lost password recovery

recover my password

Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact

sign in

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the Newsletter

If I Had $1000000 by Barenaked Ladies

Album: GordonReleased: 1992
  • Steven Page and Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies co-wrote this song and shared lead vocals. In our interview with Robertson, he talked about the meaning of the track. "That song, it was about being in love and being maybe a little bit extravagant but not losing hold of what's important," Robertson said. "Ultimately it's just about celebrating your good fortune with someone else, and I think I've stayed pretty true to that."
  • For many years, at the line, "I wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner," fans would throw macaroni and cheese at the band. It was cute at first, but got to be annoying. It didn't happen as often when Barenaked Ladies started playing larger venues.

    Kraft macaroni and cheese is known as "Kraft dinner" in Canada, where the band is from.
  • In an effort to end to the Rocky Horror-style Kraft Dinner peltings, Barenaked Ladies began asking that instead of throwing Kraft Dinner at the band, the boxes be collected at the door of the concert and donated to a local food bank in each city.
  • This is a very important song for Barenaked Ladies, who have performed it at nearly every live show since 1988. Frontman Ed Robertson told Songfacts, "It has become its own thing and people sing along and it represents a time and a place for so many people. It's oddly a song I don't get bored of. It brings such joy to the room that it's hard to not enjoy it."

    They have done different variations and arrangements of the song, sometimes closing their shows by doing "If I Had $1000000" followed by a big rap number taking lyrics from a handful of popular songs and beatboxing along with some interesting late-'80s hip-hop choreography.
  • Many friends and associates of the band sing on the chorus of this track. Credited as "The Suburban Tabernacle Choir," among the voices are members of various bands that were also part of the Canadian club scene. These include Bob Wiseman of Blue Rodeo, Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics, and members of Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, a Toronto act that inspired the album credit.
  • This was the first single Barenaked Ladies released on a major label. They were signed to Reprise Records after they built a following and their independent releases sold well.
  • Even though it's one of the group's most popular songs, "If I Had $1000000" was never a hit single in America or the UK. A lot of it was timing: The group didn't break through outside of their native Canada until their 1998 album Stunt. The song was even re-released in 1996, but didn't chart then either.
  • Barenaked Ladies included this on Buck Naked, the first tape they made and one that only Steven Page and Ed Robertson played on. Released in 1989, they made about 500 copies of it. The song also made it onto their second tape, Barenaked Lunch, in 1990. About 2000 copies were made, but the tape was recorded wrong, resulting in the song playing too fast. It was also included on the last tape they made before they were signed by a major label. Known as The Yellow Tape, it sold over 500,000 copies and became the first Canadian independent release to go gold.
  • The line "I'd buy you John Merrick's remains" refers to The Elephant Man, who had a disease that made him horribly deformed. In live versions, the band sometimes changes the line to "I'd buy you John Davidson's remains." Davidson was the goalie for the New York Rangers hockey team and is a color analyst for ABC Sports. The Barenaked Ladies are huge hockey fans. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Seth - Victor, NY
  • The lyrics listed on the liner notes to Gordon are actually the lyrics from the version on their independent release. Some of the lines are different.
  • In 2001, the New York Lottery used this in commercials featuring people singing this while they fantasized about hitting the jackpot.
Sign in or Register to post comments

Comments: 18

A happy and silly song. It makes me smile today, as it did the first time I heard it. And smiling is a good thing.Jan - Byfield, Ma
Another painfully corny song from an awful, white bread, steaming pile of turd band.Jason - Dayton, Oh
One of the funnier songs by a highly underrated group!Ed - Incognito, Il
RE Kraft Dinner: Those in the know don't throwDedgrotty - Nyc, Ny
I love this song.

Of course, now they DO have a million dollars...

Wonder how their emu is doing... Hope it's friends with the monkey...
Nick - Murrieta, Ca
The Reliant was indeed one of the K cars, which saved Chrysler, and the Chrysler minivans were based on the K car, thus saving people from buying unreliable, ugly Ford Aerostars and Chevy Astros. In addition, there was a car manufacturer in Tamworth, England called Reliant, and it had no connection whatsoever to Chrysler. Reliant (the company) built mostly 3-wheeled cars with pre-WWII Austin engines and English Ford engines. There were also Nissan- and Ford-powered sports cars. Reliant went out of business in 2001. The K cars were discontinued in 1989.Darrell - Eugene
The Pre-wrapped bacon/ tree fort part sounds like Bob & Doug MacKenzieDave - Scottsdale, Az
I love the wordplay in this song.Beau - Phoenix, Az
I think the funniest line is "I'd buy you some art, a Picasso or a Garfunkle" or "I'd buy you a green dress, but not a real green dress thats cruel" hahaNathan - From The Country Of, Canada
I think the line "I'd buy you a K car, a nice reliant automobile" is actually another example of the wordplay these guys love to use. If I'm not mistaken, the Reliant was one of the K cars. so the line works both ways.Allan - Vanderhoof, Canada
Michael Jackson, having a history of collecting...unique items, did buy the elephant man's bones. In all likelyhood, they are referring to it. Seriously, who would buy 'em unless they wanted to study them? Guy's a bonafide loon(and that says nothing about his music, i'm just saying he's crazy)Dan - New York, Ny
i heard that they were making fun of michael jackson becuase he bought the "elephant man's" bones, or something like thatJen - Ontario, Canada
They still eat Kraft dinnerRob - Vancouver, Canada
In the song they said "I'd buy you a K Car, a nice reliant automobile." as an homage to a leaders car they used to sing about when in Scouts in Toronto as kids.Jonathan - Toronto, Canada
This should be used in a lottery commercial.Candice - Vancouver, Canada
BNL loves performing this song because the lyrics are easily changed, so they can put in just about anything they wish. Listen to Rock Spectacle and witness them in action.Annabeth - Kutztown, Pa
The first time I heard this, I thought it was from the Smothers Brothers.Keith - Slc, Ut
on one of the cassetes, after the line "i would buy you a monkey..." steven replies to the line with "I'll take mickey dolenze please" but on every other version you hear "haven't you always wanted a monley?"Jamie - Surrey, Canada
see more comments