30 Best Songs About Business and Money

Sometimes you need a theme song. These all-time favorite songs about money will motivate and inspire you – or at least bring back some fond memories!(co-written with Drea)

1. Money, Money–Liza Minnelli, Cabaret (1968)

Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray perform this classic in the film Cabaret, based on the 1968 musical written by John Kander. Never has a cliche been so catchy.

Best lyrics:

Money makes the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Money makes the world go around
Of that we both are sure…
*raspberry sound* on being poor!

2. Money for Nothing–Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms (1985)

Dire Straits promised us all we needed was to play the guitar on the Mtv to get our ‘money for nothing and chicks for free’. Ah, the good old days.

Dire Straits’ lead vocalist/songwriter Mark Knopfler wrote this song in the hardware department of home appliance store. It’s from the point of view of a blue-collar guy who works there. The worker is lamenting the fact that he has to move TVs all day while his MTV counterparts have it easy, banging on drums and getting chicks for free.

Best lyrics:

Now look at them yo-yos thats the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Money for nothin and chicks for free

3. Can’t Buy Me Love –The Beatles, The Beatles 1 (1964)

The Beatles were right about this one. Just ask Sir Paul.

The group recorded this song while on tour. They were under pressure to create a follow-up hit after “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reached #1 in America. It worked: the single was a hit in both America and the UK, selling more than a million copies.

Best lyrics:

I’ll give you all I got to give if you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give but what I got I’ll give to you
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love

4. 9 to 5— Dolly Parton, for the Jane Fonda movie Nine to Five (1985)

You’re just a step on the boss man’s ladder, but that doesn’t matter, because Dolly Parton just empowered you—and millions of other working women like you—to claim your own rung. Both the song and movie are named after a nonprofit founded to improve treatment of women at the workplace.

Best lyrics:

Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen;
pour myself a cup of ambition,
and yawn, and stretch, and try to come to life.
Jump in the shower, and the blood starts pumping;
out on the street, the traffic starts jumping,
with folks like me on the job from nine to five.

5. Sixteen Tons—Merle Travis, Folk Songs of the Hills (1947)

Travis captured the hearts of two million fans with this song capturing the misery of a coal miner’s life.

Best lyrics:

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go;
I owe my soul to the company store…

6. Money—The Flying Lizards, Top Ten (1984)

Originally written by Motown musician Barrett Strong, this robotic, unapologetic version of “Money” has been used in several movie soundtracks, including Empire Records, Lord of War, Charlie’s Angels, and the Wedding Singer. It was also featured in TV drama Nip/Tuck.

Best lyrics:

The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees
I want money
You love gives me such a thrill
But your love won’t pay my bills
I want money
Give me your money
Just give me money

7. Money, Money, Money—ABBA, Arrival (1976)

“Money, Money, Money” made the world, especially Australia and Europe, wild for ABBA. It remained at the top of Australia’s charts for six weeks, and made it to the Top 3 in at least 11 other countries.

Lela: To me this is one of Abba’s more cynical songs. It borders on depressing as it laments the plight of living outside the ‘rich man’s world’. Still, it bounces along.

Best lyrics:

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball

8. Material Girl—Madonna, Like a Virgin (1985)

Christopher Feldman’s “The Billboard Book of Number Two Singles” says that Madonna has regretted recording Material Girl:

She stated in an MTV interview, “If I had known…that for the rest of my life I was going to be referred to as the “Material Girl,” I probably wouldn’t have done it.“

Best lyrics:

Only boys who save their pennies
Make my rainy day
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

9. Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)—Pet Shop Boys (1985)

In this wave/pop chart topper the Pet Shop Boys give us the formula to make lots of money. Don’t pretend you didn’t sing along. Were you the one with the brains or the looks?

Wikipedia underlines the satirical nature of the song with some quotes found in the CD liner of the Pet Shop Boys’ 2001 Album “Please / Further Listening 1984-1986”:

The lyrics depict, in Neil Tennant’s words, “two losers”. The punchline of the “joke” of the song, he says, is that “the people in it are not going to make any money.”

Best lyrics:

I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks
Let’s make lots of money
You’ve got the brawn, I’ve got the brains
Let’s make lots of money

10. She Works Hard for the Money—Donna Summer, She Works Hard for the Money (1983)

Just try not to wiggle to this remix of Donna Summer’s huge hit. Work it girl! Funny, though – I never though this song was about waitresses and factory gals…

The song was released in the midst of a contract dispute between Summer and Geffen Records over who had creative control. Summer’s next album came out through a different label.

