Money's Too Tight (To Mention)

Album: Picture Book (1985)
Charted: 13 28

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written and originally recorded in 1982 by The Valentine Brothers, which was the Columbus, Ohio duo of Billy and John Valentine.

    The song is about a guy going through some tough times financially, but getting no help from friends, family, or the bank. Many people would love to help, but are in the same position he is. America was going through a recession at the time, which triggered the song's lyric. "Our overall objective was to bring messages in our music that were in tune with what's going down today," Billy Valentine said. "That's certainly what's happened with 'Money's Too Tight.'"
  • The original version of this song did well in the UK as an import, which led to a deal with Energy Records to release it in Britain. In 1983, it reached #73 UK and got the attention of Simply Red, who released it as their first single, with the stylized title "Money$ Too Tight (To Mention)." The song caught on in their native England, where a lagging economy made it an appropriate selection for the time. It made #13 UK and helped the Picture Book album rise to #2. Led by the dynamic lead singer Mick Hucknall, Simply Red became one of the most popular acts in the UK and also charted two #1 singles in America: "Holding Back The Years" and their cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now."
  • The Valentine Brothers had been through some financial hardship that helped inspire the lyric. When they moved from Ohio to Los Angeles, they had trouble getting a good job in the industry, so they took a lot of club gigs. They hooked up with the touring production of The Wiz in 1977 as musicians and understudies (Billy for The Wiz, John for the Tin Man). When the production closed in 1979, they once again struggled to make ends meet. Their first, self-titled, album was released later that year, and three years later the album First Take, featuring "Money's Too Tight," was issued.
  • In the Valentine Brothers original, they mention Reaganomics, which is the term for US president Ronald Reagan's economic policies. Instead of altering the line, Simply Red doubled down on the Reagan bashing, with Mick Hucknall repeating these lines at the end of the song:

    We're talking about Ronnie Ronnie
    Did the earth move for you Nancy?


    Nancy is a reference to Reagan's wife, the first lady Nancy Reagan.

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1986 {August 2nd} Simply Red performed "Money's Too Tight* (To Mention)" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV network Saturday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #64 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; nine weeks later it would peak at #28 {for 1 week} and it spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #13 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Between 1985 and 1989 the group had five records on the Top 100, two made the Top 10 and they both reached #1, "Holding Back The Years" for 1 week on July 6th, 1985 and "If You Don't Know Me By Now" for 1 week on July 9th, 1989...
    * Billboard Magazine printed the record as "Money$ Too Tight (To Mention)"...
  • Edwina from Chicago, IlSimple great...he got a lot of soul...wow...sing man...bless your soul.
  • Stella from London, United KingdomOne of the best bands to come out of Manchester, a city which is underrated as the home of many outstanding musicians and bands.
  • Philip from Manchester, United KingdomI believe this was actually a cover version. I was hit by its freshness and originality, when I first heard it on the radio back in 1985. I had never heard Simply Red, so was absolutely astonished to learn later that I went to the same school as the lead singer, and come home on the same bus most days for probably four years!
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