Cue the financial rat race. You go to school to learn about something that will make you money. You make some money, but now you have to pay the bills. You realize you need to make more money, so now you climb the career ladder. Before you know it, you have no more youth left, but you still need to save up for retirement.
This list of songs about money mirrors all our struggles when chasing the bag. From the witty and comical ones to the ones that admit that we need more money, this is a compilation anyone will relate with.
1. Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) by Pet Shop Boys
Album: Please | Released: 1985 | Genre: Synth-Pop
Before it became a chart-topper, Opportunities hit a few bumps on the road. The first version never made it to the radio stations, and the second didn’t perform as well as anticipated. The third recording was the one that struck gold, ranking at #11 in the UK and # 10 in the US charts.
On the surface, the song sounds like any other song about making money. However, Neil Tennant wrote it as a criticism of Thatcherism, a term coined after the economic ideologies of Margaret Thatcher.
2. Billionaire by Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars
Album: Lazarus | Released: 2010 | Genres: Pop Rap, Pop
This was not Bruno Mars’ first song, but I associate it with the start of his career because it was the first time I heard him. The song was, however, Travie McCoy’s first round in the ring, coming from his first album Lazarus.
Travie had a hard making the song politically correct, given that the US was going through a recession, and he didn’t want to come off as smug. To curb this, the lyrics balance playful things like playing Basketball with the President and more charitable things like helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
3. Gold Digger by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
Album: Late Registration | Released: 2005 | Genre: Pop Rap
This song was released in the 2000s, the period I consider Kanye’s best music era. Whenever this song comes on, I will drop everything and sing it word for word, ad-libs included.
It is a fun song about money and greed where a lady only wants a man for his money, as told by the unforgettable hook, “Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, But she ain’t messin’ with no broke niggas.”
The hook was meant to be sung by a woman, but Kanye thought a man would do it better. It won Kanye the Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2006 Grammys.
4. C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) | Released: 1993 | Genre: Hip-Hop
I believe that money is the key to some happiness. The Wu-Tang Clan agrees with me in this song about getting the dollar bills. They rap about the struggles of surviving in low-income neighborhoods and trying different dangerous things to survive.
It is a criticism of how you can only do or be so much without money, or as they aptly put it, CREAM – Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Although it wasn’t so successful commercially, it became a social and hip-hop landmark, with numerous rappers sampling the song and Cream becoming slang for money.
5. Material Girl by Madonna
Album: Like a Virgin | Released: 1984 | Genre: Dance Pop
The video to Material Girl borrows from a movie scene where Marilyn Monroe performs Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Madonna sings that no amount of kisses, hugs or pleading can get through to her unless they all come accompanied by some cold, hard cash.
I don’t blame her; love can only take you so far, right? Although people associated the song’s message with who she was as a person, Madonna said in an interview that nothing could be further from the truth. She isn’t attached to material things and could do fine without them.
6. Money for Nothing by Dire Straits
Album: Brothers in Arms | Released: 1985 | Genre: Pop Rock
I often hear myself saying, “That ain’t workin! Besides, what I do is real work, not that!” when I stare at music artists perform on TV. Knopfler stumbled upon a man working in an appliance store who had the same thoughts. Knopfler tried to keep the lyrics as close as possible to the man’s sentiments.
This was also a song of firsts. It was one of the first music videos to use animation instead of actual people. It was created by Ian and Garvin using a program called Paintbox. It was also the first video that MTV Europe played.
7. Bills Bills Bills by Destiny’s Child
Album: The Writing’s on the Wall | Released: 1999 | Genre: Pop
This song was released in 1999 but has recently been a trend courtesy of TikTok, where people have been creating content with the chorus lyrics. I used to think it was a song about women wanting to be taken care of financially.
However, Destiny’s Child later clarified that it is a song about money and relationships. Kandi Burruss wrote the song for the group when they were in their late teens and had just begun breaking into stardom.
She was inspired by a previous relationship where her partner would unfairly use things she would pay for without contributing anything himself.
8. Mo Money, Mo Problems by Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy and Mase
Album: Life After Death | Released: 1997 | Genres: Hip-Hop, Rap
This song elicits both joy and sorrow from hip-hop fans. On the downside, it was released after Biggie’s unfortunate death. On the bright side, it received a nomination for Best Rap Performance by a group at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
It also became Biggie’s second post-humous number-one release. It is one of the few rap songs about money where I’ve heard an artist be so honest about the dissatisfaction that having more money can bring. It’s not always cars and luxurious hotels; sometimes, it’s jealous friends and family.
