Last Saturday, in the last episode of this season’s Gessles nio i topp on Swedish Radio, Per Gessle and Sven Lindström discussed songs about money. Sven asks the 1 million SEK question if there is a connection between money and happiness. The guys can’t tell, but Per says money is nice and happiness is nice too, so it’s a good combo. Sven adds, especially if they exist at the same time.
Per’s Top 9 songs about money
9. The O’Jays – For The Love Of Money
8. Pink Floyd – Money
7. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Rich Girl
6. Steve Miller Band – Take The Money And Run
5. Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)
4. The Flying Lizards – Money
3. The Sonics – Money
2. Madonna – Material Girl
1. The Beatles – Taxman
Before they get down to the No. 9 track, Mr. G says it wasn’t too easy to put together a list of 9, because there are so many songs about money, especially in modern music, in the hip hop world. He picked a nice funk song, however, he knows Sven is not really interested in funk music. Per can’t say he is a fan of funk either, but he likes e.g. David Bowie’s Fame, Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone from The Temptations. He chose a song from 1974, For The Love Of Money from The O’Jays, from their Ship Ahoy album. It’s typical Philadelphia soul. There are a lot of cool sound effects in it and it has an awesome intro. Sven says we are back in a disco somewhere in the spring of 1974 and while Per is on the dancefloor, Sven goes and buys… Here he can’t finish what he wants to say, because Per jokes he wasn’t let in. They are laughing.
Next on the list is Money from Pink Floyd from 1973. It was quite a big hit single. It has an unusual 7/4 time signature. Per says he liked The Dark Side of the Moon album and he thinks Pink Floyd was an exciting band back then. The band released their first singles in 1967 and See Emily Play, written by Syd Barrett, was one of Mr. G’s favourites. David Bowie also covered it for his Pin Ups album and then it became even better. Per says his brother had Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma double LP that included live recordings, e.g. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Sven says they had Pink Floyd’s next album, Atom Heart Mother which had a cow on the cover. The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best selling albums worldwide. After TDSOTM, Per wasn’t really interested in Pink Floyd. Sven asks Mr. G what Money means to him and Per says he has an idiotic memory of the song. They had a class party where he was the DJ and the first song he played was Money. He realized that the 7/4 time signature was not the best for dancing. Sven says he has a similar memory from a New Year’s Eve party where he played Speed King from Deep Purple. So Money wasn’t a dancefloor hit, but it became a big radio hit. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Alan Parsons was the engineer.
Next track is Rich Girl from Daryl Hall & John Oates. Per always liked Hall & Oates’ singles, e.g. Maneater, Out of Touch. Rich Girl he also likes, but he doesn’t know much about the duo. Sven says he had their LP that came out on 1976, Bigger Than Both of Us, but he also rather listened to their singles instead of their albums. They had six US No. 1 hits and Rich Girl was their first No. 1. Per thinks it’s an awesome song. Many interpreted it as being about the Patty Hearst scandal that happened at the same time. The timing was probably great for this song. Sven says songwriter Daryl Hall had a TV program on which he met artists and discussed their songs. Per says he saw the program when the guys from the band Cheap Trick were Daryl’s guests in his home studio. It can be found on YouTube.
When Per picked the next song, he thought Sven would be happy, because he loves this band. It’s the Steve Miller Band and the song is Take The Money And Run. Mr. G thinks Steve Miller’s singles are awesome, e.g. The Joker, Jet Airliner, Rock’n Me, Abracadabra. Sven says besides these he likes Steve Miller’s old stuff from 1969-1971. Pop with Texas blues tradition, so even if he plays blues, there is a feeling of pop in Miller’s music. Sven thinks there is a nice guitar swing in TTMAR. Per thinks it’s actually good music to be listened to in the car. After the song is played, Sven tells PG was clapping while they were listening to it.
Now the guys are travelling to London. Pet Shop Boys is next with Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money). Sven remembers that he was in Los Angeles in the spring of 1986 and all the radio channels played West End Girls. Per thinks WEG is still awesome with the rapping in the verse. Mr. G always liked Pet Shop Boys, they are a big singles band for him. He likes their synth-pop and Neil Tennant’s smart lyrics. Per thinks Neil is a fantastic lyricist. He read his book that includes his texts and they are great even without music. The song Per picked for this list exists in different versions, but he chose the one that appeared on PSB’s debut album Please. Mr. G thinks it’s a very typical song of the time and when you hear Pet Shop Boys, it makes you happy.
No. 4 on the list is Money from The Flying Lizards. It’s a cover version of Barrett Strong’s Money, written by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Per bought it as a single. The Flying Lizards’ new wave version was a hit in 1979. Sven adds even The Beatles covered this song for their album on which they released other Motown covers too (Please Mr. Postman, You Really Got a Hold on Me among them). If Barrett Strong was a co-writer of the song is a neverending story, but what is sure is that he wrote several Motown hits, the lyrics of them. E.g. I Heard It Through the Grapevine, War (by Edwin Starr), I Can’t Get Next to You (by The Temptations). Per adds that War was written for The Temptations and it turned out for him from the musical based on The Temptations’ music, but in the end it was released as a single by Edwin Starr and it became No. 1. The guys are then talking a bit about decisions in the music business and mention Don’t You (Forget About Me) which was declined by Bryan Ferry, but became a hit by Simple Minds.
Per and Sven are talking about Robert Fripp who was member of The Flying Lizards, but is mostly known for being the member of King Crimson. He is Per’s favourite guitar player. He was involved in David Bowie’s career too.
The Sonics’ Money is No. 3 from 1965. It is also a cover of Barrett Strong’s Money, a garage rock version of it. The singer is Gerry Roslie who also plays organ. Why Per picked the same song from 2 different artists is because these are totally differently interpreted versions. Sven likes the drum sound in it. They used just one mic over the drums and even Kurt Cobain was amazed by that and thought that’s the best drum sound he had ever heard.
No. 2 is Madonna’s Material Girl from 1984. Per says she is an artist one can easily have a love-hate relationship with. Mr. G is not a super fan of Madonna, but he thinks she released some incredibly good singles in the ’80s. Material Girl is a peak in her career, he thinks. Producer of the song was Nile Rodgers who produced Madonna’s Like A Virgin album. Per thinks he is a phenomenal producer, the biggest in the world in that period. He also produced David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album. From Like A Virgin, Per also likes Dress You Up. It could have been a single, he thinks. LAV is Madonna’s second studio album and it was released during the time when she appeared in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan. Parallel to her, there was Cyndi Lauper on the music scene, but Madonna drove past her with this album.
No. 1 on this season’s final list is Taxman from The Beatles. Per thinks it’s fun to write a song about taxes in the pop world. The song was written by George Harrison and was released as the opening track on their Revolver album in 1966. Mr. G still thinks that’s the best album of The Beatles. It’s Paul McCartney who plays the guitar solo in the song, not George himself. It’s an ingenious solo, Sven thinks. In the lyrics, Harrison got a little help from John Lennon. Taxman protests against the higher level of progressive tax imposed in the UK by the Labour government of Harold Wilson. Both Wilson and Ted Heath (leader of the Opposition at the time) are mentioned in the chorus. Per thinks it’s a very typical song of the time. The album cover is designed by Klaus Voormann.
At the end of the program, they guys tell this is the last episode of the fourth season of Gessles nio i topp and they thank the listeners for joining them. They hope to be back again in the future.