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For The Love Of Money

by

The O'Jays



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The songwriting/production duo of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff co-wrote this song with Anthony Jackson, who also played bass on the track. Gamble and Huff wrote many songs that helped define the Philadelphia Soul sound, including this one, which was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia.

A key contributor to the song was Joe Tarsia, who was the engineer at Sigma. He had just installed an Eventide phaser in the control room, and when Jackson started playing, Tarsia tried recording the bass (with a wah-wah peddle) through the phaser. Gamble loved the effect, which provided a unique sound that made the song stand out on the airwaves.

Tarsia added effects to the background vocals as well, creating a reverse echo where the echo precedes the vocal, something Jimmy Page did on a few Led Zeppelin tracks, including "Whole Lotta Love."
Often misinterpreted as a song celebrating the accumulation of money, it's actually one of the more unadorned warnings about the sordid side of the mighty dollar, pointing out the things people will do for it: cheat, lie, even steal from their mother. The song was written at a time when the songwriters Gamble and Huff were reaping the financial rewards of their success, but also reconciling it with their spiritual beliefs (Gamble had recently converted to Islam). The duo often wrote messages into their songs gleaned from their everyday conversations. On this track, they are very clear: "Don't let money change you."
With the chorus of "Money, money, money, money," this has been used in many promos, TV shows and movies where greed or the pursuit of the almighty dollar are concerned. It is the theme of the NBC reality series The Apprentice starring Donald Trump. (thanks, Justin - Felts Mills, NY)
The O'Jays
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Comments (10):

Just a note on the Bass player-Of course Anthony
Jackson was the creator of that bass line,But the Bass Player you see in the 2 Youtube Videos is
Curtis Teel,a good friend who passed away several years ago. He was a great Bass Player and nailed the Bass Line live,even though he told me the OJays liked the Tempo a little peppier than the Studio version.
- Kenny, Ridgeway, VA
Jeffery the butler on the '80s sit com The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire cranked this in his room and danced while packing his things, after being duped by Will into thinking that he had won the lottery. This was the first time I heard this song and it was very catchy. Just heard it on the radio this morning and finally found the title and group! iTunes, here I come!
- pdiddy, westland, MI
It needs to Totally Recovered
By a Popular Artist
- Gary, Houston, TX
The bass line on this song was so strong and distinctive, bass player Anthony Jackson automatically received co-writer credit on this song along with Gamble and Huff.
- John, Nashville, TN
YES! A powerful, straight from the gut, bass line. Over 30 years old, probably a billion people recognize it in an instant. The song rivets your attention in the first six notes -- and by cutting the Bull and going right to the core of what means to be a human being, while not being preachy! An urgent message to people in their 20s, I wonder why more did not heed its message. Try writing a song like THAT between now and the rest of your life. An awesome song, from gifted writers, delivered by an legendary group. One of my top five songs of all time.
- Ken, Fremont, CA
Stella, you're not kidding. I've cleaned them up some, based on a 7:19 version I've got. I assume there was a shorter AM radio version?
- Scott, Chelan, WA
The lyrics posted on this site are wrong.
- Stella, Ham Lake, MN
The 80's "hair-metal" band BulletBoys re-recorded this on their self titled debut LP. It was an interesting remake with the chorus of "money money money" recorded through what sounds like a flanger and delay. The video was in heavy rotation on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.. and introduced a new audience to an old classic.
- Carmen Fancher, Endwell, NY
This song was also used in "Behind the Camera: An Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'" when 'Suzanne Somers' entered the studio looking to demand a raise.
- Sean, Toronto, Canada
One of the best and most recognizable bass lines in music history. A marvelous tune overall.
- Shell, Riverdale, GA
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