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For The Love Of Money by The O'Jays
Album: Ship AhoyReleased: 1973Charted:
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)