Friday, January 22, 2010

Money on the Dark Side of the Moon

As is often the case, I recently had music playing in the background at my house. This particular morning I had Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon record playing (yes, among other forms of media, I listen to records). As some of you know, the song Money is the first song on side two of the album. As I dropped the needle, it occurred to me that, even though the word "money" has a specific meaning to me in economic terms, I had never really studied the lyrics to this well-known song. So I dared to examine what "money" means to songwriter and bassist Roger Waters of Pink Floyd - at least what it meant to him in the early 1970's when he wrote the song.

By 1973, Pink Floyd had already recorded eight albums, including a movie soundtrack and a #1 album in 1970 called Atom Heart Mother. Therefore, it is safe to assume that when the song was written, Roger Waters was already struggling with his new found fame, and enjoying the money that accompanies a #1 album release.

Now, I am not a lyricist by any means, and I may very well be interpreting the song completely wrong. Nevertheless, with the historical context in place, here is my amateur interpretation of Money by Pink Floyd.

Artist: Pink Floyd

Album: Dark Side of the Moon
Lyrics by: Roger Waters

Click here for to see it performed in London in 1994.


Original lyrics in bold font

Layman interpretation of the lyrics in normal font

Money, get away

Get a good job with more pay
And you're okay

At first, money is good and it is allows you to live comfortably.

Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash

Life becomes fun once you have a little disposable income.

New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team

Once you become wealthy, your wants become a little more expensive - sometimes they seem absurd (i.e. buying a football team). But, who are we to judge him on his wants.

Money get back
I'm all right Jack
Keep your hands off my stack

With wealth comes friends, agents, managers, and obligations. These people are normally looking for an easy handout.

Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that
Do goody good b&ll$h!t

There are no shortage of suggestions as to how you should spend your money. Even though keeping your money for yourself is considered "greedy" to some.

I'm in the hi-fidelity
First class traveling set
And I think I need a Learjet

It's funny how
wants become needs. He "wanted" a football team, and now he "needs" fancy luggage and a Learjet to match. However, again, who are we to judge him on his wants and needs - it's his money.

Money, it's a crime

Share it fairly
But don't take a slice of my pie

Once you become rich, it is easy to judge others and tell them how to live and spend their money, but leave his lifestyle out of it - remember it's his success.

Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil

But if you ask for a rise

It's no surprise that they're
Giving none away

Those who do not have money, and some that do, point to money as the "root of all evil." But, if you notice, they rarely part with theirs. It's fairly easy to sit back judge others based on what they do (or don't do) with their money. But, in reality, it is their money, and they should be allowed to spend it on football teams, matching luggage, Learjets, or maybe even give it all away to charity. Besides, the common man enjoys watching football, making luggage, and building Lear jets.

In the end, money is not the "root of all evil"; however, mandating what one does with their money is not far from it.

A quick note: In a 1987 interview, Roger Waters was asked, "Apart from [being successful as a band] what were the main problems associated with such immense success?"

"Mainly the one of what to do with all the money!" he answered, "You go through this thing where you think of all the good you could do with it by giving it away. But, in the end, you decide to keep it!"

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