Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits

#1 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  2385
Date:  07/13/1985
Debut:  87
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Since 1978, this UK band had released four albums that reached either gold or platinum sales. They did quite well, but they didn't become superstars until the release of their fifth album, Brothers in Arms. It was mainly due to the huge success of this first single. The song, which featured a guest vocal appearance by The Police's Sting, caught on thanks in part to its associated MTV video that quickly went into heavy rotation. The single went to #1 at both Rock and Pop. The album also got to #1 and stayed there for nine consecutive weeks. The album would win a Grammy for Best Engineered Record while the band would win one for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for this song. The album would be nominated for Album of the Year and this song for Record of the Year. The album would be a big worldwide success and eventually become one of the biggest sellers of all-time moving over 30 million copies.

ReduxReview:  This song disappointed me so much when I first heard it. I absolutely loved the mysterious sounding opening with Sting's haunting vocal and the big drum/synth build up to that hooky, ZZ Top-inspired guitar lick. But very quickly the song settled into a little dorky blues-rock jam about some guy working at an appliance store watching MTV on the various display TVs. That build up was so amazing and cool, I thought it was going to lead some to something, dark, hooky, and massive. It didn't. I thought it was a stupid song and I avoided it. Hearing it now, I'm still not the biggest fan of it, but I can appreciate how it all came together. It was just the right song with the right MTV-oriented lyrics, the right video, and the right guest star (Sting). Yet I'm still in search of the song that actually matches that intense, awesome opening.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) The band's leader, Mark Knopfler, is also their sole songwriter. There are only two songs on the band's studio albums where another writer was given a credit. "Money for Nothing" is one of those songs. When Sting contributed his vocal part, it was basically the melody from The Police hit "Don't Stand So Close to Me." Because of that, Sting got a songwriting credit even though Knopfler had really written the whole song.  2) According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Brothers in Arms album was the first to sell a million copies on the new CD format. It was also among the first to be digitally recorded.  3) Mark Knopfler really didn't like music videos and initially refused to do one for the song. But at MTV's prodding, he finally relented. Steve Barron directed the song's innovative video, which used an early form of computer animation. It would go on to win the award for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards. It ended up beating out another inventive video also directed by Barron; a-ha's "Take on Me."



  1. Check the date. 7/13, not 6/13. I love this song by the way. One of my 100 favorite songs of the 80's.

    1. Thanks for the date check. Finger fumbles happen!