9. Got Money by Lil Wayne feat. T-Pain
Album: Tha Carter III | Released: 2008 | Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap
The Carter III was Lil Wayne’s most successful album, selling a million copies in the first week and being acclaimed as his most creative and personal production. Got Money is the second song from the album that is making it to this list.
Got Money is a song about having cash and not being afraid to show it, or if the video is anything to go by, not being afraid to throw it around too.
It has never been confirmed, but rumors have it that some of the money in the video was real. The videos to A Milli and Got Money were also filmed on the same day.
10. Money, Money, Money by Abba
Album: Arrival | Released: 1976 | Genre: Baroque pop
When Benny and Björn were crafting this song about the search for money, they must have been foretelling my future. The lyrics speak of the harrowing cycle I, and probably everyone else, go through trying to make a living.
I work hard only to spend my small fortune paying bills, feel sorry for myself, and then daydream about living in a rich man’s world or making it big in Vegas.
The song was the second to be released from the album Arrival, following up on the success of Dancing Queen. Originally named Gypsy Queen, this song topped the charts in six countries.
11. Money Talks by AC/DC
Movie: Live at Donington | Released: 1990 | Genre: Rock
Years ago, if someone sang this to me, asking me to love them in exchange for tailored designer clothes, a big house, and fine hotels, I would immediately say no. After experiencing the depths of being an adult, my answer may not come as fast.
Unlike in their other songs where Brian Johnson took the lead in composing the lyrics, Angus and Malcolm wrote this hard rock song about money and love.
The band created fake money, known as Angus Bucks, which they threw to the crowd during performances.
12. A Milli by Lil Wayne
Album: Tha Carter III | Released: 2008 | Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap
“See, they say I’m rappin’ like B.I.G., Jay, and 2Pac
André 3000, where is Erykah Badu at? Who that?
Who that said they gon’ beat Lil’ Wayne?”
These were the words Lil Wayne used in this song about a million dollars, and about him staking his place as the greatest rapper in the game. The song was celebrated by fans and producers for its simplicity which took hip-hop back to its basics.
Renowned producer Bangladesh sampled the song “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” and layered it with a simple bass line and snares to make a beat that any rapper could flow with. Everybody started making songs that mirrored A Milli.
13. Money by Pink Floyd
Album: The Dark Side of the Moon | Released: 1973 | Genre: Rock
I have heard this song before, but only when curating this list did I fully understand the amount of creativity that went into it. Money, and The Dark Side of the Moon, the album to which it belonged, became industry standards for the creative use of sound.
They used the sound of a cash register and looped it. They also recorded the sound of bags of coins being thrown into a mixing bowl. It is a rock song about the evils of money.
The lyrics show even though everyone wishes money was shared equally, everyone will always be guarded and selfish about their money.
14. Beer Money by Kip Moore
Album: Up All Night | Released: 2012 | Genres: Country
“Beer Money” by Kip Moore is a classic country song about the simple pleasure of having just enough money to take your friends out for a night of beer drinking and partying. The song is full of cheerful country twang and lyrics filled with references to beer, friends, and fun.
Ultimately, the song is a reminder that sometimes having just enough money to enjoy life’s small pleasures is exactly what you need. So next time you have a little bit of extra money in your pocket, remember Kip Moore’s words and use it to buy yourself a round of beer. Cheers!
15. Danny’s Song by Loggins and Messina
Album: Sittin’ In | Released: 1971 | Genres: Country, Folk Rock
Nothing better to balance the odds in this list than a heartfelt country song about the lack of money and the decision to keep hope going regardless. The lyrics are relatable because Loggins borrowed them from a letter Danny, his older brother, sent him.
In the letter, Danny was going through the motions of moving and trying to provide for his new family. Loggins released Danny’s Song twice, but both versions did not gain any traction.
The song became popular when Anne Murray did a cover that topped the charts in Canada and the US.
16. Rich Girl by Hall and Oates
Album: Bigger Than Both of Us | Released: 1977 | Genre: Soft Rock
I have often been told that if I look carefully, I can differentiate old money from new money. Old money is subtle.
It affords luxury on a whim, and according to Daryl Hall, it can get you out of whatever situation you may be in, “You’re a rich girl, and you’ve gone too far, ‘Cause you know it don’t matter anyway, you can rely on the old man’s money.”
This soft rock song about money was borrowed from a real-life story, but the person was a man. Daryl only changed it to a lady to fit his perspective.
17. It’s All About the Benjamins by Puff Daddy & The Family
Album: No Way Out | Released: 1997 | Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap
It’s All About the Benjamins is a testament to the power and influence that hip-hop, especially hip-hop money songs, had and still has. It revolutionized how people and rappers spoke about cash.
