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.