O’Jays – For The Love of Money—- Songs That Reference Money

This song came to mind first when I thought about doing songs containing songs that reference money. I couldn’t for the life of me think who did it until John told me Monday. Thanks, John. I’ve heard this used on countless shows and documentaries.

The songwriting/production duo of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff co-wrote this song with Anthony Jackson, who also played bass on the track. Gamble and Huff wrote many songs that helped define the Philadelphia Soul sound.

The song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, and #29 in Canada in 1974.

For The Love Of Money has become the modern anthem for anyone who’s hustling to make the all mighty dollar. The bass in this song is filtered with a reverse echo…that is what drew me into it. The phrase “For the Love of Money” comes from a well-known Bible verse, 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”


From Songfacts

A key contributor to the song was Joe Tarsia, who was the engineer at Sigma. He had just installed an Eventide phaser in the control room, and when Jackson started playing, Tarsia tried recording the bass (with a wah-wah pedal) through the phaser. Gamble loved the effect, which provided a unique sound that made the song stand out on the airwaves.

Tarsia added effects to the background vocals as well, creating a reverse echo where the echo precedes the vocal, something Jimmy Page did on a few Led Zeppelin tracks, including “Whole Lotta Love.”

Often misinterpreted as a song celebrating the accumulation of money, it’s actually one of the more unadorned warnings about the sordid side of the mighty dollar, pointing out the things people will do for it: cheat, lie, even steal from their mother. The song was written at a time when the songwriters Gamble and Huff were reaping the financial rewards of their success, but also reconciling it with their spiritual beliefs (Gamble had recently converted to Islam). The duo often wrote messages into their songs gleaned from their everyday conversations. On this track, they are very clear: “Don’t let money change you.”

With the chorus of “Money, money, money, money,” this has been used in many promos, TV shows and movies where greed or the pursuit of the almighty dollar are concerned.

TV shows to use the song include:

Scandal (“The Other Woman” – 2012)
Hawaii Five-0 (“Kuka’awale” – 2015)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (“Man Up” – 2011)
Friends (“The One in Vegas: Part 1” – 1999)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (“Winner Takes Off” – 1993)
Moonlighting (“Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?” – 1985)

Movies include:

Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Think Like a Man Too (2014)
The Honeymooners (2005)
All About the Benjamins (2002)
Driven (2001)
For Richer or Poorer (1997)
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Strictly Business (1991)
New Jack City (1991)
Action Jackson (1988)

There is also a 2012 film called For The Love Of Money that uses the song.

For The Love Of Money

Money money money money money
Money money money money money
Money money money money money
Money money money money money
Money money money money money
Money money money money money

Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y’all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You want to do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, y’all

For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can’t even walk the street
Because they never know who in the world they’re gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don’t care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money
A woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money
All for the love of money
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you
For the love of money
Money can change people sometimes
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money fool you
Money can fool people sometimes
People! Don’t let money, don’t let money change you
It will keep on changing, changing up your mind










Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “O’Jays – For The Love of Money—- Songs That Reference Money”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout! This song brings back memories of high school. I think the O’Jays might have performed it on *The Midnight Special*, which I watched faithfully when I was in high school.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate it…I know the song well but had no clue who did it. They had a quite a few hits in the 70s and are still together today…at least one of them is original.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good song, excellent group. Only in the last two or three years have I read about and come to know the work of Gamble & Huff (obviously I’d heard a lot of things they wrote and produced but didn’t know their names) but boy, they are one of the great writing duos of our times.
    I’d like more money, to be sure, but perhaps oddly have never aspired to be super-rich. Never wanted the Trumpian, Epstein, Gates kind of wealth. Seems to do too much to corrupt and also feel like I’d always have to be looking over my shoulder. Dont’ want to live in a house with security gates and so on. so I buy those lotto tickets that have a $250 000 or even million top prize and leave those Powerballs to everyone else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember you doing a post I think on this…I could not think of who did it.

      To get that much wealth in most professions…you have walked over a lot of people so no I never wanted that much wealth either.

      If I came into a lot of money…I would stay in our house but it would be really fixed up nice.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The law of thermodynamics of money says the more money you steal/cheat from others the more corrupt and depraved you become. Goodness and mercy are inversely proportional. Look at the examples you used 🙂 Epstein (when he dies or is captured and thrown in prison — if he’s not actually dead now) will be roasting over a spit for a long long time or maybe even longer…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never had the want for that much money. I mean how much do you need? I guess if you helped people with it that would be one thing…Without a want (or a rich uncle or aunt) or the damn everyone drive…you won’t get it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. EXACTLY, Max. There is no secret or fine print with the deal you have to cut. My goal has always been security of food, clothing, and shelter. There have been opportunties to “cut the deal” but I was never willing the pay the price.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. People want more and more…and then they spend their lives afraid someone is going to steal it from them…like they probably stole (maybe legally) it from other people. It’s a deal with the devil.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. There were two I wanted to do but I already covered them…Cyndi Lauper Money Changes Everything and Warren Zevon Money Guns, and Lawyers.
      I can’t wait to see if you are thinking of the one I have or not.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Money, Lawyers and Guns also…but again I’ve already covered them. You can guess what the next one is…the one banned in Canada for a bit.


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