Paper Money

Album: Paper Money (1974)
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Songfacts®:

  • Co-written by then lead vocalist Sammy Hagar and lead guitarist Ronnie Montrose, this is the title and final track of the band's second album. Running to around 4 minutes 58 seconds, "Paper Money" renders best live, and there are several such recordings by both Montrose and later by a solo Hagar. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • In this song, Hagar sings from the perspective of a wealthy man lamenting the transition to reserve currency, meaning his money is now backed by the government rather than gold. This is a rather complex economic issue: Around 1900, most developed nations backed their money with gold, meaning you could exchange your bills for actual gold - this was the "gold standard." In 1931, Britain abandoned the gold standard and the US began doing the same a few years later. So, with money no longer backed by a tangible asset (gold), it is backed (in America) by "the full faith and credit of the federal government." This "paper money" scares the hell out of folks who don't have full faith in their governments, and it's not just a wingnut position - many economists don't like it either.

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