Money For Nothing ~ Dire Straits

Dire Straits was a British rock band, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. Although the band was formed in an era when punk rock reigned, Dire Straits worked within the conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David requested that pub owners turn down the amps so that patrons could converse while the band played – indicative of their unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful.

Dire Straits chose their name mainly due to the financial conditions the four band members were in at the time.

Money For Nothing

The song’s lyrics are written from the point of view of a blue-collar worker watching music videos and commenting on what he sees. To achieve the effect of such a layman making such casual everyday commentary, Dire Straits’ lead singer and songwriter Mark Knopfler used a vocal style known as Sprechstimme.

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.”

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/money_for_nothing.flv[/flv]

I want my MTV

Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TV’s

(See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire)

Gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
Gotta move these colour TV’s

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin’ in the camera
Man we could have some
And he’s up there, what’s that? Hawaiian noises?
Bangin’ on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchens deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TV’s

Look a’ here
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on your MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free

Look at that, look at that

Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
I want my, I want my, I want my MTV
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

(Fade)
I want my, I want my, I want my MTV

  • Audio from the 1985 album, Brothers in Arms

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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