Best lyrics:

It’s a sacrifice working day to day
for little money just tips for pay
But it’s worth it all
just to hear them say that they care

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

11. How to be a Millionaire—ABC, How to Be a…Zillionaire! (1985)

ABC first came together in England in 1980. According to the biography on the band’s website,

If tomorrow a bunch of white northern students decided to form a band inspired not by the integrated-to-the-point-of-invisibility Beatles-Kinks-Stones but instead by the collective irrationality and transcendent imaginations of Aphex Twin, N*E*R*D and The Beta Band, you’d still only be halfway towards understanding just how fundamental a break with tradition ABC effected in that period between punk and Madchester/grunge.

Dang. This whole time, I thought ABC was all about lighthearted booty shaking.

Best lyrics:

I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
Say mr. whispers! here come the click of dice
Roulette and blackjacks – gonna build us a paradise
Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me

12. Take the Money and Run—The Steve Miller Band, Greatest Hits 1974-1978 (1976)

The Steve Miller Band didn’t get to make a video for this 1970s rock anthem. No worries – high school musical theater programs have filled the void.

Best lyrics:

This here’s a story about Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue
Two young lovers with nothin’ better to do
Than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube
And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

They headed down to, ooh, old El Paso
That’s where they ran into a great big hassle
Billy Joe shot a man while robbing his castle
Bobbie Sue took the money and run
Go on take the money and run

13. Money Changes Everything – Cyndi Lauper, Money Changes Everything (1983)

Cyndi Lauper made this song a hit in the eighties. Since then it’s been released all over the world in 27 different versions. Wonder what all that money changed.

Best lyrics:

She said I’m sorry baby I’m leaving you tonight
I found someone new he’s waitin’ in the car outside
Ah honey how could you do it
We swore each other everlasting love
She said well yeah I know but when
We did–there was one thing we weren’t
Really thinking of and that’s money–

14. Independent Women—Destiny’s Child, Survivor (2001)

Originally written for the movie Charlie’s Angels, Independent Woman became a massive hit as a single as well, spending 11 weeks as a Hot 100 single. The song also earned a mention in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records for being the “longest running song by a female group.”

Best lyrics:

All the women who independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin’ money
Throw your hands up at me, baby
All the mamas who profit dollas
Throw your hands up at me

15. God Bless the Child—Billie Holiday (1941)

Holiday wrote this song after she and her mother had a heated argument over money. Wikipedia indicates that the lyrics may be related to Biblical verse Luke 19:26, in which a harsh slavemaster takes a disobedient servant’s pitiful allowance and hands it over to the servant who obeyed his wishes best.

Best lyrics:

Money, you’ve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you’re gone, spending ends
They don’t come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

16. Cats in the Cradle—Harry Chapin, Verities and Balderdash (1974)

Harry Chapin’s wife Sandy wrote the poem that inspired this father-son-themed rock classic. Chapin turned her work into a song after the birth of his son. It ended up making Chapin millions, but was also his only #1 hit.

Best lyrics:

When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

17. If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time—Willie Nelson, written by Lefty Frizzell & Jim Beck (1976)

This song was originally written by tormented, brilliant country star Lefty Frizzell and songwriter Jim Beck. Released in 1950, it was one of Frizzell’s first major studio hits. Frizzell died of a stroke in 1975, at the age of 47; a year later, Willie Nelson made the song a hit once again.

Best lyrics:

If you got the money, honey
I’ve got The Time
We’ll go honky-tonkin’
And we’re gonna have a time
Bring along your Cadillac
Leave my old wreck behind
If you got the money, honey
I’ve got the time

18. Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems—Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (1997)

This was a huge crossover hit for the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. with good reason. The more money we come across the more problems we see. While that may be true, most people would love to find out for themselves.

This single was released after Notorious B.I.G’s untimely death in 1997. It was also nominated for a (posthumous) Grammy in 1998. Puff Daddy and Mase collaborated on the song and made a video featuring old clips of the Notorious B.I.G.

Best lyrics:

True pimp niggaz spend no dough on the booty
Throw your Rollies in the sky
Wave em side to side and keep your hands high

19. Young Man Blues—The Who, Odds and Sods (1974)

The song was originally written by American jazz pianist Mose Allison. The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon turned the originally mellow song into a furious lament.

Best lyrics:

You know in the old days
When a young man was a strong man
All the people they’d step back
When a young man walked by

But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days

20. Money—Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

The ultimate money song from the ultimate band, Pink Floyd. Catch it here live in the wrinkled flesh. “Money” was created in a garden shed. It’s known for its cash register and coin sounds effects–and, these days, the band’s wrinkled flesh.

Best Lyrics:

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and youre okay.
Money, its a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think Ill buy me a football team.

21. Gold Digger—Kanye West (feat. Jamie Foxx, with samplings from Ray Charles), Late Registration, (2005)

Inspired by true-life gold diggers and the Ray Charles song “I Got a Woman,” Kanye West and Jamie Foxx both lament and celebrate the experience of being a loaded guy with a gold digga.

