“Making it rain” is probably the most cliched phrase in songwriting history. Pick a random rap or R&B track from the past three decades and you’re almost guaranteed to phrase at least once. Rappers and singers talk about making money and blowing it on something (or someone) all the time. So, here are the top ten tracks about making, losing, earning, or wasting money.
- Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
The fact that this song came out in the 80’s goes to show just how long artists have been making it rain. Dire Straits didn’t expect the album to be as successful as it was. It topped the US charts in 1985 and it was the first CD to sell over a million copies. Making it rain, indeed.
- Money, that’s what I want – Barrett Strong
Barrett Strong sums up everyone’s most basic desire in less than five words. Not only was this track the Motown’s first hit in 1960, it also went on to be covered by the legendary Beatles a few years later. Strong’s song is now considered one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stones.
- Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar
It’s impossible not to empathize with Aloe Blacc’s yearning for money in this song. Especially considering the song came out in 2007 when the global financial crisis hit. Journalists were quick to label this the ‘anthem of the recession.’ Turns out the whole world needed a dollar alongside Blacc.
- Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money
Donna Summers based this heart-breaking song about hard work and sacrifice on a real-life experience. The lyrics were inspired by a hardworking bathroom attendant who worked at a LA restaurant Donna went to once. Not only was the song a hit, Summer’s also featured the bathroom attendant on the album’s back cover. That’s nearly as good as winning the lottery.
- M.I.A. – Paper Planes
British artist M.I.A captured a broad range of emotions in this 2007 track that made it all the way to the top of global charts. MIA says the track reflects society’s twisted perception of immigrants and America’s obsession with money.
- Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)
The Pet Shop Boys debut single ‘Opportunities’ is a case study in perseverance. The track flopped, coming in at #116 on the UK’s charts when it was first released in 1985. The band decided to re-release the track a year later, when their other songs had become successful.
Most of these six songs are about struggling to make money or thinking about being rich, rather than making it rain in clubs. The most successful songs tend to strike a chord with listeners who can relate to the lyrics more easily.