recognizable guitar riff by Mark Knopfler that plays through out the song. The guitar tone was purposefully done to sound like ZZ Top’s guitar tone as they were currently huge on MTV as well. The guitar riff is one of the best hooks every written. Sting sings the famous line “I Want My MTV” which he sings as the same melody as “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. Mark spats off the lyrics with such cynicism that you believe he is irritated at the fact that those guys on MTV don’t do nothing but play that guitar and earn tons of money.

The video is great as well as it was actually groundbreaking with its computer animation at the time. Remember, this is 1985 and wasn’t fully developed yet. MTV loved it and played it constantly and it won the Video of the Year award in 1986 at the MTV Video Music Awards. Check it out.


The B-Side is the beautiful song “Love Over Gold” played live. The original song was off the 1982 album of the same name. I believe the live recording was from their album “Alchemy: Dire Straits Live”. Which was only available on the CD version and not the album. A great slowed down track and definitely more serious sounding then “Money For Nothing”. It has some great picking by Mr. Knopfler as well.

And that is it for another 80’s Single. I hope you enjoyed. We will be back with more very soon. Thanks for stopping by and see you next time.

29 thoughts on “Dire Straits – “Money For Nothing” – 7″ Single

  1. I seem to remember this song being dedicated to everybody’s favorite 80’s band Motley Crue in the liner notes to Brothers in Arm. The dedication was not there on the remaster CD release. However I could swear it was on my original LP back in the day. Great song, video was played constantly for years. Now moving color TV’s wouldn’t be so bad lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an iconic song. It was everywhere when it released, there’s a fair chance it was the most played song from around that time period. I’m not familiar with the B side, but always cool when it’s something not readily available.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this video goes in the same ‘out of date as soon as released’ file as Def Leppard’s ‘Let’s Get Rocked.’
    I don’t think this one goes high in my list of Dire Straits songs, probably because it’s become so overplayed, but I’ll take that b-side any day of the week.
    Apparently Sting was dining with the band when they played it to him and his enthusiasm lead Knopfler to telling him to go sing on it then if he liked it so much. You have to wonder that, were it not for Sting’s improv’d addition it would’ve become such a hit, would MTV Europe opened with it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right about the dated part (and the Lep video as well). Great story with Sting. Having him on it helped as well because Dire Straits weren’t really huge in the U.S. at that time, but The Police were.


  4. I shoulda learned to play the guitar. I shoulda learned to play them drums. Then I wouldn’t be working writing a blog. It’d be money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.
    I watched this video a handful of times back in the 80’s and then I couldn’t stand the computer animation anymore and always turned the channel whenever this video came on. Song was catchy as can be though.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s in the context of a character watching MTV at his dead end job, wondering why all the prissy rock guys get all that money and all those women, so he’s pissed off. Hence the slur. But I guess it didn’t age super well, but the context is important.

          Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s