Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Money for Nothing
"Money for Nothing" was the name of a song by Dire Straits which first appeared on the band's 1985 album Brothers in Arms and became an international hit. The song was notable for its controversial lyrics, groundbreaking music video, and for a cameo appearance by Sting singing the song's ironic introduction and backing chorus, a borrowing of the cable network's slogan "I want my MTV".
Somewhat unusually for rock music, the song's lyrics are written from the point of view of a character; a blue-collar worker watching music videos and commenting on what he sees. Dire Straits' leader and songwriter Mark Knopfler described the writing of the song in a 1985 interview with critic Bill Flanagan :
- The lead character in "Money for Nothing" is a guy who works in the hardware department in a television/custom kitchen/refrigerator/microwave appliance store. He's singing the song. I wrote the song when I was actually in the store. I borrowed a bit of paper and started to write the song down in the store. I wanted to use a lot of the language that the real guy actually used when I heard him, because it was more real.
The crude observations of the character included references to a musician "banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee" and a description of a singer as a "little faggot with the earring and the makeup", and lamenting that the artists got "money for nothing and chicks for free". These lyrics were widely criticized as sexist, homophobic and racist statements, and in some later releases of the song the lyrics were edited for airplay. In a late 1985 interview in Rolling Stone magazine, Knopfler expressed mixed feelings on the controversy:
- I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London - he actually said it was "below the belt." Apart from the fact that there are stupid gay people as well as stupid other people, it suggests that maybe you can't let it have so many meanings - you have to be direct. In fact, I'm still in two minds as to whether it's a good idea to write songs that aren't in the first person, to take on other characters.
The music video for the song featured early computer animation illustrating the lyrics. While the animation appears crude by modern standards, the video was one of the first uses of computer-animated human characters and was considered groundbreaking at the time of its release. The animators went on to found computer animation studio Mainframe Entertainment, and referenced the "Money for Nothing" video in an episode of their ReBoot series.
The songwriting credits are shared between Knopfler and Sting, though Sting has stated that his only contribution was the "I Want My MTV" line, which was sung in partial parody of his own song "Don't Stand So Close To Me", originally recorded by The Police.
"Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a parody titled "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies" for his 1989 film UHF. As the title implies, this song merges the Beverly Hillbillies theme song with Money For Nothing's tune. Knopfler insisted on repeating MFN's guitar riffs for the song.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details