Benjamins became the unofficial term for 100-dollar bills, and that suave opening line from Puff Daddy had everyone wanting to be rich enough to call shots and bury the extras in “Rio De Janeiry.”
The catchy guitar riff is a sample from the song I Did It for Love, and the song closes with another sample from the Jackson Five. The song charted at #2 on the Hot 100.
18. She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer
Album: She Works Hard for the Money | Released: 1983 | Genre: Disco, New Wave
Yet another chart-topper whose lyrics were quickly scribbled on a piece of toilet paper. In the second verse, the woman named Onetta, who wonders why some people have everything, is the real-life blue-collar worker who inspired this song.
Donna found Onetta worn out and asleep while working as a bathroom attendant. She wrote it to salute women who do all they can to keep making money. It was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 1984 Grammy Awards.
19. Take the Money and Run by The Steve Miller Band
Album: Fly Like an Eagle | Released: 1976 | Genre: Rock
This song was the Bonnie and Clyde anthem of the 70s. It is a rock n roll song about stealing money.
Two lovers who are bored and stoned decide to commit a burglary. Despite a detective’s honest attempts at stopping them, they get away with the money.
Although Steve Miller has been criticized for trying to rhyme Texas with “what the facts is,” I think the simple rhymes and sing-song nature of this song are what make it so great.
20. If I Had a Million Dollars by The Barenaked Ladies
Album: Buck Naked (Demo Tapes) | Released: 1988 | Genre: Folk Rock
Although a million dollars is not what it was when Page and Robertson wrote this song, it could still go a long way. I like this song because of the funny and comical way it is delivered, making it feel like a conversation I would be having with my friends.
It is also one of the group’s favorite songs, as they have performed it at almost every show. The song talks about everything you could do with a million dollars, including heartfelt things like a house and furniture and lavish items like a monkey and a Picasso art piece.
21. Million Dollar Man by Lana Del Rey
Album: Born to Die | Released: 2012 | Genres: Pop, Rock
Lana Del Rey’s song “Million Dollar Man” is a powerful look at our culture’s obsession with money and wealth. The song is written from the perspective of someone who is struggling to comprehend why their loved one has become so preoccupied with money, wondering how they got that way.
The chorus of the song talks about the idea that money isn’t everything, even though it can afford us luxuries and get us out of tough spots. The song also emphasizes the notion that money can change a person. The song is a cautionary tale about money, warning listeners to not become too fixated on it.
22. Make the Money by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Album: The Heist | Released: 2012 | Genres: Hip-Hop, Rap
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ song “Make the Money” encourages listeners to stay true to their authentic selves and focus on money-making endeavors that align with their passions and purpose.
The upbeat rap song contains a message of self-reflection, urging artists to make money without letting money change them. Through the lyrics, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis share stories from their personal experiences in chasing money, fame and success.
They remind us that money can be earned through hard work and dedication, but it should never become a measure of one’s worth or values. The song is an ode to perseverance, reminding artists that money should not be the sole focus when pursuing their dreams.
23. Money (That’s What I Want) by The Flying Lizards
Album: The Flying Lizards | Released: 1979 | Genres: Dance, Electronic
When I think of weird songs, this song about the love of money tops the list. The weirdness is in how the lyrics are spoken and not sung, how the instruments are mixed to sound borderline noisy, the slightly off-beat rhythm, and the chaotic guitar and synth sound that spring up in the middle of the song.
The lyrics are short and straight to the point, “I want money, that’s what I want…I want lots of money, In fact, I want so much money.” This cover song of the Motown Hit climbed to #5 on the UK Chart and was originally recorded by Barret Strong.
24. Money In the Bank by John Anderson
Album: Solid Ground | Released: 1993 | Genres: Country
John Anderson’s “Money in the Bank” is a country song about love being worth more than money. The lyrics paint a picture of someone struggling financially, yet not willing to sacrifice their relationship for material gain.
The main character dreams of owning luxury items but knows that true happiness comes from the love and affection of his partner. Its message of putting love above money resonates with young and old listeners alike, making it one of the most popular country songs about money.
25. For The Love Of Money by The O’Jays
Album: Ship Ahoy | Released: 1973 | Genres: R&B, Soul
The title of the song “For the Love of Money” was taken from a Bible verse, 1 Timothy 6: 10.
The song itself is an anthem of money’s temptation and power that can motivate people to do great things but also lead them on a dark path of greed. The lyrics delve into money as a force that can make some people lie, cheat and steal while also driving some people out of their minds with greed.
The chorus is filled with clever wordplay about money as “mean green” or “Almighty dollar”. The song ends with a warning not to let money rule you, and that money can be deceptive and fool even the most astute people.