Because Songs Matter

Flashback Friday: Air Guitar to the Gods

When I was a kid my father had a Kenwood component stereo system that was l.o.u.d. and our house sat right in the middle of an orange grove and the nearest neighbors weren’t near at all. Over the Summers when we were old enough, we’d be home during the work week. During those times I would test just how loud that stereo system could be via my father’s
extensive vinyl collection.

Money For Nothing was released in 1985 by Dire Straits on the Brothers in Arms album. I was 12 years old. My mother’s broom doubled as my axe. The album version of the song has this huge intro that slowly builds into the beginning of the song and good god what a beginning. To this day that beginning absolutely demands that you turn the radio up to the threshold of pain…for either you or your speakers. Home alone, at the age of 12 with a super stereo and the baddest ass broom slash guitar in Plant City I was a fucking broom guitar god. Sometimes I would even rig up a mic stand and use the Pledge can as a mic. What? When I was playing living room rock star I took that shit serious. Money for Nothing is on my iPod and to this day that shit rocks and does not sound dated.

Here are a few Money for Nothing tid bits from Wiki:

  • “Money for Nothing” won the Grammy for the Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with a Vocal in 1985 at the 28th annual Grammy Awards.
  • The 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, anti-gay and racist statements, and in some later releases of the song the lyrics were edited for airplay; “faggot” for example is often replaced with “mother”: “little mother, he’s a millionaire“. The entire second verse was edited out for content and length for radio and video airplay, and on the 7” single. This edited version is included in the compilation album Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits.
Dire Straits - Money for Nothing     

In later years I got an actual electric guitar but I never learned to play that intro. I think I am gonna d/l the tabs and try and learn it this weekend.

As a quick aside: In my opinion, Dire Straits is a terribly underrated band in the general populous. If you say Dire Straits most younger folks will have no idea who you are talking about and the older ones think, Money for Nothing or Walk of Life. I just wanted to take this moment, since I was talking about Dire Straits and all, to post my favorite two Dire Straits songs. One of which (Sultans of Swing) rates as one of my personal top 10 songs ever.

Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing     

Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet     


  1. May 4, 2007    

    Actually, if I remember correctly, the funny thing about the opening riff in “Money for Nothing” is that although the individual notes were played by guitar, those notes were then sampled, and the samples were then played back via sequencer to make the riff that you hear today.

    I know there’s an article in an old Keyboard magazine about it, and I’m trying to find it for you. Back in the mid 1980s Samplers were all the rage, and people were finding new and novel things to do with it.

  2. May 7, 2007    

    Dude! I would love to read that if you can find it.

  3. jkeough jkeough
    May 10, 2007    

    no mention of Sting being a critical componet of the sucess of that song?

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