A fun money-related playlist for you
In this week's blog, Pete Selby plays Desert Island Discs...
Every year, my colleague Steve sends out a list of his favourite business books… and I always think to myself what a nice idea that is.
But I'm really more of a music man than a book lover.
In my spare time, you might catch me playing classical flute at a friend's wedding or for residents in a care home, or using computers and synthesizers to create an electronic accompaniment to my flute playing.
It makes more sense for me to share my recommended music list with you instead of a book list.
And naturally – given my work the perfect theme for my playlist is money!
So here's my suggested soundtrack to your summer. Give it a listen, have fun, and to quote another great song: "Wear sunscreen."
1. Money, Money, Money by Abba
This song reached the top 3 in the UK charts back in 1976, but it contains sentiments most people find it hard to disagree with these days - a bit of extra money can go a long way.
(Although the idea that you need to marry a rich man to avoid work is definitely not so modern!)
The best lyric is, "Ah, all the things I could do... if I had a little money."
I hear this all the time from people whose finances don't quite stretch to cover their goals…
2. I’m Your Money by Heaven 17
As a piece of early 80s synth pop, this wasn't particularly remarkable, but it has high comedic value in the lyrics: "I'm offering you the post of wife plus the overnight treasury..."
These three guys from Sheffield were so deadpan that people couldn't work out whether to take them seriously or not.
3. (How to Be a) Millionaire by ABC
Featuring the poignant line, "I've seen the future, I can't afford it," this was a single taken from ABC's mid-80s album How to Be a... Zillionaire, which just shows how modest this band was in its ambitions.
4. Rent by Pet Shop Boys
Most people think this song is pure cynicism because of its famous line, "I love you; You pay my rent."
But there's a glimmer of real love in there too, with the less well-known lyric, "Words mean so little, and money less, when you're lying next to me."
Plus it's one of those late 80s classics you can't help but dance to!
5. You Never Give Me Your Money by The Beatles
From the Abbey Road album, Paul McCartney wrote this song about the band's financial, personal, and managerial troubles.
It was first released in 1969, but oddly resonates with complaints about millennial life today: "Out of college, money spent; see no future, pay no rent; all the money's gone, nowhere to go..."
And although the song takes a minute to get going, it turns into a great danceable track featuring boogie-woogie piano and guitar arpeggios.
6. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime by George Michael
From the album 'Songs From the Last Century', this is George Michael's take on a famous American Great Depression-era song.
It's slow jazz and very relaxing to listen to, but the lyrics tell a sad story of losing jobs to economic change and feeling abandoned by the system.
7. Money (That’s What I Want) by The Flying Lizards
A blatantly avaricious and very funny song, this was first recorded by Motown artist Barrett Strong but my personal favourite version is the 1979 post-punk/New Wave single from The Flying Lizards.
The opening lines are brilliant: "The best things in life are free. But you can give them to the birds and bees; I want money!"
8. For the Love of Money by The O'Jays
If you're not into soul-funk, then you might be drawing a mental blank on reading the song title.
But I guarantee you've heard this song before, and you'll instantly recognise the opening bassline and the echoing voice singing "Money money money money... MONEY!"
9. Money on my Mind by Sam Smith
Sam Smith doesn't have money on his mind - he's doing it for love. This 2014 single from his first album focused on his worries about signing a record deal, and it went to #1 in the UK charts.
10. Money by Pink Floyd
This deeply cynical song isn't all about money, but about the way our behaviours around money damage our society as a whole. You can really hear the bitterness in lyrics like, "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."
I don't want you to simply read this email, think "Nice playlist, Pete," and then go back to whatever you were doing before.
I'm hoping you'll actually listen to these songs! (And maybe have a think about how your own money's doing, at the same time.)
So I've made you a Spotify playlist featuring all of the above - go here to listen to it.
And don’t forget to write back to me with your own favourite money songs, so I have something new to listen to, this summer, too….