“The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd is one of those records that not only changed the face of the industry but became a synonym of brilliance in music-writing by combining together art, progressive sound and abstract lyrics. The two singles from the album – “Money” and “Time” will always be epitomized as two of the greatest masterpieces in rock music, being loved by fans and critics all over the world. It’s difficult to measure the legacy of the album, as its uniqueness and conceptualism influenced so many aspects of modern music and encouraged countless artists. Indeed, the album is an absolute “pivotal point” in rock music history.
Going back to the two singles of the album, I thought that it’s high time I explored the history of a song by Pink Floyd. As I said before, I really enjoy digging up some background information and facts about the songs I love and appreciate so much. Naturally, when I think of Pink Floyd, the first song that comes to my mind is “Money” because it’s probably my favorite PF song. So for today’s “The Story of…” publication, we are going to learn more about “Money” and enjoy its absolute excellence. Here we go…
– “Money” was written by Roger Waters and was released in 1973 as a single from Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side of the Moon”. ( It’s essential to say that the album was engineered by the mastermind Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios. You might know him as the leader of his own band called The Alan Parsons Project. He remains as one of the most notable music engineers and producers in the music industry.)
– The lead vocals are performed by David Gilmour who is also responsible for the acclaimed guitar solo.
– The song became the band’s first USA hit – it peaked at #13 on US Billboard Hot 100 In France, the song was able to climb up to #6 and in Austria, it got to #10. (P.S. – The song was released as a single only in the USA – in the UK, singles were not as common, due to people perceiving them as a sellout.)
– “Money” is noted for the tape loop of a cash register which plays throughout the whole song. Roger Waters was the one who put together all the money-related sounds, cutting the tape in a rhythmic pattern so that we can get the “cash register” loop effect.
– Various studio effects were used on this song. At that time – 1973, there weren’t any digital recorders or samplers, or computers – so the layering of sounds was indeed very complicated. Pink Floyd used a new 16-track recorder but still – in the 70s, if you want to copy and paste something, the only way to do it is with a razor blade and splicing tape.
– “Money”, along with another song from the album – “Us and Them”, are the only two songs from “The Dark Side of the Moon” to use saxophone, played by Dick Parry. At that time, the band was experimenting with different sound combinations. (The results were pretty awesome, though!)
– The song has very unusual time signatures. It begins with 7/4, then it changes to 4/4, then it returns to 7/4 and it ends in 4/4. In 1993, David Gilmour said, “It’s Roger’s riff. Roger came in with the verses and lyrics for ‘Money’ more or less completed. And we just made up middle sections, guitar solos and all that stuff. We also invented some new riffs – we created a 4/4 progression for the guitar solo and made the poor saxophone player play in 7/4. It was my idea to break down and become dry and empty for the second chorus of the solo.”
– The song had to be re-recorded for the 1981 Pink Floyd release – A Collection of Great Dance Songs, because Capitol Records was refusing to license the track to Columbia Records in the United States.
– Lyrically, the song is about all the bad things money can bring to you. Ironic, isn’t it? – The record made Pink Floyd tons of cash as it sold over 34 million copies.
– People might often misinterpret the song as a tribute to money. The famous line “Money, it’s a gas,” made people believe that they sing about money being a good thing.
– The lyrics were written as a reflection of British economy back in the 70s. However, I believe that the words are applicable nowadays more than ever.
– “Share it fairly, but don’t take a slice of my pie,” is also one of the most famous lines of the song. I think it really represents people’s selfishness when it comes to fighting for equality.
– “Money, it’s a hit,” – a line referring to money as being like a drug. People can become addicted and can’t really get enough of it. We simply spend our lives trying to get more and more…
– “Money, so they say, is a root of all evil today” is a paraphrased line, taken from the New Testament – 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
– The lyrics of “Money” are briefly referenced in the film “Pink Floyd – The Wall”, when Pink – the main protagonist is being caught writing poems in his class. The teacher reads some lines from the poem book out loud – those lines are the verse of “Money”.
– Pink Floyd are trying to show how greedy the world has become…A theme that will always be relevant, especially since nowadays we live in a materialistic society, which only cares about possessions and status.
– Personally, I think the song fits perfectly to the album and its concept. Also I really admire how the lyrics bring together insanity, addiction, greed and money. When you feel the smell of money, people instantly change and are willing to do whatever it takes for more money. Throughout the years, Pink Floyd were labelled as hypocrites, because they sing about money being evil, when in fact they earned millions of dollars. I don’t necessarily agree with this statement but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Let me here what you guys think?
Money, get away
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay
Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
Money, get back
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet
Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away
Away, away, way
(Away, away, away, away)
– The Music Video for “Money” features numerous scenes, showing how people make and spend their money. In addition, there are many scenes, including coins spinning, money being count, etc. It just makes you think – what a huge mess can this little thing cause.
– In 2015, Roger Waters was asked by Uncut whether there’s a song that reminds him of Roger Waters. He replied, “Money.’ I’m not talking about the lyric. Just the quirky 7/8 time reminds me of Roger. It’s not a song I would have written. It points itself at Roger.”
– “Money” has always been a “must-play” song for any of Pink Floyd’s live concerts. David Gilmour even played it last year, during the first date of Rattle That Lock Tour.
(Notice the difference in the “live experience”…Is it just me or nowadays the audiences are too stiff….)
I would like to finish by saying that it’s been more than 30 years since the song was released, but fans still can’t get the “cash register sound” or the guitar riff out of their heads – the song is just that good. Every time I think of the 70s, this is the first song that comes to my mind. It’s not like I was born in the 70s, but to me, this song represents the era and the direction many musicians started taking at that time – more progressive, art-driven and experimenting by combining various instruments. The lyrics of the song are very essential and I really appreciate it when musicians are so skillfully conveying a message with just so few words… Furthermore, can we talk about the guitar solo of the song? I mean, we all know that Dave is a guitar virtuoso, but this right here gets things to a whole new level…
I do hope you guys love the song as much as I do and you learned a thing or two from this publication. Stay tuned for more “The Story of…” publications to find out more about our most favorite classic rock tunes.