tagReviews & EssaysMoney Ch. 04

Money Ch. 04

byBOSTONFICTIONWRITER©

Even though venerable Pink Floyd made fun of the system and pointed their musically talented finger at the consciousness culprit being money, they made a lot of money when they wrote their song, Money. Back then, I can't recall anyone who didn't have Pink Floyd's album, The Dark Side of the Moon and who didn't listen to it with awe and reverence that played on their Technics turntable through Carver amp and preamp on their Ohm F or Dalquist DQ10 speakers. That my friend was put your earphones on, put your head back, and close your eyes type of music.

"Money, get away. Get a good job with pay and you're okay. Money, it's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash. New car, caviar, four star daydream, think I'll buy me a football team. Money, get back. I'm all right, Jack. Keep your hands off my stack. Money, it's a hit. Don't give me that do goody good bullshit. I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set and I think I need a Lear Jet. Money, it's a crime. Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie. Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a raise it's no surprise that they're giving none away."

It was a few years after the 60's, revolt and revolution was in the air with the swell of baby boomers coming of age and in 1973 Pink Floyd, as did so many of us, saw the ridiculousness of money and played their parody of it to make, well, yeah, money.

It amazes me how much money singers can make when they finally cut a record and make it big. When I think of some of the people who have profited just by opening their mouths and singing a song, people who now are set for life and who never have to work a day, it is mind boggling. I'm jealous.

I used to know Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr of The Cars fairly well. I met them in the early seventies when I worked with their wives, Sue and Chris at Warner-Elecktra-Atlantic Records, WEA. Back then, we met so many celebrities, Queen, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Bette Midler, and Rod Stewart to name but a few. Everyone had a band and it was difficult to recognize the ones who would make it and the ones who wouldn't.

Sue, Ric's wife asked me to listen to Ric and Ben play at a small and intimate coffeehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in 1973. Back then, it was just Ric and Ben. They were looking for someone to play keyboard and since I had been playing the accordion for years, composing music, and writing lyrics, it was an easy transition to play keyboard and I was who they were thinking about to join their, as yet, unnamed group.

Back then, Ric drove a lavender '65 Chevy Impala and Ben drove an old 1960 army green Saab 96. Their wives who worked to financially and emotional support their husbands' musical endeavors, which they both subsequently divorced once they made it big, were both, drop dead gorgeous. Sue had long, medium brown hair and was tall, shapely, buxom, and beautiful. Chris was shorter and had short, blonde curly hair and was equally as beautiful as Sue. Butter would melt in both their mouths. Sue was from Massachusetts, but Chris was from Ohio. Both did well in the divorce settlements.

I was interested in joining their band only, I was immediately turned off by the amount of drugs that they did in between sets. An exercise fanatic back then and having never taken drugs, I figured they'd never make anything of themselves. Duh! Boy was I so naïve. That was the dumbest decision I ever made. I would have been set for life. Who knew? I surely didn't.

There are a multitude of talented artists, people who I would cross the street should I see them out in public had they not earned their celebrity status singing songs and writing music. Many have died, but still to make my point, here is my incomplete list of those singers who found an easy answer to earning millions of dollars and doing everything they could to self-destruct their lives immediately thereafter: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Wayne Newton, Whitney Houston, Ricky Nelson, Prince, Rick James, Sinead O'Connor, James Brown, Axel Rose, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

I don't understand the phenomenon of singers earning huge fortunes when the rest of us, accountants, teachers, nurses, administrative assistants, secretaries, truck drivers, office workers, librarians, grocery clerks, convenience store attendants, auto mechanics, et al who make pennies in comparison to these singers who make millions of dollars. We the average person who can't carry a tune work so much harder to earn so much less. It just doesn't make any sense.

Doesn't it make you angry when you hear a celebrity complain how hard it was for them to wake up at 5am every day to have someone fix their hair and do their makeup in readiness for their photo shoot, movie, and/or concert tour? Give me a break. Then, they take the next nine months off living a luxurious lifestyle.

Many of these people don't know what it is to work for a living, which is why they self-destruct and which is why they turn to drugs and alcohol. They feel guilty that they were the chosen ones while the rest of us work in obscurity in a life without any financial rewards and/or security whatsoever.

Not all singers are bad people. There have been lots of singers, fortunately, more singers who have practiced their art and bettered their craft, while making a good living and remaining true to themselves in the process than there are on my other list of self-destructive performers. Many have died, but here is my incomplete list of singers who others may want to emulate: Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCarthy, Shania Twain, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban, Madonna, Freddie Mercury, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Bob Dylan, Bono, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Buffet, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Pat Benatar, Jennifer Hudson, Dolly Parton, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, and Phil Collins. These singers, of course, I don't know all the intimate details of their background, but they have stayed clear of trouble.

Not surprisingly, love is the only subject where more songs have been written than songs about money, as love is equally as fleeting as money.

Who can forget those classic tunes, "We're in the Money" or Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." Oh, yeah, wishing for money goes way back.

The Beatles sang those unforgettable songs, "Money, that's what I want and I don't care much for money, money can't buy me love."

"I've got the brains, you've got the looks. Let's make lots of money," sang the Pet Shop Boys.

Dire Straits sang their song, "Money for nothing playing guitar on MTV...Bangin on the bongos like a chimpanzee. That ain't workin. That's the way you do it. Get your money for nothing. Get your chicks for free."

George Harrison of the Beatles fame, sang his song, Got My Mind Set On You with his group the Traveling Willburies.

"And this time I know it's for real. The feeling that I feel. I know if I put my mind to it. I know that I really can do it. But, it's gonna take money. A whole lotta spending money. It's gonna take plenty of money. To do it right child."

Billy Joel asked, "Is that all you get for the money?" when he sang, Anthony's Song.

Spinal Tap was more blatant about it when they sang, "You know what I want. You know what I need. Give me some money."

Even the beloved Eagles had their finger on the pulse when they wrote Lyin Eyes and the lyrics, "City girls just seem to find out early how to open doors with just a smile. A rich, old man and she won't have to worry..."

On the other hand, Donna Summer defended women with her lyrics, "She works hard for the money. So hard for it, honey. She works hard for the money. So you better treat her right."

Janis Joplin said the words that reverberated in my head for decades whenever I fell to my knees in despair and in prayer with the thought of her song, Mercedes Benz.

"Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."

The singers of the group Abba could not speak or understand English, but they understood all they needed to know about money when they sang their song.

"Money, money, money, always sunny in the rich man's world."

Even the matriarch of country music, Dolly Parton sang the truth about money when she sang her song from the movie 9 to 5.

"It's a rich man's game, no matter what they call it."

Can you blame any of us for being overly preoccupied with money when we grew up hearing such lovely classic songs?

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird won't sing, Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring."

Carly Simon resurrected that song in the seventies. She was another poor, rich girl. Her father was co-founder of Simon and Schuster, Inc., the big publishing house. Her mother probably sang her to sleep with that song every night. Whereas, my Mom just told me to go to sleep of she'd beat me with the strap.

Maybe, that explains why I dream of hitting the lottery and winning a lot of money.

To be continued...

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