Best lyrics:

(She takes my money)
Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger
(When I’m in Need)
But she ain’t messin’ wit no broke niggaz
(She takes my money)
Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger
(When I’m in need)
But she ain’t messin’ wit no broke niggaz

22. George Clinton and the Funkadelics—Funky Dollar Bill, Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow (1970)

Funky Dollar Bill was part of an album that, according to Wikipedia, was inspired by an attempt to record an entire album tripping on LSD. Whether he was frying or not, Clinton was probably one of the first performers to put funk into the dollar bill.

Best lyrics:

The pusher push, the fixer fix
The judge acquits
The junkie leads his life
For the dollar bill
Funky dollar bill

Funky dollar bill
U.S. dollar bill

23. A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Money)—Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline, Walkin’ After Midnight (1956)

Cline herself had experience with two men soon after she married her first husband, contractor Gerald Cline. Three years after marrying Cline, she met Charlie Dick, who has been called the love of her life, after singing at a local dance. She had both men in her life until she divorced Cline in 1957.

Best lyrics:

I must make up my mind today
What to have, what to hold
A poor man’s roses
Or a rich man’s gold

One’s as wealthy as a king in a palace
Tho’ he’s callous and cold
He may learn to give his heart for love
Instead of buyin’ it with gold

Then the poor man’s roses
And the thrill when we kiss
Will be memories of paradise
That I’ll never miss

24. Puttin’ on the Ritz, Fred Astaire, for the movie Blue Skies (1946)

“Puttin’ on the Ritz” is slang for “dressing well,” and was in part inspired by a 1920s fad involving poor Harlem residents dressing up and strolling up and down the borough’s Lenox Avenue. The song was first written in 1929 by prolific Broadway songwriter Irving Berlin.

Best lyrics:

Now, if you’re blue
And you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

25. Free Money—Patti Smith, Horses (1975)

“Free Money” was inspired by Patti’s mother. From the UK Guardian:

‘It’s really a song for my mom,’ (said Smith). ‘She always dreamed about winning the lottery. But she never bought a lottery ticket! She would just imagine if she won, make lists of things she would do with the money – a house by the sea for us kids, then all kinds of charitable things.’

Best lyrics:

Every night before I go to sleep
Find a ticket, win a lottery,
Scoop the pearls up from the sea
Cash them in and buy you all the things you need.

Every night before I rest my head
See those dollar bills go swirling round my bed.
I know theyre stolen, but I dont feel bad.
I take that money, buy you things you never had.

26. Taxman—The Beatles, Revolver (1966)

Taxman was one of the first songs George Harrison wrote. He was dismayed to find that most of his earnings were being swallowed up by taxes. Inspired by his anger at the money-gobbling establishment, he wrote Taxman.

Best lyrics:

(if you drive a car, car;) – I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) – I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) – I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) – I’ll tax your feet.

Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

27. Takin’ Care Of Business—Bachman Turner Overdrive, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II (1973)

Randy Bachman was still a member of the Guess Who when he wrote this song about a recording technician who takes the 8:15 train to work every morning. The Guess Who rejected the song, and Bachman later recorded it with his new band.

Best lyrics:

You get up every morning
From your alarm clock’s warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There’s a whistle up above
And people pushin’, people shovin’
And the girls who try to look pretty

And if your train’s on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I’m self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

28. Life in the Fast Lane—The Eagles, Hotel California (1976)

From Wikipedia:

On In the Studio with Redbeard, Glenn Frey revealed that the title came to him one day when he was riding on the freeway with a drug dealer known as “The Count”. Frey asked The Count to slow down and the response was, “What do you mean? It’s life in the fast lane!”

The song remains a popular on classic rock stations to this day.

Best lyrics:

He was a hard-headed man he was brutally handsome
And she was terminally pretty
She held him up and he held for ransom
In the heart of the cold, cold city
He had a nasty reputation as a cruel dude
They said he was ruthless said he was crude
They had one thing in common
They were good in bed
She said, faster, faster.
the lights are turning red.

Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind

29. With Plenty of Money and You—Tony Bennett, Three Of A Kind – Ray & Tony Sing And Basie Swings (1958)

Tony Bennett was the first male pop singer to sing with the Count Basie Orchestra, an eminent ensemble led by composer and jazz musician William “Count” Basie. Bennett is still going strong today.

Best lyrics:

Well, baby, what I couldn’t do
With plenty of money and you.
In spite of the worry that money brings.
Just a little filthy looker buys a lot of things.
And I could take you to places that you would like to go.
But outside of that, I’ve no use for dough.
It’s the root of all evil,
Of strife and upheaval.
But I’m certain, honey, that life would be sunny
With plenty of money and you.

30. The Pretender–Jackson Browne, The Pretender (1976)

According to one Jackson Browne interview, the Pretender is “anybody that’s sort of lost sight of some of their dreams…and is going through the emotions of trying to make a stab at a certain way of life that he sees other people succeeding at…”

Sounds like most of us.

Best lyrics:

I’m going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender

Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender